The Process Versus Mark Reynolds

Looking at the Baltimore Orioles’ lineup, neutralizing the big right-handed bat of newcomer Mark Reynolds is likely to be a key in this opening series. Joe Maddon cannot do much against Reynolds when it comes to his starting pitchers; however, when it comes to the bullpen, Maddon’s magic or madness can come into play with matchups. With that in mind, here is a look at what we have…

Strengths:

Reynolds can flat out mash.  Since joining the big leagues in 2007, Reynolds .241 Isolated Power ranks 11th best in the majors. As a right-handed batter, most of his success comes at the expense of left-handed pitchers. He does well against several different types of pitches, but none more than the fastball.

Weaknesses:

The home runs are great, however, the slugger struggles to make contact. Reynolds is tied with Jack Cust for the highest strikeout rate over the last four years (38.7%) while whiffing at the most pitches (17.4%) and making the least amount of contact (62.8%). While he crushes lefties, he’s been mostly average against righties. Again, he can hit most pitches, but has struggled historically with sliders.

(h/t to fangraphs for the data)

The Process:

Using a lefty should not an option, so sorry Cesar Ramos. Jake McGee could become a relief ace, but we need to see more. The Rays have multiple right-handers to choose from, but which is the right fit?

As much as I like Joel Peralta, his extreme flyball rate plus lack of a good slider does not mesh with what we are looking for. Andy Sonnanstine throws a slider, but it is not particularly well. Kyle Farnsworth also possesses a slider, but the pitch has tailed off in effectiveness and usage in recent seasons.

That leaves us with Adam Russell and Juan Cruz. The major league scouting report on Russell is rather limited. He does throw a slider, but has not had much success with it. The plus for Russell is that he throws a heavy sinker which limits the amount of flyballs against him. On the other hand, Cruz possesses the best right-handed slider of the bunch – or at least on paper. In terms of batted-ball data, the veteran righty is relatively neutral.  Both pitchers have swing and miss stuff with Cruz having the much larger track record.

Since they each have some positives, game situation will of course be a factor. If Reynolds comes to bat with a double-play opportunity, or in a tie game where a solo home run gives the Orioles a lead, then Russell is a good choice. If he comes up with a runner in scoring position and strikeout is needed (runner on third with less than two outs, or runners on with two outs), this could be a spot for Cruz.

Getting Reynolds out may seem simple enough in a scouting report, but if it was, he wouldn’t average 30 home runs a year and produce at an above-average level. Even the best laid plan against Reynolds will fail at some juncture. The point is, if Joe Maddon has the options available, using Cruz or Russell looks like the best process for a positive outcome for the home team.

As for the rest of the Orioles:

Player Name	BAT	LHOPS	RHOPS
Brian Roberts	SH	811	804
Nick Markakis	LH	797	853
Derrek Lee	RH	872	848
Vlad Guerrero	RH	832	850
Adam Jones	RH	665	796
Luke Scott	LH	782	867
Mark Reynolds	RH	932	771
Matt Wieters	SH	622	766
J.J. Hardy	RH	756	737
Jake Fox	RH	593	796
Robert Andino	RH	644	595
Cesar Izturis	SH	649	569
Felix Pie	LH	627	748

(Three-year samples used when possible)
*Career numbers because of small sample size in recent years

 

(Favors means the split is +/- .020 points)
Matchup favors LHP: Markakis, Jones, Scott, Wieters, Fox, Pie
Matchup favors RHP: Lee, Reynolds, Andino, Izturis
Matchup is a push: Roberts, Guerrero, Hardy

Advertisement

About Tommy Rancel

Senior Editor/Analyst - The Process Report. Writer/Analyst - Bloomberg Sports. MLB Insider - ESPN 1040
This entry was posted in Joe Maddon, On the Field, Skill talk, The Process Versus and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Process Versus Mark Reynolds

  1. Let’s just hope Cruz doesn’t ditch the slider for the cutter. I know it was a small sample but he threw the cutter 2.5x as much as the slider last year and the slider is easily his best weapon (career +18.2 wSL)

  2. Pingback: Jaun Cruz, Please Do Not Ditch the Slider « Figure Filbert

  3. Pingback: The Rays Drop Game One to Orioles | The Process Report