Apparently Mark Reynolds stopped making shit happen. That was the advice current Indians manager, Terry Francona, gave Reynolds when signed this offseason. “He’s in the lineup to do damage – to drive in runs and make shit happen – not hit grounders.” To that, we ask, what constitutes making shit happen?
Once a promising prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Reynolds hasn’t been making shit happen for some time now. In his first season in the big leagues (2007), Reynolds hit .279 with 17 HR and 62 RBI in 111 games. Not too shabby offensively, yet his high strikeout rate (31.2%) was a cause for concern. Two years later, Reynolds hit .260 with 44 HR, 102 RBI and joined the 20/20 club while stealing 24 bases. But that strikeout concern was still there – he broke the all-time record for strikeouts in a season with 223 and had a K-rate of 33.7%. The following year, his K-rate rose for the fourth straight season (to 35.4%), along with a decrease in all of his offensive statistical categories. In fact, he became the only qualified batter EVER to have a higher strikeout total (211) than his batting average (.198) for a single season.
That offseason, the Diamondbacks sent Reynolds shipping to Baltimore for a couple of relievers not even worth mentioning. The intention was to rid Arizona of players who participated on a team that broke the record for the most strikeouts in a season. That next season he hit 37 HR (good for 4th in the AL), but also led the leagues in strikeouts, errors by a 3B, and hit only .221. The following season, Reynolds began seeing less time in the field, and started appearing as the team’s DH. Before getting designated for assignment, Reynolds was having his worst season yet, showcasing a .373 slugging percentage and a WAR already in the negatives. Not pretty, some would say. (Yes, that’s Mark Reynolds dressed as a sexy nurse.)
Enough cannot be said that this guy at one time was able to make shit happen. He was – and still somewhat is – a legitimate power threat (as evidenced here). Yet, he cannot keep from striking out in one-third of his at-bats. He owns three of the top 5 single season strikeout records overall – giving him four of the top 10 of all-time – and he has the 7th worst K-rate of all-time among hitters.
In a time where strikeouts are at an all-time high, Reynolds is quite possibly the most egregious whiffer of them all. In four separate seasons, he struck out more times than Lloyd Waner did in his entire 18 year, 2000 game, and 7800 at-bat career. When it is all said and done, Mark Reynolds has a shot to go down as the Great Strikeout King of our generation – let alone all-time. So move over Rob Deer, Reggie Jackson, and Adam Dunn, you have some company.
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