by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Jose Reyes has long been considered one of the elite shortstops in the league, pairing top speed, low-end power and a solid average. Now 30-years old, has he started to lose ground to some younger options? How about 2013 breakout star Jean Segura? Does he offer more upside than the “elder” Reyes? It’s going to be an interesting debate heading into draft day 2014, so let’s take a look at how these two currently matchup:
Reyes – He has won a batting title, but that is more the exception to the rule. For the bulk of his career Reyes has sat between .280 and .295, not that there is anything wrong with that. He makes good contact (10.2% strikeout rate for his career and no worse than 11.5% the past nine seasons) and has carried a 21+% line drive rate in each of the past three seasons. In other words, there’s no reason to expect anything different than he’s been doing.
Segura – He hit .294 in his first Major League season, but the underlying metrics are actually below that of Reyes (13.5% strikeout rate, 18.0% line drive rate). That said, he does pop the ball up less (5.2% IFFB compared to 11.7% for Reyes), which could help him maintain a higher BABIP than his counterpart. A .311 hitter in the minor leagues, he has the potential to flirt with .300 (his 2013 mark was hurt by a .285 BABIP in the second half), but is far from a guarantee to get there.
Advantage – Draw
Reyes – He’s always had a little bit of pop, reaching double digit home runs in in six of the past eight seasons. Now in a much better hitter’s park than in recent seasons (Miami and New York), which makes it all but guaranteed to reach that mark again.
Segura – Sure he hit 12 HR in 2013, but the majority of those came in the first half (11 HR) courtesy of an unrealistic 15.3% HR/FB. His fly ball rate was 23.3% overall, and his “high” half was 24.4%. The chances of him hitting for much power seems hard to believe. It’s hard to project anything above 7 given his makeup, and even that may not happen.
Advantage – Reyes
Reyes – There was a time in his career that he routinely stole 60+ bases, but those days appear to be long behind him. Sure he stole 40 bases in 2012, but he had just 15 in 382 AB in 2013 and may have the reigns pulled in a bit in an effort to keep him healthy.
Segura – He stole 44 bases in 588 AB (he missed time late with an injury, costing him a chance at the SB title). He’s younger and at this point you have to think the upside is just a little bit higher. That’s not to say he’s going to reach 60-70, but if you had to bet one one of the two surpassing 45, Segura would be the obvious choice.
Advantage – Segura
Reyes – Playing in the American League will allow him more RBI opportunities, though that doesn’t mean we should be expecting 70+ at this point. Assuming he stays in Toronto, though, hitting atop that order should allow him a 100 R upside.
Segura – He’s not going to pick up a lot of RBI, as that’s just not his game and playing in the NL without the DH helps to limit the upside. The real question is, where is he going to hit in the order? He actually saw the bulk of his time hitting second in 2013 (499 AB), which could hurt his runs scored opportunities a little bit. That said, if the Brewers can get healthy and get Ryan Braun back producing, the upside is obviously going to be there for 90+, though 100 is likely out of the question.
Advantage – Reyes
The big thing with Reyes is going to be if he can stay healthy for 162 games. He’s played 133 games or fewer in five of the past six seasons, including just 93 in 2013. Throw in depending on his legs, while playing half his games on artificial turf, it is a dangerous combination. That adds a level of risk that we don’t necessarily have with the younger Segura (despite missing some time in 2013). That’s a pretty big advantage leaning in the latter’s favor.
A healthy Reyes vs. Segura would actually be more of a taste based decision than anything. Segura does have the upside in average (though it’s close) and SB, but Reyes is more likely to hit more HR and has more of an upside in both runs and RBI. That is, of course, unless the Brewers opt to move Segura into the leadoff spot. If that were to happen, he suddenly could push 100 R, like Reyes…
If Reyes can’t stay healthy he isn’t going to reach those levels anyways. Can we assume he’s going to get hurt? No, though given his recent track record it’s hard not to.
So how do things fall for fantasy owners? It really depends. Even at his age, I would say that Reyes’ upside is slightly higher than Segura’s overall, but is the riskier selection due to the injury history (unless you are in a keeper format, than Segura is the no-brainer selection). If you want to go “safe”, go Segura, though that’s not to say that he doesn’t have upside. It’s just hard to imagine him replicating last season’s success.
At the end of the day it wouldn’t surprise me if the two have very similar numbers in 2014 if they get around the same number of AB.
Make sure to check out our previous Fantasy Throwdowns:
Sources – Fangraphs, The Baseball Cube, CBS Sports