Now that the 2013 season is complete, it’s time to take a look back at the team and how each player performed on the field. Today we turn our attention towards first baseman/third baseman/designated hitter, Mark Reynolds.
2013 Projection: Mark Reynolds was brought to Cleveland with a two-fold purpose: clubhouse chemistry and murdering baseballs from the right side of the plate.
Having lacked a right-handed power hitter for quite some time, the Indians hoped that Reynolds could find the 40-plus home run power that made him one of the more feared hitters in baseball. During his time in the big leagues, Reynolds had topped the 30 home run mark on three separate occasions and had once topped the 40 home runs in a season. And while his 2012 season was a bit of a down year in terms of power, many ha attributed that to injuries.
Now healthy, the Indians were all in on Mark Reynolds as the answer to their lack of not just power from the right side of the plate, but power in general. Their lineup, which consisted of a lot of quality hitters, didn’t elicit fear in opposing pitchers. No one had the ability to change a game with one mighty swing of the bat. Reynolds had that ability at one time and the hope was that when given a clearly defined role on an every day basis he could deliver some huge home run and RBI numbers.
Of course, the downside to Mark Reynolds has always been his strikeouts and propensity for falling into deep, long-lasting slumps. Could the Indians deal with the potential long-lasting downs that could accompany the highest of highs? They said yes. The fans were even on board in hopes that Reynolds could help power the Indians to a winning record in 2013.
So What Happened?: Things started off well at first. Actually, things started off pretty great for Mark Reynolds and the Indians.
In the month of April, it looked as if he was destined for a career year. Reynolds closed out the month hitting .301/.368/.651 with 8 home runs and 22 RBI. He followed that up with a solid month of May. By the time the calendar flipped over to June, Reynolds had smacked 13 homers and driven in 41 runs. Unfortunately, everything started to dip as the strikeouts began to mount.
By the time the first half came to a close, Reynolds was deep in the midst of a prolonged slump. He closed out the first half with a slash line of .218/.307/.386 and 15 home runs. It never got any better.
Eventually, Reynolds lost playing time to players who were being more productive. Ryan Raburn, Yan Gomes, and even Mike Aviles started seeing heavy playing time over Reynolds. Once it became clear that Reynolds getting playing time was more of a detriment to the team than sitting on the bench, he stopped seeing the field all together. After only 60 plate appearances in the month of July, Reynolds asked for his release and was granted it. He eventually signed with the Yankees and hit 6 more home runs for them.
Key Moment: Reynolds’ defining moment came against the A’s. One at bat after being hit by a pitch, he hit a baseball 3/4 of the way up the bleachers. Unfortunately it was one of the last home runs he would hit in a Tribe uniform.