Mark Reynolds’ Odd Season

Very few fantasy players come with more risk than Mark Reynolds. His strengths can be great, but his flaws can completely tank your fantasy team. This made Reynolds one of the more controversial selection in drafts this season. Last season, Reynolds already troublesome K-rate exploded to 42.3%. As a result, Reynolds couldn’t even hit above the Mendoza Line. This season, however, has been a completely different story. Reynolds has actually cut his K-rate to the lowest level of his career (32.9%). Despite that improvement, Reynolds overall numbers don’t appear all that much different from last season. What gives?

While a 32.9% K-rate is nothing a get all that excited about, it’s important to note that Reynolds career rate sits at 38.1%. For a player whose biggest issue is strikeouts, one would think this type of reduction would result in a massive increase in production. As owners of Reynolds can attest, that just hasn’t happened. So, why hasn’t his production increased?

Well, some of that can still be attributed to a poor BABIP. Reynolds BABIP currently stands at the worst rate of his career, which explains why he’s struggled to raise his average; which currently stands at .217. It’s tough to determine how much Reynolds BABIP will rebound, though. In his first three seasons, Reynolds’ BABIP easily exceeded .300 in each season. Last year, his BABIP plummeted to just .257. Typically, we would write off last season and assume a major correction, but Reynolds hasn’t seen any type of improvement this season (things have actually gotten worse). Based on Reynolds’ GB%, there’s still a good chance Reynolds’ BABIP rebounds. Will it get back above 300+? I’m not confident enough to go that far.

Still, Reynolds has been heating up at the plate lately and things may even out sooner rather than later. For those of you interesting in arbitrary endpoints, Reynolds has clubbed five home runs in 58 plate appearances in June. Over that period, his average has been a spectacular (for him) .261. Based on his past, it would be tough to expect Reynolds to hit .260+ for the rest of the season. If he can get his average up around .240, Reynolds’ owners would probably consider that a very successful season by the slugging third baseman.

Outside of BABIP, nothing else really stands out that can explain Reynolds’ strange season. His HR/FB rate is down a tick, but he’s still hitting fly balls at his career rate. A look at his plate discipline reveals that Reynolds has been more selective with pitches this season, but he’s actually making more contact. This is more evidence that Reynolds should be performing much better this season. He’s realizing the pitches he can handle, and he’s hitting them more frequently than ever.

Yet somehow, Reynolds continues to frustrate owners. Based on his stats, there’s reason to believe Reynolds could still have a great second half. While his initial struggles may have led owners to expect another season below the Mendoza Line, Reynolds actually looks like he’s made some legitimate improvements to his game. His early struggles seem to be nothing more than a slump; Reynolds’ recent surge is far more indicative of his true skill level.




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Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.


12 Responses to “Mark Reynolds’ Odd Season”

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  1. Cody says:

    My name is Cody and I have a problem. I still believe in Mark Reynolds.

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  2. shibboleth says:

    Hi Cody. Welcome to the club. I traded Zobrist for Reynolds just before Zorilla took off on a tear :(

    Still, I’m looking forward to a better second half. and Zips RoS says hope is on the horizon. It calls for 20 HR. I’ll take that going forward any day.

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  3. The_Beard says:

    My name is Jackson and I’m a recovering Reynolds-aholic.

    It’s been 5 weeks since I dropped Mark Reynolds.

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  4. Dealer A says:

    I thought I was over my Reynold’s addiction. I even passed him this spring when he dropped way below his ADP, but once he popped up on the waiver wire, I fell right off the wagon.

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    • YankeesBest says:

      Lol, same exact thing happened to me. I like how he’s picked it up lately though. The other thing that this article hasn’t mentioned is walks. He has almost a 15% walk rate!!! Idk, I think the improved plate discipline might help him break out in the 2nd half. Of course, I might just be trying to rationalize. :(

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  5. Eric Dykstra says:

    I drafted Mark Reynolds with the 70th overall pick in a 6×6 league with no avg (OBP and SLG) and I’m pretty happy with his production, especially since his bad April. His June wOBA is top 10 in the majors so far, and he’s definitely not a pick I regret.

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  6. Anon says:

    Reynolds’ LD% took a dip last year and has stayed down this year. LD% goes hand in hand with BABIP.

    Reynolds was my favorite player with the DBacks and I was sad to see him go. His power and patience have remained and my prediction is that he will eventually have a year where a few extra hits fall, his LD% gets back up and he will hit .280-.300 and when he does, he will have a MONSTER season. Not JOse Bautista monster but I’m thinking 290/400/600 type of season. Get him on the right team and I’m thinking 40 HRs, 140 RBI, 120 runs type of season.

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  7. Travis says:

    Lowest OSwing% of his career, lowest SwStr% of his career, highest Contact% of his career, lowest Swing% of his career… should probably all add up to higher walk rate, fewer strike outs, and possibly a return to his 2009 power levels. Knowing all of this, would anyone be surprised if he ends the year with a .240 average and 40 HR?

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  8. RsubG says:

    Haha you guys are smoking the Reynolds meth or something! 40 HRs come on

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    • Feeding the Abscess says:

      Two more HR today. He’s up to 17 on the season. ZiPS projected 18 more entering today, and that’s with the assumption that he’s going to strike out 40% of the time the rest of the way.

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  9. Dave says:

    Good analysis. The numbers might not show it, but I really like what I’m seeing from him. He’s being very selective with his pitches, his walk rate is darn good, and when he gets a hit, he makes sure it counts. Why the Orioles haven’t moved him up to the cleanup spot, I don’t know. Don’t think he’ll get to 40 homers, but around 30-40 is definitely reasonable. At the beginning of the year, I would have laughed at anyone who suggested that at the end of the year, he’d be hitting around .240. But after seeing how he’s done in the month of June, if he can keep it up, he could easily have a .240 35 HR season.

    Only real knock I have on him is his defense. Maybe a move to first would help him? He’s definitely got the build. Problem is, the Orioles have no one close to major league ready at third except for Josh Bell, and he should only be brought up if we ever face Cliff Lee in the post season.

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  10. Eric Dykstra says:

    Swinging at less balls outside of the strike zone than ever.
    Making contact more often when he does go outside of the zone.
    Making more contact overall.
    Hovering around his career HR/FB ratio.
    Walking more and striking out less than he ever has.
    The only thing not to like is his low LD rate, but it will probably be higher going forward.

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