Don’t Miss The Mark: Regression Is Coming For Mark Reynolds

Mark Reynolds is a player who, in my opinion, has regression written all over him.  He’s coming off a tremendous season, to say the least, but how can we expect him to repeat this line:

578 At Bats
.260 Batting Average (150 Hits)
44 Home Runs
102 RBI
98 Runs
24 Stolen Bases
.349 On Base Percentage
.543 Slugging Percentage
.341 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Let’s take a look at the first and most obvious problem, the average.  He could just as easily hit .230 as he repeats a .260 average again.  When you strike out 38.6% of the time (and 37.5% for his career), you need to get extremely lucky to maintain a usable average.

It’s easy to say, when you hit 44 HR, you don’t need as much luck as normal and that is true.  Balls leaving the ballpark are not in play, but I wouldn’t expect him to be able to replicate the power he posted in ’09.

Last season he saw his HR/FB rise to 26.0%, after being at 18.2% in ’08.  That mark led the league, ahead of Ryan Howard (25.4%), Carlos Pena (23.8%) and Prince Fielder (23.1%).  Those were the only three other players to post marks above 23% in ’09.  Until he proves that he can repeat that level, you just can’t expect it.  I’d look for him to be somewhere in-between his ’08 and ’09 marks.

With a fall from his 44 HR campaign likely, it will in turn further diminish his prospects of posting a usable average.  Is he going to fall into the mid-20s?  Of course not.  He’s proven that he is one of the top power options in the game, just not at that level.  How many players can you expect 40+ HR from every season?  From 2008 to 2009, the answer is one…  Ryan Howard.

The other number that screams regression is his stolen base total.  Simply put, it came out of nowhere.  In 2008 he stole just 11 bases (in 13 attempts).  In his entire Minor League career (1,216 AB) he attempted just 16 bases (successful on 11).

How can we expect him to once again attempt 33 stolen bases?  That just seems like a long shot to me, especially hitting in the middle of the order.  Time will tell, but I certainly wouldn’t enter the season expecting it.

The runs and RBI numbers are believable and repeatable.  He has the power and is in the middle of the lineup with some other talented players.  With Justin Upton, Miguel Montero and Adam LaRoche joining him in the three through six spots, there should be plenty of opportunities to both drive in and score runs.

Let’s take a look at what I’m expecting from him in 2010:

.250 (146-585), 36 HR, 105 RBI, 95 R, 16 SB, .329 BABIP, .335 OBP, .497 SLG

Before we say that the SB are too low, it would be the second highest total of his career.  It’s not like I’m expecting him to stop running altogether.  I just don’t see last season’s jump as repeatable.

I’m also not expecting his power to simply disappear.  He’s going to remain one of the preeminent power hitters in the game (in fact, I have him projected as tied for seventh in home runs).  The HR/FB was just inflated, leading to my projected regression.

The average is anyone’s guess.  I have him at .250, but that is almost like an over/under.  What do you think, will he be lucky and hit above it or unlucky and below it?  It could go either way.

Is the sum of his parts worth owning?  Absolutely, just be careful on the cost.  I have him ranked as more of a mid-third round pick, meaning I’m not going to end up with him on my teams considering his second round ADP.  Don’t pay for his 2009 statistics, because it’s hard to imagine him repeating them.

What do you think?  Will Reynolds regress or could he repeat his 2009 numbers?  What are you expecting from him?

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Make sure to check out some of our 2010 projections, including:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

8 comments

  1. TY says:

    In the 3rd round i’d consider him. In the 2nd round NO WAY. He’s def’ly going to go at least 30/10. And 35/15 is probably likely, its his average like you mentioned that will probably take a hit, if he pulls of another miracle year I’d drop my jaw. .230 might be generous, a guy that K’s over 200 times and hasn’t shown any progression to change this could easily hit .220.

    He Might be a glorified Carlos Pena. The kicker, he’ll steal a few bases and plays one of the shallowest positions, which is why he might be worth the risk, not one i’m going to take tho….

  2. Ross says:

    I’m in agreement with all of those projections, but a .406 OBP?

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Good call Ross, that was a typo and I apologize to everyone for that. Inadvertently took the number for my Kevin Youkilis projection. The actual projected OBP for Reynolds is .335 with a walk rate of just short of 11%.

  4. Chris says:

    I understand that Mark is a gamble with his BA, but these people projecting .220 or .230 this year…why? He has never hit that low in the majors or minors. His lowest was .240 in is 1st full season. If you can pull in a high BA player to compensate, Mark will have tremendous value this year and could easily hit over .250.

  5. ClayHenry says:

    I agree that Mark will likely regress to the .240-.250 BA range with 35 HRs or so, but I am sold on the SBs. He has proven to be a proficient base stealer, has the opportunity to run, and will continue to post an adequate OBP. I’m predicting another 20-25 SB season.

  6. Aaron says:

    Completely agree with you on your projections. Probably a high 3rd rounder.

  7. Randy says:

    I’ll be keeping Mark Reynolds in my Auction league because I got him for $1. sure I’ll have to surround him with some guys who hit for average, but so what! 30 HR and 10 SBs are assumed. His average was inflated, especially for a guy who strikes out 200 times every year (hope he doesn’t go for 250 this year). If he had more discipline, he would be Scary Good.

    My line
    .256 BA
    36 HR
    107 RBI
    11 SB
    208 K
    89 R

  8. Rotoprofessor says:

    Randy, I agree with you, for $1 I’d certainly be keeping him, though you believe in his SB even less than I do!

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