San Diego Padres: FoB Speaks with Friars’ Prospect Franmil Reyes
By Tim Ryder
I had the chance to speak with San Diego Padres’ prospect Franmil Reyes over the weekend. After impressing in Peoria this season, the Friars’ faithful are looking forward to seeing him soon.
Since signing with the San Diego Padres as a 16-year-old out of Palenque, DR, Franmil Reyes has quietly risen through the Friars’ farm system.
After hitting just 31 homers through his first four years in the organization, the 22-year-old has hit a combined 42 dingers between 2016 and 2017.
WIth his MiLB slash line of .263/.328/.420, his power numbers, and a give-or-take 20% strikeout rate, Reyes is developing into some kind of player.
Unique doesn’t begin to describe his skill-set. To see a player with power who doesn’t strike out 180 times a season is very rare these days.
After raking his way through the Cactus League this year, if Reyes can keep on this pace, there’s a good chance he’ll be pushing his name into the conversation for a bench spot next season in Peoria.
Enjoy this candid, insightful conversation with Franmil Reyes, as told to FoB’s Tim Ryder.
Conversation with Padres’ prospect Franmil Reyes
FoB: Growing up in the Dominican Republic, who was your favorite player?
Franmil Reyes: I would say, Vladimir Guerrero. Since I was little, he was always an example for us. He lived near my house, in the same town. There’s a lot of players near me, like Juan Uribe, Francisco Liriano, Ivan Nova, but growing up that was my favorite player and still is.
FoB: How was your transition coming into the United States from DR after you were signed by the Padres?
FR: It was tough because of the language and the rules the US has (immigration-wise, visas, etc.). I was eating the same food all the time. Like Chipotle, it’s very much like Dominican food with the rice and beans and meat, but I knew I couldn’t keep eating the same (stuff) every day.
The English classes never really worked for me but I learned the most from talking with my teammates.
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FoB: Between your time in the Dominican and your time in MiLB, who’s the best pitcher you’ve faced so far?
FR: I would say A.J. Puk, I faced him last year. He was definitely the toughest pitcher I’ve faced.
FoB: As you’ve progressed through the minors, your power numbers have increased tremendously but you’ve been able to keep your strikeouts down to a reasonable level, by today’s standards.
Did you have to make adjustments to do that or is that something that came naturally to you?
FR: I’ve made a couple of adjustments, yeah. When I was young, starting my career in DR and in A-Ball, I thought that to hit that ball hard, I had to put a hard swing on the ball.
In the past year, I’ve learned that I’m so strong I only need to put the barrel on the ball. That’s one adjustment that helped a lot.
With the strikeouts, some of the pitchers we’re going to face are pretty good so I’m going to strike out. It’s something that I’m working on and I know I will get better at.
FoB: If you look around the league at other hitters with power, they strike out so much. Just looking at your stats, in 500-or-so at-bats you only struck out 120 or-so-times last season, but still hit 25 home runs. That’s impressive if you can translate that into the major leagues.
FR: Last year, I struggled for a month or two and I struck out a lot. In 2015 I struck out 103 times or 98 or something like that. I felt much better at the end of last season than I did at the end of 2015.
I know I’ll strikeout, I know what I can do, but I feel good, so comfortable. I try not to worry about anything. When I cross the lines to go play, I just focus on what I want to do in the game. That’s helped me a lot.
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FoB: The San Diego Padres are very-well set up for the future, are you excited to be a part of this rebuilding phase?
FR: I’ve been here seven years and this is the first time I feel like this entire team is a family. Everybody is together, helping. It happened before but now I’m so proud and so happy to be part of this, I’m not going to say a team, it’s a family. The San Diego Padres feel like a family right now. It’s so good, it’s awesome to be a part of.