Jeter vs. Reyes: Who's more valuable?

Originally Published: September 27, 2006
ESPN.com

The Matchup:

Yankees SS Derek Jeter and Mets SS Jose Reyes

The Debate:

Jeter and Reyes, New York's two All-Star shortstops, have had stellar seasons, good enough to merit MVP consideration in their respective leagues. They've been catalysts in the lineup, on the field and on the base paths, leading the Yankees and the Mets respectively into the playoffs with the best records in their leagues.

But which one is more valuable to his team? ESPN.com writers Jayson Stark and Jerry Crasnick make a case for the shortstops below.

Jeter vs. Reyes
Derek Jeter
Brad Smith-/US PRESSWIRE
DEREK JETER: 2006 STATS
R HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
114 14 96 .341 .414 .483
2B 3B SB CS E F%
38 3 32 5 15 .975

By Jayson Stark, ESPN.com

The essence of Derek Jeter's greatness has never had anything to do with whether he has better "tools" than all those more "talented" players on those other 29 teams. And it has never had anything to do with almost all the stuff his critics bring up -- not his Zone Rating or his OPS or his VORP or anything else.

Jeter is a great player because he's one of those rare people who understands everything there is to understand about The Big Moment, lives to rise to that moment and actually feeds off all the Yankee craziness that reduces other guys (not mentioning any particular third basemen here) to overcooked manicotti.

So who cares if Jose Reyes is faster, or scores more runs, or inspires more pickoff throws? If I'm trying to win the World Series, I'll take Jeter over any shortstop in baseball.

Jose Reyes
Nick Laham/Getty Images
JOSE REYES: 2006 STATS
R HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
120 19 80 .301 .353 .491
2B 3B SB CS E F%
30 17 63 17 15 .974

By Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

Jose Reyes' impact on a game transcends conventional measures. It shows in the way opposing pitchers speed their deliveries, infielders rush their throws, and Paul Lo Duca -- the Mets' No. 2 hitter -- sees lots and lots of fastballs. It's manifested in his 63 stolen bases.

But Joey Gathright can fly, too, and nobody fears him. Reyes has 66 extra-base hits, he's batting .406 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and he's a monster leadoff presence with his rare blend of speed and power.

Of course, Derek Jeter is terrific, but if he goes down, the Yankees can always plug in Alex Rodriguez at shortstop and go out and trade for Aramis Ramirez. Reyes is the Mets' resident irreplaceable part. And just think how good he'll be when he turns 24.

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