by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Franmil Reyes’ power surge has created quite a stir, making him a popular waiver wire target as fantasy owners envision him arriving at any moment. When you homer in five straight games, slugging 8 HR in the process, that’s what’s going to happen. The Padres’ outfielder clearly looks like he doesn’t belong at Triple-A, hitting .345 with 13 HR and 35 RBI, but is he really as can’t miss as you may want to believe?
The first question is if he can come remotely close to maintaining this type of power pace. He hit 25 HR over 507 AB at Double-A last season, so there’s some power, but keep in mind that he’s added just 5 doubles and 1 triple in ’18. He also entered play on Monday with an unsustainable 39.5% HR/FB, further calling things into question. It’s not to say that there isn’t power, but take the locale he played into account as noted by Baseball America:
Take a hitter with 70-grade raw power, give him 28 at-bats in El Paso and Albuquerque, and you get the kind of monstrous week Reyes had. The massive 6-foot-5, 240-pound Dominican homered twice on Wednesday, hit two more homers on Thursday and homered twice again on Friday, giving him three consecutive multi-home run games. He slowed down a bit over the weekend—homering only once each on Saturday and Sunday to give him five straight games with a longball. Reyes’ power has long been real (he led the Padres’ system with 25 homers last year) and he has gradually cut his strikeout rate and improved the quality of his at-bats. Though Reyes isn’t the toolsiest player, his big power and effervescent personality—he often serves as the translator for his Latin American teammates and is known to light up the locker room with his enormous smile—has Padres officials believing he is a big leaguer.
The strikeout rate has been impressive, considering the power, as he entered Monday with a 20.9% strikeout rate and 10.9% walk rate. His 10.8% SwStr% is a vast improvement on his 13.8% mark at Double-A last season, and his ability to maintain that will go a long way.
Still, before we get excited about the power we know it’s going to regress and you have to wonder if he’ll revert back towards more swing and miss in an effort to maintain the power surge he showed. Throw in an unsustainable .342 BABIP (18.6% line drive rate) and there’s a good chance the average plummets.
Reyes was one of the biggest stories from last week, but the bigger story will be how he responds. Will the strikeouts grow as he tries to match those unsustainable marks or will the 22-year old stay within himself? That will be the key to showing his maturity/ability, and whether or not he truly is on the precipice of forcing his way into an already deep outfield situation.
We’ll check back in on him in a week to ten days, and that’s when we’ll really know.
Sources – MILB.com, Baseball America, Fangraphs
Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings? Make sure to check it out by clicking here. Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists: