Reyes Continues To Improve
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mets third baseman David Wright may have his visage donned on billboards all over the city, but Jose Reyes is no slouch either. Consistently wearing one of the biggest and brightest smiles known to man ever since his career at Shea began some four and a half years ago, Reyes has continued to improve every season heís been in the big leagues, becoming a better hitter and base runner with every game under his belt.

"He can change the complexion of a game by himself," Mets manager Willie Randolph told the Daily News.

In the beginning of his career, critics believed that Reyes was too reckless to ever be consistently successful, citing numerous hamstring pulls during his first two years at Shea and an inability to take pitches as the main reasons why heís never last at the big league level. However, through 34 games this season, not only has Reyes walked more times than in his first 112 games in the big leagues, heís on pace to knock in over 100 runs and have over 200 hits.

Not too shabby for someone who many thought was going to be a flash in the pan.

Nevertheless, while his stats alone are mind boggling, the fact that Reyes never seems to get too confident or too down on his game, always wearing that vibrant and effervescent smile whenever heís on the field, is what really makes him special. In a baseball town thatís been filled with bad boy superstars like Dave Kingman, Mel Hall, Bobby Bonilla and Gary Sheffield over the years, Reyes and his warm exterior have fit the New York baseball scene like a glove.

"What stands out is the joy with how Jose plays the game," Mets general manager Omar Minaya told the Daily News. "He's a pure baseball player. The only guy I've seen with that level of energy is Vladimir (Guererro). Jose is like Vladimir at shortstop."

However, while a great smile and a pair of legs that sometimes seem like they have a pair of rocket launchers attached to them can only take you so far, Reyes determination and insistence for consistency and dominance have really been what his booming career and his team have needed and will continue to be exactly what the 23-year old needs to keep himself among the top players in the league for years to come.

"What I say in my mind is if I stole 64 last year, I have to get more. There's no doubt, because you have to look forward," Reyes told the NY Post. ďSo you have to get better and better."

With already 18 steals in only 34 games, itís obvious that Reyes isnít only getting better, heís becoming great as well.