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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.