As we all are fully aware, Reyes has become more and more of a realistic contender for the 2011 MVP award with each passing ballgame. The speedster is leading the league in runs, triples, batting average, multi-hit games and most importantly, hits. Reyes’ hit totals have reached such astonishing numbers that he could very well break one of the most coveted records in baseball history.
When the Seattle Mariners’ own Ichiro Suzuki broke the single-season record back in 2004, he had 96 knocks through his first 66 games. Reyes has 101 hits through his first 66 games; and with the way he has played this season, he could very well get to, or even pass, Ichiro’s 262 hits.
Ichiro played 161 games throughout his historic season. His first 66 games were also the Mariners’ first 66 games of the season. Reyes has already missed three games due to the death of his grandmother, so his 66th game was actually the Mets 69th game, meaning Reyes will play only 159 games at the most. Although Reyes will ultimately play less games than Ichiro did, they both have almost exactly the same number of at-bats through their first 66 games. Reyes has 290 at-bats through his first 66, Ichiro had 289.
Ichiro compiled 704 at-bats during his 2004 campaign; Reyes is currently on a pace for 695 at-bats, and that is with next to no protection in the lineup outside of Beltran and Pagan. When Ike Davis and David Wright eventually return, Reyes will get an additional 10-20 at-bats easy.
But despite all of these figures and despite Reyes’ MVP-caliber year so far, if he were to break Ichiro’s record, he would have to do even better. In 2004, Ichiro batted .321 in the first half of the season with 119 hits, a figure Reyes will likely pass by 5-10 knocks, but Ichiro batted a super-human .429 in his final 76 games, racking up an enormous 143 hits. From the All-Star Break until the end of the regular season, Reyes will have to bat in the .415-.420 range, and compile roughly 130 hits in order to break this monstrous record.
But even though Reyes will have to meet a borderline insurmountable task, I think Reyes can meet the challenge. He has gotten consistently better as the year has gone on. Since the first week of the season, we have been assuming that he will come down to earth, yet he hasn’t. Reyes has got something working for him this season we haven’t seen in a long, long time.
Here are Ichiro’s and Reyes’ stats to compare:
Even if he doesn’t break the record, he is still seemingly going to have an even better season than Ichiro’s 2004 campaign. He is not only exceeding Ichiro in hits so far, but also basically every major offensive category through the first sixty-six games played.
If Reyes were able to break the record, it would just be icing on the cake for a sure-fire MVP award for his mantle.
I think Reyes can reach or even surpass Ichiro…Do you?