The View From Behind the Backstop: Matt Reynolds

Bryan Green

Matt Reynolds has yet to really impress since he was drafted in the second round in 2012. Will he ever merit consideration for the Shortstop Avenue Audio jingle?

Matt Reynolds

SS/2B, Binghamton Mets (AA)

6'1", 198

2014 prospect ranking: N/A

2013 prospect ranking: #34

Age (2014 season age): 23

Acquired: 2nd round, 2012

Date(s) seen: 4/10/14-4/13/14 @ New Hampshire Fisher Cats: 6-13, 2B, 4 R, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K

2014 so far: 52 PA, .383/.442/.447, 8 K / 5 BB

The short of it: He's not a major league shortstop, but Reynolds is starting to show the hitting ability that made him a second round pick in 2012.

The long of it: I always thought Reynolds would hit more than he has so far in his professional career. He was a polished college bat from the SEC. You expect those guys to whack A-ball even if they aren't big-name prospects. And when I saw him in Savannah shortly after he was drafted, I didn't really think the bat would be the problem with the profile. So I was a bit surprised at his struggles in St. Lucie last year.

The swing still looks good to me, and the results are starting to match. Reynolds uses a short leg lift for timing, but otherwise the swing is quiet and direct to the ball. He's strong for his size, but Reynolds isn't going to produce much loft or pop from his rather flat swing plane, it's strictly a gap power profile. I'd like to see him against better velocity in the future, as he swung through a few 90 mph fastballs in this look. Overall, he reminds me of a stronger Wilfredo Tovar in the box.

Unfortunately, the Tovar comparisons end there, because in the field Reynolds' physical tools are light for shortstop. Now the Mets player development team seems to have their own ideas about what constitute up-the-middle tools in general, but Reynolds, a college third baseman, still looks very awkward at the position. The arm has looked okay in the past, but came up short on two throws from moderately deep in the hole. Those should be shoulder high with even an average arm for the position, Reynolds bounced both. The arm looked better during infield drills, but still fringy for an everyday shortstop. He's also plays himself into harder throws than necessary. Runs around balls instead of playing them to the backhand, stabs at balls instead of getting in front of them. Just not quite athletic enough to make all the plays you need your shortstop to make. Profiles better at second base, but that will put more pressure on the bat.

The optimistic projection: Justin Turner with a little more on-base ability.

The pessimistic projection: Triple-A utility guy that bounces around for a decade or so.

What to look for during the rest of the 2014 season: He's probably not going to maintain that .462 BABIP, but for a guy without eye-popping physical tools, performance at this level matters more than others.

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