Sunday, September 10, 2006

20-70 Watch: Now With A Bonus 4 x 20

Sole bright spot. Those are the words Mets fans and media are using to describe home run number 19 from Jose Reyes. The bomb to centrefield came in the sixth inning -- the only run scored by the Mets in their loss to Dodger rookie pitcher Eric Stults.

After hitting 9 homers in his first 98 games, Reyes took just 37 games to earn the next 10. He's already set club records for his position, breaking the old marks for RBI (65), stolen bases (42) and home runs (10). The club's single-season records for triples (21) and stolen bases (66) are also threatened.

For a lead-off hitter, Reyes has proven exceptional at driving in runs. Among all National League batters with at least 300 plate appearances, Reyes has been the 4th best at converting other runners (i.e. RBI-opportunities). His .196 conversion rate is slightly below the .206 rates of Beltran and Cabrera, and immediately ahead of McCann, Pujols, Wright and Abreu who range from .182 to .194. Lance Berkman stands astride the league with a lofty .212 OBI%.

In addition to his quest to become the third and youngest member of the 20-70 club, Reyes also has a chance to replicate one of Willie Mays's singular achievements: a 4x20 season (homeruns, doubles, triples, stolen bases). Reyes needs 4 triples and 1 homerun to hit the target.There are 20 games left in the Mets’ regular season.

MEANWHILE: In non-Reyes news, Johan Santana is taking a serious run at pitching's triple crown. He leads American League pitchers with 18 wins, 230 strikeouts and a 2.74 ERA, and has won 9-straight decisions (his last lost was July 9th against Texas). Since joining Minnesota's starting rotation, Santana is 39-3 in 55 second-half starts. His dominance after the All Star break has me wishing I could withdraw the doom-and-gloom predictions from August that for first time in the modern era the 20-win mark might not be reached.


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