We all know that the Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds is one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season. He leads all 3B in home runs. He’s second in RBI (Evan Longoria). He’s fourth in runs scored (behind Chone Figgins, Marco Scutaro & Ryan Zimmerman). It has been an amazing first half, having posted the following line (through Sunday):
301 At Bats
.269 Batting Average (81 Hits)
24 Home Runs
13 Stolen Bases
.354 On Base Percentage
.568 Slugging Percentage
.343 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The biggest question on everyone’s mind is if he can maintain the power he’s shown over the season’s first three plus months. His career high is 28, which he set in 539 AB in 2008.
He had 68 HR over 1,216 minor league at bats, but he never set foot on a Triple-A diamond and only had 248 at bats at Double-A (hitting 14 home runs). It’s impossible to draw too many conclusions from that power output, since there is no long-term numbers against high-level competition to base anything on.
His fly ball rate this season is similar to what he’s done over his first two major league seasons:
- 2007 – 43.8%
- 2008 – 45.2%
- 2009 – 44.2%
What has jumped up, obviously, is his HR/FB, sitting at 28.6% after posting marks of 16.2% and 18.2% over his first two years. This season he leads baseball, ahead of Adrian Gonzalez (27.0%), Albert Pujols (25.8%) and Raul Ibanez (25.3%).
While it is not impossible for him to maintain that type of level, in the past five seasons there have been only 10 seasons above that mark, three of which came from Ryan Howard, one of the elite home run hitters in the game today, and one came from Barry Bonds (29.0% in 2004).
A regression in power is very likely, though I am not about to suggest that he’s going to completely fall off the table. It wouldn’t be surprising to produce at the rates he had over his first two seasons in the big leagues. That still is going to make him usable, but more of a middle of the road option, as opposed to the elite player he’s been this season.
As for the other numbers, we all know he strikes out way too much. This season he is at 36.9%, right at his career mark of 36.8%. Considering his BABIP of .343, there is almost no way I see him maintaining the modest .269 average he’s currently sporting.
Just a little change in luck is going to send him down to the .245-.250 range, hardly a player that you would be lusting after.
Yeah, the RBI are going to continue to be there. The runs scored seem slightly on the high side, considering the lack of true protection after him in the line-up, so unless someone gets scorching hot, a regression there is possible as well.
So, we have a player that is likely to regress in the home run department, all but certain to regress in his average and could slow down in the runs scored as well. Sounds like the perfect sell high candidate, no?
People I’ve seen him traded for, who I would agree with, include:
- Kevin Youkilis – it seems like maybe a bit of a downgrade, but if you need an average hitter who is going to produce, he’s a perfect fit.
- Josh Beckett – No-brainer here. You are getting a potential ace for your rotation.
- Vladimir Guerrero – He’s struggled, but this is Vlad we are talking about. Seems like a good swap if you’re looking for a bat in the OF.
Basically, what I’m suggesting is to aim high and get as much as you can. I can’t see his value getting any higher, can you?
What are your thoughts on Reynolds? Can he maintain this pace? Is he a player you’d rather hold onto? If you are going to trade him, what are you looking for?
To read the previous article, click here.
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