If there ever was an overarching theme for the Colorado Rockies organization, its getting production out of vets in the twilight of their careers. Littered throughout the clubs history are wily veterans who sign a minor league deal, yet end up starting for club and making a serious impact. There is a host of names that could be rattled off, which now includes slugger Mark Reynolds.
This is the same Mark Reynolds who holds the MLB record for strikeouts (223) in a single season. The same Mark Reynolds who has that record, and two seasons that rank in the top ten of strikeouts in a year. Reynolds is on his seventh team in 10 major league seasons, and make no mistake about it, is having the best season of his career.
Reynolds has always been able to find a roster spot in this league because of his sheer power at the plate. Every team he has played for has been accepting of his below average fielding, putrid .236 batting average, and ridiculous strikeout percentages, because of the power. The man has hit 262 homeruns over his time, which stretches out to 30 a year. He hit a career high 44 big flies in 2009, which is the same year he had 223 strikeouts to set the record.
In 2017, we have the rare instance where the past performances of Reynolds does not make the man what he is today. As of this writing the Colorado Rockies are 21-13, in first place in the NL West, thanks to Mark Reynolds bat keeping this offense afloat.
Listen here, Mark Reynolds is the best first basemen in baseball as of May 10, 2017. Not Anthony Rizzo or Ryan Zimmerman, Mark frickin’ Reynolds. Before all you stat hounds come at me, I have looked at the numbers, and yes, Zimmerman has better offensive stats, but have you looked at the defensive numbers? Reynolds leads the league in total chances, put outs, and is a full 0.012% higher in fielding percentage.
Through yesterday Reynolds was hitting .333, which is nearly 100 points better than his career average, as too reflect a change in his swing. The big change has been a tweak to his swing that entails being, if you can believe it, less powerful, without losing power. Reynolds swing has changed to be more compact, with little movement in his hands, helping with a “quick to it, long through it” approach. What this means is the bat head is getting to the zone quickly, while allowing his hands to get extension and drive all the way through the baseball.
Defensively, Reynolds has been every bit as good as the talent surrounding him. Reynolds has been masterful with stretching off the bag for the throws from Arenado. Nolan being Nolan is an every night thing, Reynolds being at first to scoop those throws has become a permanent addition to the highlight. Reynolds has made in look easy, which isn’t bad for a former third basemen.
With free agent signee Ian Desmond now back in the fold, Reynolds play has forced the Rockies into a good problem. Having a team with too much talent, a team filled with young talent, it has been refreshing to see a veteran leading the group. Reynolds has done nothing but show strong leadership, strong play, and equally strong coach ability. He is without a doubt having a career renaissance and it’s helping this team win now. Through the first month and a half, how can you not vote for Mark Reynolds as Colorado Rockies MVP!