Mark Reynolds – Going Down Swinging
The story is familiar. The young, first baseman reaches the major leagues by swinging for the fences on every pitch. The big league team sacrifices a high strikeout rate and low batting average for long term potential, and tape measure home runs. But Father Time catches up to the powerful first baseman as the strikeout rate continues to rise and his production declines. At 33 years of age, Mark Reynolds should probably be out of baseball, but instead, he may start at first base in the All-Star game as he is currently hitting .302 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs, and the Colorado Rockies sit near the top of the NL West. The rise, and fall, and rise again of Mark Reynolds.
1) Reynolds spends his first few major league seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has a career year of 44 HRs and 102 RBIs in 2009, but in 2010 his 32 HRs and 85 RBI decline are accompanied with a .198 batting average and a whopping 211 strikeouts.
2) Reynolds finds himself in Baltimore where he hits .221 in the hitter friendly park, and his strikeout rate stays alarming high. After a few seasons, he’s off to the Cleveland Indians, then the New York Yankees, in the same season. He hits a combined .220 for both teams.
3) Next stop was Milwaukee, where Reynolds hits .196, and then St. Louis, where his 13 homers and .230 signaled the back end of his career.
4) In 2016, the Colorado Rockies signed him to a team friendly contract, but after a broken hand ended the season, it looked like the final chapter had been written. His next step was either retirement, or the one-year/$3 million offer to go play in Korea.
5) Reynolds faced the embarrassment of ending his career as the single season strikeout leader with 223 whiffs in 2009. His ability to swing and miss also put him on the all-time single season strikeout list in 2008, 2010, and 2011 as well. His career batting average stood at .237.
As an insurance policy, the Rockies kept Reynolds for a one-year/$1.5 million contract to backup young first baseman Ian Desmond, who is expected to make $22 million a year in 2018. Who knows if Reynolds numbers will continue to skyrocket or if the Rockies will continue to win? But whatever the scenario, Reynolds will go down swinging.