Hitting first or third, Reyes brings similar value

Updated: February 22, 2010, 4:18 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel, possibly in an effort to overshadow the moribund weekend signing of new starting catcher Rod Barajas, made headlines when he remarked he was considering batting shortstop Jose Reyes third in the lineup while Carlos Beltran is out. Any lineup alteration is worthy of discussion, but if this were to happen, I doubt it would greatly affect Reyes' fantasy baseball value.

For one, as colleague Tristan Cockcroft wisely wrote a year ago in reference to Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez making the same move, lineup spots tend to have minimal effect on stolen base production. Ramirez stole eight fewer bases than he had in 2008, but there are also numerous cases in which players have increased this statistic hitting third. Plus, ESPN Fantasy projects Ramirez to run more this season (34 stolen bases), while still batting third. Bobby Abreu stole 21 of his 30 bases in 2009 while hitting third in the Los Angeles Angels' order.