FanPost

Mark Reynolds - fluke or the real thing?

Have been real up in the air about Mark Reynolds for awhile. Obviously the guy strikes out a lot but count me among those who think that Ks aren't THAT bad. OTOH, extreme strikeout guys don't tend to have long or great careers with a few obvious exceptions. Reason is simple: hitting requires making contact with the ball and if you fail to make contact with the ball a lot, you have problems being a consistent. productive hitter.

If you go to Fangraphs.com, they have stats on swing percentages both in and out of the strike zone and contact rate info and Reynolds does NOT go out side the zone any more than an average major leaguer. He does swing at more pitches in the zone but really he strikes out because his contact rate is the worst in baseball. IOW, he just swings and misses a LOT (from the department of  "Duh. . . .") That's the kind of stat that makes me think this is a little flukey and maybe this is his career year now.

Ahhhh, but when he does hit it he hits it a long way. With his burst since the AS break he sits at 36 HRs and seems certain to clear 40 HR, probably by at least a few. HItting 40 HR isn't as big a deal as it used to be but it also tends to be the province of more etablished players. Reynolds just turned 26 but for the purposes of statistical analysis this is his age 25 season since that was his age on June 30th (July 1st in some places). I was poking around baseball-reference and ran a search for all players who hit 40+ HR in their age 25 (or younger) season. Here's the list (with multiples in parenthesis):

Prince Fielder
Mark Teixeira
Albert Pujols (3)
Adam Dunn (2)
Adrian Beltre
Troy Glaus (2)
A Rod (4)
Vlad (2)
Richard Hidalgo
Junior (2)
Frank Thomas
Juan Gonzalez (2)
Jose Canseco
Mark McGwire
Jim Rice
Johnny Bench (2)
Reggie Jackson
Dick Allen
Willie McCovey
Harmon Killebrew (2)
Orlando Cepeda
Rocky Colavito (2)
Hank Aaron
Mickey Mantle
Wally Post
Eddie Mathews (3)
Ernie Banks
Willie MAys (2)
Ralph Kiner (2)
Joe Dimaggio
Hal Trosky
Jimmie Foxx (2)
Chuck Klein (2)
Mel Ott
Lou Gehrig
Babe Ruth

While the 1st stats about contact rate trouble me, that list just makes me go WOW! There are some guys on that list who never quite matched that again (Wally Post, Adrian Beltre, Richard Hidalgo who IIRC got hurt and was out of baseball by 30) but the vast majority of that list is HOFers, near HOFers, MVPs and multiple time All-Stars. In fact of the 36 names on that list, an astounding 23 of them eventually won MVP awards (and 2 of the guy swho didn't are in the HOF - Ott & Mathews).

Now Reynolds probably isn't headed toward the upper echelon of that list but still. . . . .

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