I wanted to take a break from doing all of my reading, so I went online and played around with some numbers. This is another one of my Met things, but the topic seems to have attracted a lot of interest from fans of other teams.
This is the story of Jose Reyes... the man with seemingly limitless talent (he leads the NL in steals and the majors in triples) but who just hasn't had much success learning the strikezone, yet.
Essentially, he's not taking walks.
I read something in the offseason about Edgardo Alfonzo, and it described how much Alfonzo's judgement of the plate improved as he got more experienced. So I invented a bit of a way to look at this, graphically, with the help of the wonderful Day-by-Day Database and Excel.
The finished product of all of this was a graph. What's it look like?
If you clicked on that, your reaction could very well be "What the hell was that?"
It's a sensible reaction to this graph.
What I did, essentially, is I took the amount of walks that Reyes and Alfonzo achieved over blocks of 200 plate apperance during their careers. Alfonzo has had 29 of such blocks. Reyes is nearing the completion of block #6. Alfonzo's goes on much further than Reyes, represented by the larger area of graph coverage.
How about a table?
200PA Fonz Reyes 1 4 6 2 11 10 3 10 2 4 16 8 5 16 7 6 26 10 7 20 8 21 9 23 10 19 11 27 12 11 13 23 14 38 15 27 16 32 17 22 18 21 19 19 20 25 21 26 22 14 23 24 24 16 25 19 26 19 27 19 28 13Through 1200 or so plate appearances, Reyes has not yet made the same strides that Alfonzo had made in an equivalent amount of major league experience in the batter's box.
The rest is history, sort of... Alfonzo transformed his .278/.301/.382 as a 21 year old to a .324/.425/.542 as a 26 year old. A lot of that was fueled by the progressive increase in plate discipline.
Alfonzo came up to the majors at a young age (older than Reyes, but still young) and needed to work on his eye. His plate discipline went from abysmal (12 BB in his first 356 PAs) to outstanding (95 BB in 650 PAs in 2000).
I'm not saying that Reyes can't achieve that level, but, in terms of big league experience, it might be time to start getting better at it. This is not a positive trend for anyone.