Mark Reynolds' Career Revival Flatlining Quickly For Cleveland Indians

By Thom Tsang
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For a good month-plus of the 2013 MLB season, Mark Reynolds look nothing like himself — and the Cleveland Indians could not be any more pleased.

Riding a .309 BABIP despite a rather meager 15.9 percent line drive rate, the corner infielder had established himself as on one of the league’s best comeback stories, bouncing back from his below-replacement level performance in 2012 (-0.1 fWAR) with a brilliant .301/.368/.651 triple-slash through his first 95 PA, hitting eight homers in the process.

By the time he’d carried that elite 1.000-plus OPS into May with three more homers through the month’s first eight games, it’d look like the Indians got themselves a too-good-to-be true bargain at just $6 million.

Well, that is, until it actually turned out to be too good to be true.

As you’re probably able to tell from Reynolds’ current .239/.322/.459 triple-slash line, baseball hasn’t exactly been kind to the veteran since he topped out. With his BABIP coming back down to earth to .270 and with him hitting fewer fly balls (39.7 percent in May vs. 46 in April), the 29-year-old batted just .218 over the second month of the season.

More importantly, however, is that his power has diminished significantly (which was always going to happen at long as he slugged .651 at one point, I suppose), hitting just a pair of homers and one double since May 9.

Including his latest 0-for-3 performance on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, Reynolds has found himself in a nine-game homerless drought, the second-longest stretch he’s had of this type for the season. That’s not looking like it’s going to turn around any time soon, as his BABIP has plummeted thanks to a weak 15.4 percent line drive rate and a 61.5 ground ball rate.

Not only that, but he’s practically swinging himself into oblivion in June, recording multiple strikeouts in five out of seven games, good for a whopping 42.9 percent strikeout rate to go along with his .120/.214/.120 line for the month thus far.

In other words, Mark Reynolds is his good ol’ three-outcome self again. Except, well, that’s not very good news for the suddenly struggling Indians offense at all.

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