The 2012 Miami Marlins Season Review series has touched a number of players on the Marlins thus far, but one who has already been well-covered in the last two weeks is Jose Reyes. Reyes was discussed as one of the few positives on this Marlins team this season, but at the same time his defense was considered a potential negative for the club this year.
So with Reyes's season more or less reviewed, let us take a look back at the positives and negatives as a collective whole to review Reyes's debut season as a Marlin
As mentioned in the previously linked article, one of the major positives of the 2012 season for Reyes is that his offense was almost on par with his previous years. His .287/.347/.433 line is a little below his career .291/.342/.440 slash line, but when you compare it to the 2012 league average, the wRC+ of 109 in 2012 is actually better than his career 107 mark.
In addition to that, another positive aspect of the 2012 season is the fact that Reyes recovered from a massive slump to hit his projections pretty well. His batting line from May to the end of the season was a cool .296/.355/.446, which was good enough for a .351 wOBA. That line more or less matched his various projections from before the season, with only ZiPS expecting an even better line than that one. Overall, Reyes barely missed his preseason projection in his regression to the mean following a terrible month of April, and that bodes well not only for the performance of 2012 but also for his future performance. Given that we saw five months of a consistently good Jose Reyes, it is easier to believe that run and discount the one-month slump at the beginning of the season a bit more.
The final major positive of the 2012 season for Reyes, as mentioned in the linked piece, is that he had a healthy season and indeed a year in which he led baseball in playing time. Reyes led the National League with 716 PA and put up one of the heftiest workloads in a given season in Marlins history. Prior to the start of the season, I predicted the Marlins new shortstop would miss about 30 games as he did in his last few "full" seasons in 2010 and 2011. But seeing his first full year since 2008 is highly encouraging for the Fish in future years.
But as we mentioned, there are not just positives in Reyes's first year, though his overall season was a light in an otherwise dim environment. Despite the success relative to the rest of the team and the league (Reyes's wOBA was higher than all but three shortstops this season), Reyes still did not perform up to his expectations in 2012. Reyes was still among the group of hitters who failed to reach expectations this season and thus cost the Marlins wins that they expected before the year began. That not only took away wins from the team in 2012, but it likely makes the chances of a worse projection in 2013 more likely.
In addition to that, there is still the question of Reyes's defensive contributions. The various defensive statistics rated Reyes as around a win worse than average at shortstop, and while he did not appear to cost the Marlons wins as much as Hanley Ramirez routinely did, there were some concerns about his defense. The team's signing of Reyes was designed to improve their defensive play, but when you combine Ramirez's apparent struggles at third base, the Marlins likely allowed a few too many balls to sneak by in 2012 and cost the team extra singles.
So no, not everything about the 2012 year was positive for Jose Reyes. His potential defensive struggles likely made him closer to a 3.5-win player this season rather than a 4.5-win All-Star caliber player. But his steady recovery from a poor month of April stems a little bit of the tide of his overall under-performing season at the plate, and the fac thtat he remained healthy is potentially a positive sign for future years. In Reyes's case, the benefits of 2012 outweigh the negatives, especially with a team like the Marlins that had so few things on which to hang their hat.