To me, this question is extremely premature. That being said, Derek Jeter, without question, is far superior to Jose Reyes.
Don’t get me wrong; Reyes is probably the most exciting player in Major League Baseball. He is the catalyst and key to the Mets’ formidable lineup and his explosiveness and prowess on the basepaths makes him invaluable to his team. He has a quick bat and can hit the occasional homerun, and Reyes probably has a better throwing arm than half the pitchers in the Mets’ current rotation.
But the only thing that really distinguishes Reyes from Jeter is his speed (and, perhaps, the fact that he is a switch hitter). Derek Jeter is a better all-around hitter. He hits for a higher average (.342 compared to Reyes’ .320 this season), scores more runs, and possesses more power. Jeter also drives in more runs, but that I won’t hold against Reyes considering he is a leadoff hitter and Jeter’s customary position in the Yankees batting order is 2nd.
More importantly, Derek Jeter is a winner. Jeter made his Major League debut in 1995, but was a rookie in 1996, his first full season in the big leagues. All he did that season was earn the Rookie of the Year Award, hit .314 and win a World Championship- all at the tender age of 22. Through his first five seasons in the majors, Jeter had a .312 batting average, 78 homeruns, 996 hits, and, incredibly, four World Series rings, an All-Star MVP, and he was named the MVP of the 2000 World Series.
Reyes, on the other hand, is currently batting .289 lifetime (this being his 5th M.L. season). He has 36 homeruns, 611 hits, and one National League pennant under his belt. In other words, 0 Championships. Even if the Mets were to win it all in ’07, he’d still be three behind his counterpart.
What Reyes also lacks is the leadership quality that propelled Derek Jeter to be named Yankee captain in 2003, only the 11th in New York Yankees history.
Jose Reyes has tremendous upside, and has the potential to be one of the best shortstops, not just in New York, but of all time. As of right now, though, all it is is potential. A few years ago, plenty of people were ready to crown Ken Griffey, Jr. the “Homerun King.” Now, despite Junior’s recent resurgence, he’s not getting anywhere near Hank Aaron. It’s one thing to look at a player and project his potential; it’s another thing for him to actually go out and fulfill it. If Reyes can sustain his excellent numbers for another 7+ seasons (and win a couple of World Series’ in the process), talk to me then.
(Photos from Yahoo! Sports)