Originally written July 18, 2013 on Waiting For Next Year:
The Indians have been a pleasant first-half surprise at 51-44. They’re on pace for 87 wins. Despite their streakiness, they’ve remained fairly close to the playoff picture through mid-July, which is far better than the collapses of the last two seasons. But one player in particular has seen his production fall off the Earth just like Manny Acta’s Cleveland teams: first baseman Mark Reynolds. Over the season’s five weeks, he was off to an MVP-like start. Heck, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman even tweeted that exact thing on May 18th. Little did he know that Reynolds would begin a disastrous two-month stretch. Here are the stats for the soon-to-be 30-year-old Reynolds’ career leading up to the 2013 season, and then the crazy split that occurred after the game on May 9th: As I’ve said before in the comments section, Mark Reynolds’ usual production was somewhere in the middle of his hot April and insanely cold June. That’s true for his batting average, on-base percentage and strikeout numbers. The most glaring change, however, has been in the slugging. During the offseason, when he signed with Cleveland, Reynolds was expected to come in and compete for the team lead in homers. He has 15 through 89 games, which isn’t bad. But his extra-base hit per plate appearance rate since May 10th is worse than the worst in baseball. It’s worse than Ben Revere’s career rate, and he’s never hit a home run. That’s dreadful for a strikeout-prone mediocre-defense “slugger”. Next, I did some research on the context of how bad Reynolds has been over this nine-week stretch from May 10th through July 12th. Via Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s database dating back to 2005, here are your 10 worst qualified individual player OPS lines during that exact span of the season: It’s a wee bit crazy to see that 2013 NL MVP favorite Yadier Molina heads this list, while Reynolds’ OPS places seventh overall and second-worst in 2013. Overall, in the last nine years, only 10 qualified players have posted an OPS of .530 or worse from May 10th through July 12th. Certainly, many fans have been clamoring for the easily-ridiculed Reynolds to receive a little less playing time. Of the players on this chart, only 2005 Freddy Sanchez had more plate appearances (the timing of the 2013 All-Star Game is a slight factor, too). We’ll see soon if that’s the approach for manager Terry Francona or if suddenly the slugger can snap out of this funk. [Related: Indians All-Star Break Review: The Position Players]
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