Colorado Rockies: Most Surprising Player This Season
The Colorado Rockies have a few candidates who have emerged this season which few people would have thought at the beginning of 2016. The most obvious player is shortstop Trevor Story, who tied a NL rookie record with 21 HRs before the All-Star break. Another player is closer Carlos Estevez. However, the player who has surprised the most has been first baseman Mark Reynolds.
The Colorado Rockies signed Reynolds earlier this offseason to a 1 year, $2,600,000 free agent contract per spotrac.com. Reynolds was signed to bring right-handed power to the middle of the lineup, and bring some protection to fellow sluggers Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez.
Prior to this season, Reynolds had hit 235 HRs and 661 RBIs. In 2009, he hit a career-high 44 HRs but also struck out a major league record 223 times. Were the Rockies getting this guy? Or were they getting the guy who hit a mere .230 with just 21 doubles and 13 HRs in 2015?
Fortunately, the Rockies got a combination of this guy. His current batting average is .283, which is a full 50 points higher than his career average. He has hit nine HRs and 20 doubles in just 80 games. Additionally, he has struck out just 78 times, which is the tied for fifth-worst in the NL, but lower than Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.
He has improved in pitch recognition and patience, as he has improved his on-base percentage (OBP) by 24 points over his career this season to .349.
His wins above replacement (WAR) is 0.8, which is tied for the third-best mark in his 11-year career.
The place where he has surprised the most (and saved many fielders from an error) is his work at first base. Reynolds has never been known as a great fielder at first base. But his scoop work of balls thrown in the dirt has been outstanding. His ability to get his glove on the ground and to stretch his body to the limit to retrieve an offline throw has been a treat to watch.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
Through his 80 games, he has committed a total of four errors and has a fielding percentage of .994, which is tied for sixth best in the NL.
Despite not hitting for the power most were expecting, his fielding has made up for this and when he isn’t on the first base bag, there is a noticeable drop off at the position.
Reynolds has been a valuable addition to the team in 2016. If he is not traded prior to the deadline in August, re-signing Reynolds past this year would be a wise move for the Rockies.
Next: Colorado Rockies: The 5 Best Storylines So Far This Season
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN.com and MLB.com unless otherwise indicated.