Reyes, Mets hope HR jump-starts hot streak

June 17th, 2017

NEW YORK -- When Mets general manager Sandy Alderson insisted Thursday that the Mets have plenty of "good players" in Flushing, defending his decision to leave top prospect in the Minors, it was not terribly difficult to parse his meaning. The Mets still believe has something to offer.

The statement stood in stark contrast to Reyes' numbers: a .184 batting average and a .547 OPS in 62 games entering Friday's play. But Reyes at least began trending in the right direction during a 7-2 loss to the Nationals at Citi Field, hitting a second-deck home run off Max Scherzer to finish 2-for-3.

"I'm kind of frustrated a little bit because my body feels so good and I'm not able to contribute the way that I want to," Reyes said. "I'm a veteran player so I know what I can do."

For Reyes, Friday's performance was a tiptoe in the right direction. Entering the night, he had not collected multiple hits in a game since May 25. He had not homered since May 1. His batting average had dipped from a season-high .208 on May 25 to .184 just three weeks later.

All of that prompted Mets fans to increase the volume of their clamoring for Rosario, the Mets' most highly touted shortstop prospect since, well, Reyes. At Triple-A Las Vegas this season entering Friday, Rosario has hit .336 with seven home runs and 12 stolen bases in 65 games. Scouts almost unanimously believe he is a superior defender than the 34-year-old Reyes or 31-year-old , who is on the disabled list for the second time this season.

Initially, it appeared that the Mets were waiting for the Super Two arbitration cutoff to pass, ensuring that they would avoid paying Rosario millions more in salary for an extra week or two of service. But Alderson explicitly called that a non-factor on Thursday, redefining Rosario's status as a performance issue. The Mets are not sure if he is ready to thrive in the big leagues. And they believe their current infield mix of Reyes, and is good enough.

But that can only be true if Reyes contributes.

"I think Jose is frustrated that he has not hit, because he's always hit," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But I hope that while he's out there right now, he just grasps this opportunity and gets himself on a roll as he continues to move on. ... He got two hits tonight against arguably one of the best pitchers in the game. So maybe that gets him going."

Collins believes a regular stint at shortstop, Reyes' natural position, will help him at the plate. And it's not as if there's no life at all in Reyes' bat; from April 26 through May 28, the veteran hit .271 with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and 20 runs scored in 28 games.

For as long as Rosario is in the Minors, the Mets will be seeking more of that sort of production from Reyes.

"I just can't find my swing," Reyes said. "When I find it, I want to find it for a long period of time. I feel like sometimes I find it, then it goes away quick. The consistency is not there yet, so I'm looking for that. If I get the consistency, watch out."