A quick reminder:
- If you haven't done so, please feel free to post your projection for the first eight players in this series; I will compile the results for all nine projections by tomorrow at this time. So you have about 24 hours to get your projections in for the players listed.
- There's a couple easy ways to get to those projections: first you can click on the link in the sidebar above, or you can click on the red Community Projections button at the top of this post.
Mark Reynolds is not a defensive asset like Michael Bourn or Drew Stubbs, he's not an all-around player like Jason Kipnis or Michael Brantley, but he does a couple things really well, and that's why he's on this team.
Reynolds, unlike many players covered before in this series, was not a high draft pick, nor was considered a prospect until he hit 31 home runs as a 22-year-old. He played next to Ryan Zimmerman on Virginia, but an injured wrist in his junior year torpedoed his draft status, and fell all the way to the 16th round in 2004. He was tried at several infield positions on his way up the minor-league ladder, with the Diamondbacks trying to find a spot for him where his defense wouldn't counteract his offense. The positional choice was made for him and the organization, as there was a need for a third baseman in 2007 with Chad Tracy injured and the D-Backs fighting a spot in the playoffs.
Reynolds hit for power immediately upon reaching the majors, slugging .495 in his first season. That earned him the starting job at third base, and he held it through 2010, slamming 121 home runs in four years with Arizona. Unfortunately those home runs were about all Reynolds contributed; his defense at third was consistently poor, and his all-or-nothing approach meant a lot of unaesthetic strikeouts. In 2010, his batting average plummeted (.198) though he continued to hit home runs (32), and after the season Arizona decided to cut bait, dealing him to Baltimore for David Hernandez and another prospect.
Reynolds hit for even more power in Baltimore, slugging .483 despite struggling in the usually hitter-friendly Camden Yards; his slugging percentage on the road (.542) was over 100 points higher than his SLG at home (.421). He led the AL in strikeouts in 2011, picking up in the AL where he had left on the NL (league leader in strikeouts in 2008-2010). In his first season with the Orioles, Reynolds played mostly third base, but manager Buck Showalter began to spot him at first base, and in 2012, he played most of his games there.
The Orioles, fearing that Reynolds would be making close to $10M in his last arbitration year, non-tendered him after the 2012 season, and the Indians needing both power and a right-handed bat, signed Reynolds to a one-year deal worth $6M.
Despite his 181 career home runs, Reynolds' career WAR is only 5.1, due mainly to deductions on defense. In 2011, his last full season at third base, his WAR fielding component was 23 runs worse than average; in other words, he was as bad a fielder at third as Michael Bourn was as good in center last year (+24).
In other words, this is a player made for the DH position. Though he can play first and third if another player needs a semi-day off, the Indians would probably be better served if he plays most of his games at DH; that way his offensive production won't get eroded by his defensive shortcomings. Reynolds hits for power against both right-handers and left-handers, though he's better against left-handed pitching. So I'd expect him to be an everyday player, playing some first base when Nick Swisher replaces Drew Stubbs in right field.
Reynolds did steal 24 bases in 2009, but he's not going to called on to run, and I wouldn't want him to try to run. He's here to hit home runs.
ZiPS does not like Reynolds much at all. Yeah, it has him hitting 26 homers, but the poor batting average drags the slugging percentage down.
If not for the extra 19 Plate Appearances, it would be a carbon copy of ZiPS' projection.
Reynolds shouldn't be hindered by either the high wall in right field nor the general Progressive Field park effects, both of which tend to reduce right-handed home run totals. Playing time shouldn't be a problem.
What's your opinion?
(Please note: I'll be compiling all the position player projections Wednesday morning, so you have one last chance to submit them if you haven't already)