Mar 6, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds (12) at bat against the Houston Astros during a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately, the first game may have left an impression that the Cardinals need to go back to the drawing board.
Reynolds failed to get a hit in three at-bats, left three runners on base and struck out once in Friday’s exhibition game against the Houston Astros.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that the Cardinals won 5-2. Yes, I know, exhibition games don’t count, but this game may have provided a preview of what to expect from this journeyman infielder.
Reynolds has 224 home runs in eight major league seasons, but ever since his .260-44-102 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 things have gone downhill slowly. What hasn’t gone down are his strikeouts, all 1,398 of them ready to be dissected by Cardinal faithful.
Remember Rob Deer? To me, Reynolds projects like Deer, your prototypical homer hitter who blasts 20-30 long balls per season but strikes out 200 times. Would you trust Reynolds to hit a grand slam with the bases loaded?
The Cardinals signed Reynolds to bolster the infield production that was lost when Cardinal faithful like Allen Craig and David Freese were allowed to walk. The club wants Reynolds to back up Matt Adams at first and Matt Carpenter at third and give those hitters some occasional time off.
At what point do you cut bait? Certainly not after the first spring game. But keep in mind what you see with Reynolds is likely what you’ll get. If you can put up with a ton of strikeouts, occasional pop and a very low batting average, Reynolds is your man.
If you can’t, then chances are your blood pressure will shoot through the roof.
I hope I’m wrong. Reynolds may have a breakout season with the Cardinals, at least something like .250-30-80 or similar numbers. That will help the Cardinals hit more home runs.
If Reynolds doesn’t produce then the Cardinals will need Adams and Carpenter to shine for close to 162 games.
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