January 17, 2007

Reyes and Valentin are great up the middle

Marty Noble at Mets.com, writes about the Mets middle infielders Jose Reyes and Jose Valentin:

Jose Reyes didn't blossom last season as much as he exploded. He became a dynamic big-league player, perhaps the most dynamic player in the National League and, to many, the team's most valuable asset.
All that, and the improvement the Mets' shortstop made in his second full season didn't compare with the improvement made by the player whose defensive assignment is some 30 yards to his left. Jose Valentin was off the charts in that regard. The stunning renaissance of the veteran infielder and Reyes' blinding brilliance made the middle of the Mets' infield a remarkable source of offense, as well as a defensive strength.
Valentin stepped into a void created by an early-season injury to Anderson Hernandez and a lack of production from Kaz Matsui, and produced a season that seemed to remove a decade from his age. At 36, and operating at the bottom of the Mets' batting order, Valentin drove in 62 runs, scored 56 and hit 18 home runs. Moreover, he played his position -- a position he hadn't touched in 11 seasons -- as if he were born on the right side of the diamond.

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