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haggerb

WHO WILL BE BASEBALL NEXT SUPERSTAR ?

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My pick 3rd baseman of New York Mets.
Craftsmen to help Wright build on stellar rookie year

DAVID LENNON
STAFF WRITER

February 13, 2005


The Mets, for all of their recent misfortune, deserved someone like David Wright: a Madison Avenue smile, a sweet swing and a work ethic that's more "The Natural" than "Major League."

When Wright was summoned to Shea Stadium midway through last season, he carried the hopes of a desperate franchise on his back.

Then he exceeded the expectations - a difficult feat in a city that devours so-called future stars and impatiently asks to see the menu again. In 69 games, Wright hit .293 with 14 home runs (in 263 at-bats), 40 RBIs and a .525 slugging percentage.

For all of the goodwill Wright provided during the second half of another dismal year, the Mets added to that this winter, with general manager Omar Minaya signing the two biggest free agents on the market in Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran.

Not only are the Mets dramatically improved, but Wright, 22, now enjoys the added bonus of sharing a more divided spotlight. Sure, fans will still be following him into the bathroom for autographs, but Wright can concentrate on doing his job a little more and worrying less about being the fresh face of the organization.

"I think more than anything, I'm going to learn from those guys," said Wright, who already was at the Mets' spring-training site two weeks before position players are scheduled to report. "Pedro has a World Series ring and Carlos has been one of the best players in the game. With Carlos, he's a player like I want to be, a five-tool player. And Pedro, our team wants to be where he's been."

Wright was virtually ignored last week when Martinez paraded into Port St. Lucie for an early workout and immediately popped up on the back pages of every New York tabloid.

As for Wright, he answered a few questions, then returned to batting practice.

"There's always a period of awe," Wright said of his new teammates. But if he can follow up his abbreviated rookie campaign with another stellar season, Wright soon will be one of the ones on the receiving end.

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Are you already saying Beltran is a superstar?



No. He had one great postseason, has he ever hit over .300 or driven in more than 100 runs. If he does so this year, he's a superstar, if not, he's an overpaid good player.

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i agree, but that's just because i don't think being a superstar is just about your performance. it's a big part, but i think being a superstar also has to do with a players impact on the sport. btw, i think beltran is a great player. he's driven in more than a 100 runs 4 times (that was a weird thing to say, scott). he also hit .300 twice. he also has two 40 steal seasons (192 steals all in all), a 38 homerun season (and 3 seasons with 24), his k/bb ratio is constantly improving, and his defence is fantastic, at a premier position.

and he's 27 years old

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I just threw out some key stats, I read a breakdown of his statistics once last month and they weren't that impressive compared to a lot of other players not considered as good as him. I remain convinced he's not a superstar. One good postseason doesn't make you a superstar. And keep in mind he played in KC up until the middle of last year. It's easier to post good numbers when no one's paying attention and the pressure is light.

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Victor Diaz

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My son-at least according to him. He can throw harder than Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Josh Beckett COMBINED. You'll have to wait a while though, he's only 8.

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My son-at least according to him. He can throw harder than Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Josh Beckett COMBINED. You'll have to wait a while though, he's only 8.

wow he throws 285 miles per hr ? is his name Sid finch ?

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LOL-his name is Sam, and he can't quite pitch that fast. He's pretty good at 2nd though. I played a lot of 2nd and 3rd in my softball days, so maybe he takes after me. IPB Image

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I just threw out some key stats, I read a breakdown of his statistics once last month and they weren't that impressive compared to a lot of other players not considered as good as him. I remain convinced he's not a superstar. One good postseason doesn't make you a superstar. And keep in mind he played in KC up until the middle of last year. It's easier to post good numbers when no one's paying attention and the pressure is light.



throwin out key stats is fine, just make sure they're accurate.

beltran is not yet a superstar, because he has yet to impact the sport that way. he's a great player though.

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beltran is not yet a superstar, because he has yet to impact the sport that way. he's a great player though.



Then I guess you will agree that he may be the next superstar.

Now I know this thread was started by a die-hard Mets fan, but it is a little exciting to be a Mets fan and see three current Mets mentioned as potential superstars (Wright, Beltran and Reyes.) Shea may actually be fun again this year. If you're in the NYC area this summer, Poet, I'll gladly take you to a game. IPB Image (not sure when your military obligations start/end.)

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Or maybe next superstar kid shortstop for Nation league team from New York - who just might be fastest player in basball & gun for arm.

Healthy outlook
Chronic leg injuries might be in the past for rejuvenated Reyes

AVID LENNON
STAFF CORRESPONDENT

February 17, 2005


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Every day Jose Reyes is standing upright is a good day as far as the Mets are concerned, and there have been far too few in the damaged career of their precocious 21-year-old shortstop.

Count yesterday among the good days after Reyes breezed through drills at the team's minor-league complex, smoothly fielding grounders and raking pitches from either side of the plate. Reyes is watched so intently that club officials can't help but exhale after each one of his steps, and general manager Omar Minaya is too wary of his medical history to turn the page, despite what his eyes were telling him on a sunny morning in February.

"When a player has been hurt so recently, it stays in your mind," Minaya said. "It's still too fresh for me to not even think about the injuries."

Reyes, however, only looks forward - to the next base, the next at-bat, the next game. It's impossible to play at his accelerated speed if his mind remains anchored in the past, and that's why Reyes politely shrugged off questions about his legs, repeating that he is fine and excited to be back at shortstop after an injury-plagued switch to second base.

"I feel so good, I don't have to worry about anything," Reyes said. "Last year, I know was a tough year for me, but now I'm healthy."

His numbers in the Dominican winter league suggest he speaks the truth. Reyes batted .302 with three triples and 11 stolen bases in 29 regular-season games for the Gigantes Del Cibao.

Reyes shifted to an even higher gear during the playoffs, hitting .422 (27-for-64) with three home runs, nine stolen bases and a .443 on-base percentage in 15 games.

That might be enough to convince Reyes, but not Mackie Shilstone, the sports performance specialist who enabled Reyes to complete that full season in the Dominican Republic.

After months of setbacks involving his severely strained right hamstring, followed by a stress fracture of his left fibula last August, Reyes finally visited with Shilstone at his New Orleans facility for three days in October.

Shilstone is widely respected for his success at solving persistent leg injuries, and his Web site is loaded with testimonials from linebackers to point guards, from Roy Jones Jr. to Morten Anderson.

Reyes, too, came away from that October session satisfied that he had been healed, in a sense, as long as he followed the regimen provided to him by Shilstone.

But Shilstone said yesterday that was not the case. Though Shilstone's team did identify the mechanical problem - the injuries were symptoms - that initial consultation was only the first step of a two-part process that required a two-week follow-up visit before spring training and Reyes never returned.

"If I had given him the whole plan, then I would take full responsibility," Shilstone said. "But I didn't have the chance to complete this. His varied problems are multifaceted. He's a terrific talent, a very good kid with a great attitude who loves the game. Now he has to survive the game."

Reyes was no doubt reluctant to leave the Dominican before spring training, but one of his agents, Chris Leible, said that Reyes has strictly followed Shilstone's program since returning home. The Mets also had one of their own conditioning coaches, Jason Craig, present during the New Orleans session and he should help Reyes stick to the daily routine.

Shilstone was encouraged that Reyes experienced no relapses during the winter league season, but added, "He's not out of the woods yet."

Regardless of the treatment, nothing will make Reyes invincible, and it will be a long while before the Mets can relax when he steps onto the field.

The hard truth is that Reyes suffered six serious leg injuries during a 20-month stretch before meeting with Shilstone last October.

He's had zero since, and that's a number more important than any batting average as Reyes prepares for the upcoming season.

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