Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cleveland Signs Mark Reynolds

Cleveland has finally made the signing of Mark Reynolds official. As a right-handed hitter, he brings a lot of power to a team that lacks offense. With Reynolds though, a lot of the focus is on his strikeouts. And while he does strikeout a lot, he still provides a lot of value in other ways.

In 2012, the Indians were absolutely terrible at hitting left-handed pitching. Cleveland had the tenth worst on-base percentage (.312) and the third worst slugging percentage (.352) against southpaws in Major League Baseball. Reynolds, on the other hand, smashes lefties. Going into last season, he never had a slugging percentage under .454. 

Against right-handed pitchers - outside of 2010 when he posted a .396 slugging, Reynolds has held his own. Since 2007 (Min. 2,500 PA), he ranks twenty-first with a .470 slugging percentage against right-handers in all of Baseball. 

He’s also one of the more patient hitters in the league. His 4.27 pitches per plate appearance was tied for the fifth most among qualified batters last season. That approach has led to an excellent walk rate. In his career, Reynolds has walked in 10.4% of his plate appearances. That's well above the league average of 8.5%. 

His history of staying on the field, hitting for power and having a great eye are extremely valuable. In fact, Bill James projects a slash line of .231/.336/.463 and 32 homers in 155 games next season. That would make him one of the better offensive first base-man/designated hitters in the American League.