The much anticipated 2012 season for the Miami Marlins has been deemed a failure for quite some time now. Three quarters of the infield that started on Opening Day for the Fish are now with other teams and all three starting outfielders that were in the very first starting lineup for the newly named Miami Marlins are on the shelf. The only infielder remaining is the biggest name to be acquired this past offseason by the Marlins, Jose Reyes.
After batting .337 and winning the batting title with the New York Mets last season, Reyes didn’t have the best start to 2012 for Miami. At the All-Star break, Reyes was hitting just .264 with three home runs, and 22 RBIs. But while all of the protection that Reyes seemed to have in the lineup has either been sent elsewhere or to the disabled list, Reyes has managed to flourish.
Miami is just 8-16 since the All-Star break, but Reyes has hit in all 24 games, the longest streak in the majors this season. Reyes has hit four home runs and has raised his average 24 points to .288 since the break. He’s stretched singles into doubles, scored from second base on infield groundouts while managing to move into fourth in the National League with 27 stolen bases. In a lineup full of players that fans outside of South Florida hardly recognize, Reyes has brought energy to a team with seemingly very little left to play for. Reyes’ streak is not only the longest in baseball this season, but it has kept the Marlins from falling into complete obscurity. Fans still have something to come out and root for and the longer the streak goes, the more confident Miami can feel in their investment.
But Reyes isn’t only playing to breathe life into what is left of this year, he’s becoming a leader for Miami for the next few years to come. With Hanley Ramirez gone, the heir-apparent to be the face of the franchise appears to be Giancarlo Stanton. But while Stanton may become the face of the franchise, Reyes could by the end of this season, be its leader.
While Stanton and even Logan Morrison have bright futures on the horizon for Miami, Reyes has the experience that both of Stanton and Morrison lack. Reyes has played in multiple All-Star games, he’s won a batting crown and he’s been to the postseason. Reyes has been in multiple pennant races and in 2006, as a member of the New York Mets, Reyes was one win away from playing in the World Series. For Stanton and Morrison to have big years in the middle of the Miami order in seasons to come, they will need a table-setter and few are better than getting on base and into scoring position than Reyes.
2012 has been a mess for the Miami Marlins and the optimism that ran rampant through South Florida prior to the season has died quicker than it came. Talks of pennant races or for that much, even a winning season are dead on arrival. But that hasn’t stopped Jose Reyes from being a true professional despite a sub-par season. While his 24-game hitting-streak hasn’t led to victories on the field, Reyes has yet to quit on his team or his teammates. Even if no one else knows who they are.
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