Tuckin’ Hell – Who is Franmil Reyes?

Popular Padres news site @EVT_News had it first;

The world shook, folk spilled their coffee, dogs ceased barking, cars pulled to the side of the road and their owners stepped out to stare at their phones.

Ok, a little dramatic, but the Padres world is very excited to see this prospect rise up and make it to the big leagues.

So who is he?

Well according to Baseball Reference, he is 6’5” and 108KG and he plays in the outfield. According to AJ Cassavell, he’s one of the largest humans he’s ever seen.

He signed with the Padres in 2012 when he was just 16 years old. He played 67 games in the Dominican Summer League that year, hitting .267/.360/.416, 4 homers and 12 stolen bases. In 2014 he moved up to full-season baseball where he played 124 games, slashed .248/.301/.268 including 11 homers. This was all done at 18 years old, 3 ½ years younger than the average guy in the league.

In November 2016, Eric Longenhagen on Fangraphs added him to his “Other Prospects of note” list. He was sandwiched between Jabari Blash and Kyle McGrath. The following was noted:

A monstrous body with plus raw power projection, Reyes is so big that he projects to first base. I have concerns about his breaking-ball recognition and think the Cal League is kind to this skill set while Double-A and the breaking balls Reyes will see there won’t be.

Less than 12 months later in August 2017, Eric went on to say:

Reyes has plus raw power and is getting to more of it in games than he did in the Cal League last year. I was concerned, coming into the year, about how susceptible Reyes would be to Double-A breaking balls, as he didn’t look comfortable against them in my Cal League looks at him last year. But Reyes’s strikeout rate has barely budged and he’s hitting for a ton of power while posting a .330 OBP, which isn’t spectacular but passes in a corner.

This isn’t us trying to poke fun at Eric, he noted the plus power but still wasn’t exactly convinced by his ability to hit the breaking ball. Yet his strikeout rate didn’t budge.

Since 2013 Franmil has built up plenty of plate appearances, consistently clocking over 500 of them a year. The strikeout rates during those years have been high, but the power has tried to back them up. This power peaked last year as he his 25 home runs in AA, whilst slashing .258/.322/.464 and a wRC+ of 115.

Now let us look at 2018.

Are you ready? Breathe this in:

  • Games – 36
  • PA – 154
  • AVG – .346
  • OBP – .442
  • SLG – .738 (!)
  • HR – 14
  • wRC+ – 196

Ah, I hear you, telling me that El Paso play at height and he’s only mashing it because of the thinner air. Well, shall we check those home and road splits?

  • Home: .277/.397/.569 with five home runs.
  • Road: .415/.487/.908 with nine home runs.

*crickets*

He is absolutely mashing the crap out of the ball. So it’s no wonder that the Padres have called him up, especially when we look at the big league roster he has been thrust into.

The Padres outfield at the moment is a bit of a mix and match due to the number of injuries. With Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe down, we have seen Manny Margot, Jose Pirela and Franchy Cordero take up most of the playing time there. Combined they have hit seven home runs (six were from Franchy), they have a wRC+ high of 133 (Franchy), a middle of 95 (Jose Pirela), a low of 52 (Manny Margot). It’s not been particularly productive beyond Franchy.

This Padres team still isn’t great but there is plenty of hope, especially when you look beyond 2020. However for this season and those leading up to 2020, there will be these little glimmers of enjoyment on the way. So far we have seen Joey Lucchesi and his funky delivery, next we’re going to be treated to Franmil Reyes.

Enjoy the show folks, I know I will.

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