Nationals Baseball: Who is Matt Reynolds?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Who is Matt Reynolds?

And should you care about him?

The answer to the former is a perfectly competent SS/MI in the field with a garbage bat. The answer to the latter is "No, not really"

Matt Reynolds was a high draft pick (2nd round) for the Mets in 2012. He floundered in A ball in 2012 and High A in 2013 but such as it goes for guys you like, the Mets kept pushing him and in 2014 he "broke out" with a high average stay in AA (.355) and a nice looking run in AAA. But that only brought him to the outskirts of interest from the guys who rank prospects for a living. A BABIP fed AA half-season followed by a PCL boosted second half? Do it again then we'll talk. Well, Matt Reynolds went out and promptly failed to do it again. In 2015 in AAA. In 2016 in AAA. In 2016 in the majors. He is the guy from ever other year but 2014. He is the guy we described above.

Matt Reynolds relies on BABIP. He doesn't hit for much power. He doesn't have much patience. He's not particularly a contact hitter. There really isn't much to recommend him as a player at the plate. In the field he's fine for a SS, which is good but he's nothing special and he'd have to be in order for you to want to carry that bat on your team.

So why did the Nats pick him up? Options. Not in the vague "to have alternatives" sense, but in the MLB specific "He has options left" sense. For the most part the MI in the Nats upper minors is a wasteland of Irving Falus and Corban Josephs and Michael Almanzars. Heard of them? No one has. So it's doesn't hurt to grab someone with some major league experience to stick down there in case of emergency. Problem is - you grab someone without options and they have to stay on your 40 man. So you pick up this guy then shuttle him down. Problem solved. Well... not really solved. You've just added another crappy player to the system to cover for other crappy players. Let's try again. Problem, which you hope won't matter, papered over.

The Nats have Murphy, Kendrick, Turner, and Difo here to cover 2B and SS. They have Carter Kieboom as a guy they hope will start getting some serious looks in 2019. This will do in the meantime assuming there aren't massive injury issues and if there are massive injury issues, well you trade or something. Matt Reynolds isn't an answer. He's a few day stopgap for a team that didn't like their current few day stop gap choices.


Froggy said...

So, he is a Danny Espinoza. No?

Rob Evans said...

Any possibility that he is a replacement for Difo as the Nats add him to a package for Realmuto?

Anonymous said...

Juan Soto was ranked 7th in Jim Bowden's prospect rankings. I don't think Bowden is a great analyst but Soto is clearly thought of as an elite prospect in the industry.

Josh Higham said...

@Froggy with luck a less grouchy version, but also less pop.

Dusty's Toothpick said...

@rob evans I didn't know that was a thing!!! I loved how Difo did last year because I have been rooting for him, but I want REALMUTO BADDDD, the hole at catcher is apparent. Realmuto and Severino just would be awesome!!!

Harper said...

Froggy - he's Danny Espinosa now. Danny Espinosa before was a slick fielder who might turn on one with a beard even i liked.

Evans - I suppose anything is possible, but I don't think so. I think he's organizational depth. I think if Difo goes you have to sign someone to replace him like JJ Hardy for a million or something.

Anon @ 7:37 - I'd say the non Jimbo consensus is that Soto is on the cusp of being a top 10 prospect. A good year or better this year and he'll be there. Which is why the Nats are holding onto him tight

Dusty's - it may not be. I haven't heard it but it's not impossible given they won't give up Robles & Soto, that they'd try to package everything else.

blovy8 said...

Jeez, did you guys forget Reid Brignac already? I hope that guy still gets a birthday card from his mom...

Chas R said...

Brignac could surprise and be this year's Clint Robinson. Ryan Raburn for the OF as well.

Harper said...

blvy8- Yes. You should too. Although I do also hope he gets a birthday card from his mom or a loved one.

Jay said...

I know this is off topic, but I'm a little worried about the idea of super teams and as one GM said there may be more teams competing for the first pick than the World Series. The AL is pretty much the Astros (who are better than last year), Indians, Yankees, and then maybe Red Sox. The Astros, Indians, and Yankees are the clear favorites IMO. The NL is pretty much the Cubs and the Dodgers and then everyone else. As currently constructed, the Nats would the underdogs against either the Cubs or the Dodgers. Now a lot can happen in a year and in the post season in particular. However, if the Cubs and Dodgers follow suit in the NLCS and the Astros and Indians or even Astros and Yankees follow suit in the ALCS then that would be three years in a row they met in the NLCS. Going over the teams in the NLCS and ALCS does definitely show the same basic mix of teams. In the NL you have basically the same 4 teams back to 2010 not counting one year of the Mets and another of Milwaukee and Philly at the end of their run in 2010. Four teams - LA, Cubs, StL, and SF. In AL you see similar trends but more two year runs KC, Texas, and Toronto; Detroit 3 years in a row with the Yankees and Boston mixed in.

2017: Dodgers vs Cubs NLCS; Astros vs Yankees ALCS (though Indians were close to being in ALCS again)
2016: Dodgers vs Cubs; Cleveland vs Toronto
2015: Cubs vs Mets; Toronto vs KC
2014: San Fran vs StL; KC vs. Baltimorans
2013:LA vs StL; Detroit vs Boston
2012: SF vs StL; Detroit vs Yankees
2011: Brewers vs StL; Detroit vs Texas
2010: SF vs Philly; Texas vs Yankees

Josh Higham said...

Jay, I totally agree. The Cubs/Astros model is great for the Cubs and Astros and bad for baseball generally. I don't think it will happen soon, but I think MLB is bound to introduce some penalties for deliberately bad teams. Maybe cap how many high draft picks a team can have in a year, or a player salary spending floor with hard penalties for violators. Maybe kill the ball a little bit to make swinging for the fences costlier. I don't know what should be done, but I think it's going to become urgent that MLB make a change before long.

blovy8 said...

Harper, all Brignac needs is a launch angle adjustment from Kevin Long this month, and he'll become J D Martinez...or hit lots of flyball outs.

blovy8 said...

Also, the possible fallout from the widespread tanking strategy is that you would expect that more veteran guys than ever who are perhaps in the more expensive portion of their contract or in their last year of team control to become available in July. This depresses the market for current free agents further. If I am the Nats, why would I sign someone who is a clear upgrade, lose the picks and money, when there will probably be a guy who has shown at least three months of major league production, who probably will be motivated by impending free agency and moving from a losing club to a playoff one? there may still be guys holding out for the best deal after the draft this season too, it's not impossible. A GM almost has to build in the possibility of savings in acquiring an good player later for a two-month rental with the balance tax looming over everything this season.

Alan Wiecking said...

Gotta disagree with the concept of a "Cubs/Astros" model, like they invented it. It's truly the Nationals' model, as imposed on them by the very group that is now wringing their hands over the death of baseball. When the Expos were run by MLB, they gutted their farm system and sold off talent just to make a buck. The happy result of that was the Nationals ended up gifted with a plethora of high draft picks, including two generational picks.

The model works, and it's MLB who created it.