2012 Mets Draft Scouting Report: 3B Matt Reynolds

With the first of their two second-round picks (they received this one from the Marlins for Jose Reyes), the Mets selected Matt Reynolds, Arkansas's third baseman. Reynolds was a completely different player over his first two seasons at Arkansas. For one thing, he was originally a shortstop, but a torn thumb ligament sidelined his freshman season, and when he returned the Razorbacks put him at third. For another thing, he hit .203 as a freshman and .243 as a sophomore. This year he hit .340/.441/.535. Clearly, Reynolds figured something out.

That something, it turns out, was both good and bad. The good is that Reynolds went back to basics. He shortened his swing and relied on his quick wrists to do most of the work. He drastically improved his contact rate, and, combined with the development of some patience made him an on-base machine. What's unfortunate is that it also robbed him of any power he had. He still managed to hit seven bombs last year, which isn't bad in the BBCOR era, but that's a testament to how quick his wrists are. The swing is overly simple: he doesn't even bother loading his hands so they can pick up speed as he drives them through the zone; he just waits for the pitch and swings. On top of that, he doesn't have explosive hips nor does he use his legs a whole lot. It's pretty much all hands, which is typically what you'll see with slap hitters. Otherwise, he'll sometimes collapse his back side, but that does not appeared to have harmed his contact rate too much.

In the field, Reynolds is a very good defender. He has solid-average speed, soft hands, and a strong arm. I think he'll be an excellent third baseman as a professional, but I doubt the Mets would have drafted him here if that's what they envisioned. The bat just won't profile well at third, you'd be looking for more power. My guess is they're picturing him up the middle, either in his original position, shortstop, or at second base. I'm not sure he has the range for short, but I'm confident he has the necessary tools to handle second. I think he could be at least average there. As for baserunning, he's a smart and aggressive, and he's capable of stealing a base here and there, even if he lacks the required speed to be a big basestealer. In total, I see a second baseman who can hit for average, steal a few bases, and play at least average defense, but don't expect much power mixed in.

Reynolds is another pick with more limited upside but also a high probability of reaching the majors as a utility man, if nothing else. I am curious if the Mets intend to change his swing to something that will let him exploit his natural strength a little more, but why mess with something that is effective? If Reynolds stops hitting, he loses much of what made him attractive in the first place.

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