2011 Baltimore Orioles Bold Predictions: Mark Reynolds

Andrew StewartContributor IMarch 1, 2011

Not the best picture of Reynolds in an Baltimore uniform, but probably something Orioles fans will be used to after striking out 211 times in 2010.
Not the best picture of Reynolds in an Baltimore uniform, but probably something Orioles fans will be used to after striking out 211 times in 2010.J. Meric/Getty Images

6. Mark Reynolds, 3B

Mark Reynolds, 27, spent the past four seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks before he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for starter/reliever David Hernandez. The trade will make him Baltimore’s every day third baseman while prospect Josh Bell will most likely start off 2011 at Triple A Norfolk.

As for their new addition, Baltimore now has its' first legitimate power bat since Albert Belle. Hopefully, this will pan out much better than Belle. In four seasons, Reynolds has hit 121 home runs.

Of course there’s a catch—the free swinging third baseman set the Major League Baseball record with 204 strike outs in 2008, only to break his record the following year with 223. With strike outs directly affecting his average, Reynolds struggled from the right side of the plate.

Reynolds hit .198/.320/.433 with 32 home runs and 211 strike outs.

With three straight seasons of 200+ strikeouts, people scratched their heads as to what the Orioles were getting themselves into with this trade. Looking into some even deeper statistics from 2010 almost makes the faint of heart cringe.

With the bases empty in 273 at-bats, Reynolds hit .150/.273/.333 in 273 at bats with 15 home runs a .605 OPS. Yet his ability to drive the ball deep into the stands kept him in the lineup.

For all of his struggles at the plate there were one area in which he improved upon. His average with runners in scoring position was more desirable. He hit .276/.414/.619 with 11 home runs and 1.033 OPS in 134 at bats. His batting average on balls in play was even more impressive in hitting below the Mendoza line overall. Reynolds hit .325 in RISP, compared to a .257 BAbip with the bases empty.

Career wise Reynolds, has 346 RBI, and his RBI average the past three years has been 95.

His batting average will continue to suffer with all of those strikeouts and whether the Orioles can harness that swing will depend upon Reynolds. Over the past years critics have pin-pointed various aspects in his swing that needs fixed. However, Reynolds has become stubborn about changing.

Mark Reynolds will not win a batting title any time soon, however Baltimore needs him to improve at the plate in order for the trade make sense. Sometimes a change of scenery can help a player find some sort of consistency.

His new home, Camden Yards, ranked fifth in the MLB in home runs per game according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors, while Arizona sat 12th. This does not mean that Reynolds overall average will jump, but it could help the slugger in terms of average and slugging.

Orioles’ fans should not hold their breath for him to strikeout less than 175 times, having over 600 strikeouts in three years.

As for what Orioles can expect from him in 2011—Reynolds had a career .256 average before it dropped to .242 after last season. With a deeper Orioles lineup in 2011, Baltimore can place Reynolds lower in the lineup and hopefully he will see better pitches to hit.

As for his home run totals, Camden Yards is layout is somewhat similar to Chase Field. Left field the line at Camden is 333 feet with the power alleys only 364 and center field at 410. Chase Field is 328 down the line in left, 376 in the alleys and 407 to center.

Reynolds had no home runs down the line in right at Chase Field, but flew out more towards right field. With a short porch in right, hopefully Baltimore can convert him from being a pull hitter. Whether or not that is possible is most likely doubtful, especially in one season.  

Prediction: .234 AVG, 41 HR, 95 RBI, 206 SO,

On Deck: Adam Jones

In the Hole: Matt Wieters

Previous predictions: Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Luke Scott