Before the 2014 season most Mets fans had not heard of Matt Reynolds and now some fans are clamoring for him to at least be given a shot at Opening Day shortstop. The Mets drafted Reynolds in 2012 in the second round with the pick they received from the Marlins for signing Jose Reyes. The Mets drafted him out of the University of Arkansas after his junior year in 2012 where he hit .323 for the Razorbacks and led the team with seven homers and forty-five RBIs.
According to scouting reports from when he was drafted, scouts liked his approach at the plate, his good base-running skills, and his glove. His first two seasons in college were less than stellar, but really turned it on his junior year raising his stock a lot and getting bumped up to the second round. He profiled as a middle-infield type player who could drive the ball to the gaps and provide good defense while doing it.
Immediately after signing him the Mets placed him into Single-A Savannah where he transferred back to shortstop after primarily playing third base at Arkansas. In 42 games in Savannah hit only hit .259, which still yielded him a few at bats in spring training in 2013 and a promotion to St. Lucie as well. In 2013, his performance at the plate did not improve producing a slash line of .226/.302/.337. Mets management must have seen something in his swing that granted his promotions through the system so quickly, despite putting sub-par numbers.
He appeared in one game for Binghamton in 2013, and went 0 for 3. He started there in 2014 after receiving another invite to spring training. Exploding onto the scene in 2014, in 58 games in Double-A, he hit reach based safely in all but nine games and had twenty multi-hit games. Prior to the promotion to Las Vegas, he was hitting .355/.430/.422, which was among the team leaders. Then on June 19th he was moved up to Vegas and was replaced by top prospect Dilson Herrera on the B-Mets. Reynolds did not stop hitting once he got to Vegas. In the month of July, he hit .302 and in the month of August he hit .353. Whatever change Reynolds made during the off-season supercharged his bat and is making a case for being in the majors.
With the Mets struggles for offense, can he compete for the shortstop position? Wilmer Flores has the power advantage over Reynolds, but Reynolds handles the bat well and gets on base. Flores plays a passable shortstop in the major leagues and Reynolds is viewed as a slightly above average shortstop defensively. The Mets cannot keep Flores, Herrera, and Murphy for too long before decisions need to be made about where they are going to end up. Whether it be committing to them long term or trading them away for as part of a package deal, which could leave a spot open for Reynolds on the Mets roster even if it is on bench. If the Mets decide to non-tender Ruben Tejada, Reynolds could end up as the Mets back-up middle-infielder. He has played both shortstop and second base in the minors and played third base in college if he would be needed there. Could he be part of a bench of Matt den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Anthony Recker, and Eric Campbell?