For the record, I was adamantly against signing Mark Reynolds. I understand the value he brings to a team that desperately needed some power in the middle of the lineup, but as a fan I simply can’t stand watching a guy who strikes out at least once per game.

So in an effort to cheer myself up about the move, I went out in search of something positive to take away from the addition of Mark Reynolds.¬†And since Reynolds in pretty much a one-trick pony, it didn’t take long to find.

In 2012, Reynolds led all of baseball with 1.324 OPS against inside fastballs from righties.

While Reynolds has more than a few holes in his swing, he absolutely crushes inside fastballs from right-handed pitchers (click image for larger version).

Unfortunately, this is the one of the worst kept secrets in the baseball. Over 50 percent of the pitches Reynolds saw from right-handers in 2012 were of the off-speed variety. And when they did test him with the hard stuff, the kept it on the outside part of the plate.

The heat map below shows the pitch frequency of all fastballs thrown to Reynolds by righties in 2012. It’s no coincidence that the hot zone drifts well outside the strike zone.

In fact, just 15.3 percent of the fastballs Reynolds saw in 2012 from righties fell within the three hot zones designated in the first heat map – a grand total of 125 pitches of the 1,670 total pitches he saw from right handers last year.

So while Reynolds can certainly do some damage, he is almost entirely at the mercy of the pitcher. When the pitches are located, his power can be neutralized. But when a ball drifts into those hot zones, get your gloves ready in the left field bleachers.

10 Comments

  • Swift says:

    Well gosh, now I’m really not excited about him. So, if the half dozen or so pitchers in the AL who don’t know this somehow figure it out, the guy could even be worse.

  • DaveR says:

    Maybe Reynolds needs to see this.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    For the price, it’s worth the gamble. He’s still better than LAAAAPorta.

  • Steve Alex says:

    So have we decided whether to contend or rebuild yet? I’m still unclear.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    The answer is “both.”

  • Edward Ennett says:

    I cannot believe they let Russ Canzler go without even giving him a real shot. And instead we get another strike-out machine. I swear the Indians first look at how often a player strikes out, and if they don’t strike out enough they let them go…

  • Steve Alex says:

    Chris, “both” probably means “neither.” I’d like to see our team do one thing right before I’ll believe they can do two things right at the same time. I love the Choo for Bauer trade, but in the short-term that does not do the lineup any favors and the outfield was already dangerously thin. If Swisher signs elsewhere, how do we contend with an outfield that hits fewer homeruns collectively than Josh Hamilton hits in a good month?

  • Chris Burnham says:

    You’ll have to ask them. But it’s pretty obvious that they’re trying to remake the team on the fly.

  • Steve Alex says:

    Definitely. Oakland rewrote the book on rebuilding last year. I guess we’re trying to follow suit.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I feel like Mark Reynolds fits right in. It seems like he’s the umpteenth Indians player over the past several years that can’t hit off-speed pitching.