San Diego Padres 2018 Review: Outfielder Franmil Reyes
By Nick Stevens
San Diego Padres outfielder Franmil Reyes had a memorable rookie year in 2018.
What a year for San Diego Padres rookie outfielder Franmil Reyes. From his first call-up to the major leagues, to his demotion in the middle of the summer, to ending the year as one of the hottest hitters in the National League. Reyes experienced a number of ups and downs in his debut campaign and has now forced the Padres to make a critical decision regarding outfield playing time.
Overall, Reyes appeared in 87 games for the Padres, hitting .280 with a .340 on-base percentage and an .838 OPS. He slugged 16 home runs with nine doubles, and 31 runs driven in. That’s a lot of solo home runs for one of the hardest hitters in baseball, but that’s not surprising considering the Padres finished with a league-worst .297 OBP.
After recording strikeout rates of over 40% in each of his first two months, Reyes cut that number in nearly half in each of his final three months of play, while increasing his walk rate to just under 10% in both August and September.
In the second half of the season, Reyes recorded a slash line of .315/.383/.537/.920, a wRC+ of 152, a 10% walk rate, and 21.7% strikeout rate. Outstanding numbers for a player many (myself included) believed would amount to nothing more than a low-.200s hitter with an enormous strikeout rate. I am happily eating my words on that one. Of course, pitchers will adjust to Reyes in his sophomore year, however, he seemed to be a step ahead of pitchers by the end of 2018.
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Last offseason, Reyes was coming off a dominant year in the minor leagues but was left unprotected in the Rule-5 draft. Every single team passed on Reyes, allowing the Padres to keep him on their roster. Now, Reyes is coming off another successful year, however, there are questions heading into 2019.
Will the Padres trade Reyes, who has been considered by many to be a perfect fit for an American League team? Will San Diego decide to go with Reyes in right field and trade Hunter Renfroe while his value is high? Will both sluggers find their way back in the San Diego outfield? No one knows what to expect with AJ Preller at the helm but we do know that Reyes has earned himself a full-time major league gig in 2019.
Sure, the defense is questionable, but the arm is strong. There may not be a lot of speed on the basepaths, but there is some massive pop in his bat. Best of all, his beaming positive attitude is infectious. There weren’t a lot of positive stories to come from the Padres offense in 2018, but Franmil Reyes was both a positive and encouraging one.
Next up in our review series, fellow outfielder Manuel Margot.