Offensive clustering is a Mark Reynolds trademark
Sometimes, Mark Reynolds can be so bad – the swings, the misses, the errors etc. — you wonder how they even allow the guy to play in the big leagues. To start 2012, Reynolds sported his usual spotty defense at third and had an 11-game run of .091/.231/.091. You can tell by the slugging percentage he had no extra-base hits. Orioles fans were calling for an all out release.
With someone like Reynolds, you count on his bat to make up for the runs he costs you on defense. You can live with Reynolds because when he gets going, his 15-game bursts are as good as anyone’s. He did get going against the Red Sox in early May during a three-game series, and then, all of a sudden, he was on the DL with an oblique injury. Reynolds had never been on the DL in his career, and J.J. Hardy has been quoted as ribbing Reynolds for being sidelined for that type of injury. My belief is the DL stint was a cover to get Reynolds some extended work at defending first base. Since his return from the DL, he has only played first base defensively. For 15 games since his return, he has produced this triple slash: .340/.450/.620 with three bombs and a 15:8 K:BB. If he had the at-bats to qualify (he’s close), his .369 OBP would tie him with Derek Jeter in the American League, ahead of teammate Adam Jones, Miguel Cabrera, Adam Dunn, Jose Bautista and other studs. Pretty good for a guy primarily known for his residual wind generating, huh?
That above mentioned 15-game streak produced an OPS of 1.070. That’s pretty good, but only ranks 5th (using some rough Baseball Reference research) in Reynolds’ career. Check out his top five 15-game streaks below.
Reynolds isn’t necessarily striking out less or walking more during these streaks, but he is recognizing hittable pitches better. He always had trouble with horizontally breaking pitches (sliders/cutters) and tends to produce when he gets straight and/or vertically breaking pitches. Without data to back it up and specifically from watching his games, he is laying off the sliders and taking quality rips on curveballs/fastballs that he can handle.
With Reynolds currently in the midst of a monster streak, look for the Orioles to continue pummeling the opposition while trotting out Tommy Hunter-type starting pitching performances.