Where did Matt Reynolds come from?

Binghampton Mets Erie Seawolves BaseballBefore 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?

13 comments for “Where did Matt Reynolds come from?

  1. Name
    October 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Couple of interesting notes related to Reynolds.

    -He is vying to become the first player drafted under Alderson to make his MLB debut. He is likely competing with Leathersich and Mazzoni for this “honor”
    -The Mets are only one of 4 teams that haven’t had a player drafted in 2011 or later (the first draft under Alderson). The other 3 teams are the Yankees, Twins, and Rays.
    -The last Mets 2nd round pick to make it to the majors is Kevin Mulvey (as a Twin)
    -The Mets have a terrible track record with 2nd round picks (hopefully to be broken with Matz and Reynolds). The last decent one was Todd Hundley in 1987

  2. Metsense
    October 27, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Would you rely on an unproven AAA shortstop to be your shortstop in 2015, the year that you are projected to finally contend for a playoff spot? It would be risky and somewhat fool hardy. The Mets should try to obtain a SS that fields better than Flores and hits better than Tejada. Reynolds had a fine year after an unimpressive 2013 so I would like to see him do it again before I entrusted him to the starting job.This is the reason the 2015 answer to the shortstop position lies outside the organization.

    • Jerry Grote
      October 28, 2014 at 8:31 am

      “fields better than Tejada and hits better than Flores”

      Tulo isn’t available. That’s only a partial stretch, really; Tejada, by any statistical measure, is clearly an above average fielder and Flores has the chops to out hit most shortstops.

      We’d all love that guy – the hitting SS that has a glove. He’s really unavailable, unless you are willing to part with swaths of talent. The Giants might win their second World Series with Brandon Crawford at SS, and even he isn’t “that guy”. Let’s not overreach here.

      • Metsense
        October 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

        Yes it would be nice to get Tulo but that would cost a fortune. The Mets have financial restrictions and an organizational philosophy that indicates that they don’t want to give up a swath of young cost controlled talent. I also said “fields better than Flores and hits better than Tejada.”
        Jed Lowrie fits that description as a free agent. He averages a career fWar of 2.8 or a bWar of 2.1 over 162 games which includes his down year in 2014. Unspectacular but solid and a better SS than what the Mets currently have.
        Hypothetically, if they had to cover the salary, they could trade Murphy for prospects and apply his salary to Lowrie. So the bottom line on the roster would be Murphy and $ for Lowrie and prospects.
        Of course the better the SS upgrade the better the chances of a playoff spot (and I only use Lowrie as an example) but an improvement is needed.

        • Jerry Grote
          October 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm

          first, my apologies for mis-reading your comment.

          End of the day, I’m in the camp that says “defense never has a slump”. You build a team’s defense right up the middle, and you already have an above average SS in the field.

          You use bWAR for the underwhelming Lawrie. Take out 2013, and what do you have for Tejada? A little more than two complete seasons and 5.5 bWAR – all before the age of 25, that you control for a song, without giving up a piece of talent or an additional penny.

          If we can look past Lawrie’s poor 2014, why can’t you look past Tejada’s 2013 (when he was playing his age 23 season).

          Out of 32 SSs, I’d place Ruben somewhere around #24-26. It’s not the worst in the world, and you could have that for $3MM a year (mind you, he’s already produced two 2 WAR seasons, and both of those were truncated).

          I’d rather see the team address real needs – like putting money into the hands of a guy like Cuddyer.

    • Yazzy
      October 28, 2014 at 9:25 am

      The Mets do not want to move any of their young fleet of up and coming minor league pitchers. So the only reasonable thing is to pair either Flores with Reynolds or Flores with Tovar as the starting SS, and a replacement infielder. The Mets are not going to keep and pay Ruben Tejada extra arbitration money for him to stay on board in 2015. The Mets will be fine with Flores at SS because he makes the routine plays, covers 2nd base really well, and knows what to do if the ball is bunted up the 3rd base line. I really like Flores,\\ and believe he is going to get much better at fielding given both time, patients and someone who really knows how to position the SS like a Wally Backman. I do not know if Reynolds is ready yet for the Bigs so it might be Tovar backing up Flores which is fine because Tovar has speed, good defense and a good arm. I think he will probably be a 240 isn type of hitter which is a hell of a lot better than Ruben Tejada.

  3. Tim
    October 28, 2014 at 12:12 am

    T.J. Rivera will be our everyday ss in 2016, you heard it here first

  4. Sean Flattery
    October 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Well if he is called up, I hope he leaves that hoodie he’s wearing there behind

  5. Marc Melton
    October 29, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I’m very high on Reynolds. More so than I think a lot of other writers here.

    I don’t know why people don’t like him. He’s a 2nd round pick so he has some pedigree at least. After an unremarkable season in Savannah (extreme pitchers park) and a mediocre season in St. Lucie (didn’t hit very well, but a .263 BABIP is a bit under average), he blew up this season. And it wasn’t “oh, everyone hits in Vegas” because he was hitting in Binghamton first.

    We’ve already established that he’s probably the best fielding SS we have currently either at AAA or MLB level. So, why not give him the chance? Move Flores to 2B where he will probably be better suited, and package Murphy and a pitcher to get an OF.

    It sounds crazy, but the Yankees and the Mets could actually be perfect trade partners. The Yankees could use a 2B (Murphy) and some starting pitching (Niese) and maybe another OF prospect (Puello? NOT Nimmo) and the Mets could maybe get Brett Gardner back. He’d be a perfect fit in that OF.

    Not that I think the Yankees would actually do that.

  6. Jerry Grote
    October 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Your glove comments are pretty generous. WTovar is better at the minor league level, and he has to prove that he’s a better than average fielder at the ML level, since Tejada has already done that. But I have no issue with Reynolds.

    That aside, to me its about the mitt at SS. I dream of a day when the Mets rotation runs a K/9 reaching 7, and having a near GG at SS and one in CF.

    Together, that’s really 14-15 outs a game. We need the total of five players to catch 12 balls/grounders a game.

    12 outs. That’s all the rest of the team has to contribute.

    • Marc Melton
      October 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Tovar isn’t at the AAA level or above full time yet, which is why I put the exclusion there.

      And yes I know Tovar has played in some real MLB games, but the Mets haven’t called him up above AA. I really thought Reynolds deserved to play a few games for the Mets this season. I don’t even remember him playing in 2013, but he got 19 PAs, then the Mets started him off at AA again? Why not at least call him up to AAA to start the season?

      Right now it seems as if they have an organizational jam at SS (Tejada, Flores, Reynolds, Tovar, Cecchini, Rosario) and aren’t really sure exactly what to do with their SS at any level.

      • October 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        They wanted Flores to get time at SS in the minors and felt it was better to keep him at Triple-A than demote him to Double-A.

        • Marc Melton
          October 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm

          Ok, i couldn’t figure out why they would do that.

          I guess having too many potential SS is a good thing? Let’s hope they pick the right one.

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