Mark Reynolds is by no means a household name, but he has a reputation among those familiar with him as a player. It is a reputation that is not unearned. See, Mark Reynolds strikes out a lot. In 2008, he set the all-time single-season record for strikeouts, with 204. In 2009, he set the all-time single-season record for strikeouts, with 223. He had 211 strikeouts in 2010. He had 196 strikeouts in 2011. Dude strikes out. If Mark Reynolds wanted to retire with Tony Gwynn's career strikeout rate, then starting today he'd have to not strike out for 21,920 consecutive plate appearances. If Mark Reynolds wanted to retire with Richie Sexson's career strikeout rate, then starting today he'd have to not strike out for 1,318 consecutive plate appearances. And then he'd have to retire, even though he'd be like 31.
No position player who's played even semi-regularly since 2007 has posted a lower rate of contact than Mark Reynolds, who has missed with nearly two of every five swings. Mark Reynolds has posted about the same contact rate against the average pitcher that the average hitter has posted against Craig Kimbrel. Guys who strike out a lot tend to be guys who swing and miss a lot. Reynolds swings and misses a lot. Swings like the swing he took against Oliver Perez last night in the bottom of the 11th explain almost everything. "Of course a guy who swings like that would swing and miss a lot," you think. "It's a miracle he's actually made contact as often as he has, with that swing."
What the swing doesn't explain is Reynolds' career .472 slugging percentage, and 166 career home runs. It's difficult to reconcile the swing with some of Reynolds' numbers. But you know, in this era of expansion and player-pool dilution, pitching talent is just spread too thin, and Reynolds has been able to somewhat regularly do damage despite swinging as if he were directing traffic in a parking lot. Chone Figgins watched this swing and sent Reynolds a sympathy card. Mark Reynolds' wife watched this swing and resumed loosening all of the household jars.
Incidentally, Oliver Perez! 282 pitches, with 70 percent of them for strikes. 18 strikeouts, and four unintentional walks. Fastball averaging 94 miles per hour. The longer this goes on, the more it seems like Oliver Perez is for real, and the more I'm left questioning everything I ever thought that I knew. If Oliver Perez can make something of himself, then what's stopping anyone else? Maybe Chone Figgins needs to play. Maybe Carlos Peguero needs to play. Maybe we should inquire about the availability of this Mark Reynolds cat. We know he can hold a baseball bat and move it. Used to be that Oliver Perez could hold up his left arm and move it. Those were his skills. Now look at him! If Oliver Perez can do it, Mark Reynolds can do it. If Oliver Perez can do it, you cannot do it. I'm sorry but that just doesn't follow. You are very untalented.
And just what in the hell is this?