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Franmil Reyes Is Being the Beast Who Was Promised

Editor’s note: The FanGraphs Community Blog has received multiple submissions about Franmil Reyes lately, so we are running a pair together today. Here is the other. Happy Franmil day.

Franmil Reyes. Franimal. La Mole.

There are a few names for one of the most interesting players in the big leagues this year. He certainly has one of the most interesting triple-slash lines — Reyes was the only MLB player with a slugging percentage above .600 and an on-base percentage below .300 going into last weekend.

Reyes, who doesn’t turn 24 until July, is now firmly ensconced as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup on a San Diego Padres team that is somewhat unexpectedly above .500 more than a quarter of the way into the 2019 season.

The OBP around .300 isn’t ideal — it’s the second-lowest among the 52 players with slugging percentages above .500. Reyes ended 2018 with a .340 OBP, so he has demonstrated the ability to get on base at an above-average rate, but this season he has traded some walks for a spike in power by being aggressive, particularly early in at-bats. He was slugging .963 on first pitches after Wednesday’s game, including this blast Friday night for his 14th homer in less than 160 at-bats. There was also this shot to right-center for his 15th homer on a first pitch on Monday. If pitchers come to the inside part of the plate on a 0-0 count against Reyes, he has made them regret it.

Impressively, his aggression is not leading to an increase in strikeouts — rather, his K rate has gone down from 28% in 2018 to 25% in 2019. Reyes has made a lot of noise with his bat, including many loud outs. Bad batted ball luck has led to a .255 BABIP this year despite being in the 93rd percentile in average exit velocity, so there is still possibly some upside he has yet to reach. He isn’t in danger of platooning, with a higher OPS against RHP than LHP, and his spray chart shows he can do as much damage to the opposite field as he can the pull side. Read the rest of this entry »