Monday, December 6, 2010
David Hernandez, 2009 Topps Chrome #198
As far as Mark Reynolds, the deficiencies in his game jump right out at you. In 2008, he was the first player to strike out 200 times in a season, and he blew his own record out of the water with 223 the following year. Last year he had 211 whiffs and his batting average plunged from .260 to .198. But strikeouts aren't as stigmatized as they once were; they're not any worse than any other type of out, and they're better than double plays (I'm looking at you, Miguel Tejada). And even with all of the strikeouts and the low batting averages (.242 for his career), he still has a lot of value as a hitter. Unlike the aforementioned Tejada and the rookie Josh Bell, Reynolds is not afraid to take a walk. Last year he walked a career-high 83 times, nearly four times as often as Baltimore's cast of third basemen combined. Then, of course, there's the power. Whether or not the University of Virginia product ever matches the 44 home runs he hit in 2009, there's no question that he is a legitimate power hitter. In a down year last year, he still clouted 32 homers, one every 15.6 at bats. The O's have only had three 30-homer seasons in the last decade: Aubrey Huff in 2008, Miguel Tejada in 2004, and Tony Batista in 2002. Besides, Reynolds is still relatively young (27) and affordable. He's under contract for two more years, with a team option for a third. I guess what I'm saying is that he is not another Garrett Atkins.
Welcome to Baltimore, Mark. I look forward to watching you swing for the fences at Camden Yards.