The Reynolds Rap

Mark Reynolds was the feel-good story of 2007 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here was a kid who began the year in Mobile Alabama playing for the Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate when he gets a call to the major league team in an emergency when Chad Tracy suffered an injury. Reynolds came to the parent club and began to light up major league pitching at a blistering pace. Soon pitchers began to realize that Reynolds could hit a fastball a country mile. Mark soon found himself receiving a steady diet of breaking balls and struggling mightily. Rather than demoting him, manager Bob Melvin showed a lot of confidence in the youngster. That confidence seemed well placed as Reynolds bounced back from his struggles and as the season ended Mark was again lighting up major league pitchers.

Watching batting practice last season, it was clear that Mark Reynolds has the type of power that the Diamondbacks desperately need. Some of the shots he hit were in the rarified air of Chase Field that are normally reached by the likes of Richie Sexon, Mark McGwire, or Sammy Sosa. But like other proficient power hitters there comes a cost associated with tape-measure blasts. That price is strike-outs and Reynolds showed that he could be punched out with the best of them. In the course of 111 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season Mark Reynolds accumulated an alarming 129 strikeouts. If Mark Reynolds continues at this torrid strikeout pace he will find his playing time diminish significantly.

The young third baseman seems to realize that as he has come to Spring Training with a renewed sense of passion and a newly found outlook of pitch selection. No longer is he content with just swinging at something near the plate and hoping for the best. Instead Mark Reynolds with the help of hitting coach Rick Schu hope to put himself into a position where he has the advantage over the pitchers. It’s a task that is easier said than done and only time will tell whether he can be successful. For the Diamondbacks offense to get better it will take Reynolds laying off pitches just out of the strike zone to become a better hitter later in the count. This will be an interesting storyline to follow through the 2008 season.

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