Jose Reyes has made the ultimate decision to hang his cleats up and call it a career. And boy, it sure was a memorable one. Although never being the greatest player in the league during a shortstop led era of Jeter, Rodriguez, Rollins, and Hanley Ramirez; The four-time all-star was fantastic, but unfortunately was unable to find himself holding that elusive world series trophy. In spite of that shortcoming, Reyes made up for it in other individual awards, as he won a batting title, silver slugger, and was the MLB’s hit leader in 2008. Despite all these accolades, that might not be enough to get him past the tough Hall of Fame voting. Reyes was good in all aspects of the game, but really shined hitting and on the bases. Let’s look at his stats and see if he is good enough to squeeze into the Hall.
What Would Hold Him Back?
The MLB Hall of Fame voters are not super generous in allowing players into Cooperstown. Despite having more players than the NBA, the NBA Hall of Fame started inductions almost twenty years after the MLB did. The NFL and NHL also have more players that have been inducted into their Hall of Fames. There are only 25 Hall of Fame shortstops, and if Reyes wants to be inducted, he must hope voters don’t spend too much time looking at his defensive stats. Regardless of his fantastic fielding percentage, more detailed stats show that Reyes cost his team 74 runs. Unless they are a top tier hitters, most hall of fame shortstops have excellent defensive stats, so Reyes sitting under even the average line is not a good thing because despite a few elite seasons, the 2011 batting champ has not held that elite hitting for a consistent amount of time.
For casual baseball fans, let me explain a stat that has been obsessed over the past 10 years, WAR. WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. The stat helps show how many wins a player brings to their team above an average replacement player. Among the hall of fame shortstops, Reyes trails them all with a WAR of 37.0. Phil Rizzuto is the next closest with a career WAR of 42. This poor WAR will hold Reyes back, but that is the only major stat that he ranks last in. That’s a good sign, but that’s not all Reyes has going for him.
Reasons Reyes Could Sneak In
What’s the best explanation I can give you for why Reyes might sneak in? There is other hall of fame shortstops who were not as good as Jose Reyes. It is a pretty simple explanation, but facts back it up. Reyes is by no means a top-tier shortstop of all time, but players far worse than him are currently enshrined.
Some Hall of Fame voters love the analytical data, and others love the simple counting stats. Reyes can make up for both. Although Reyes has the worst WAR out of all the HOF shortstops, his WAR per game is better than 21 hall of famers, including many notable ones such as Lou Brock, Jack Morris, and Harold Baines. He is also better in that category than Rabbit Maranville, another shortstop who reached Cooperstown by accumulating stats with his great longevity. Reyes didn’t have that great longevity, as he was bothered by injuries. Among the 25 other shortstops though, he ranks 17th in both hits and OPS, 14th in average, fifth in steals, and 16th in runs. Reyes is nowhere near the top in any major category but steals, yet that might be enough.
The Bottom Line
Reyes is better than a few other shortstops in the Hall of Fame, and there is evidence to back that up. Unfortunately for him, players aren’t elected because of their comparisons to other players. They are elected based on their own individual stats, and despite the facts given previously, I don’t think Reyes’ individual stats are enough to get him into the Hall. He does not have the elite hitting that Jeter, Honus Wagner, and Cal Ripken Jr had. He also does not have the defense that got Ozzie Smith and Luis Aparicio enshrined. Jose Reyes was good at contact hitting and running wild, and was a super exciting player in his prime. A few injury-shortened seasons hurt his chances, as does Hanley Ramirez taking a few all-star games away.
Overall, I don’t see the voters biting on Jose Reyes getting into the Hall of Fame, but the exciting shortstop might just be deserving of a spot, and getting pushed out would be reasonable, but disappointing, nonetheless.
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