Franmil Reyes was easily the San Diego Padres’ best offensive player last season towards the end of the year. At 23, he has a very bright future in the league. Here are some positives, negatives, and an outlook for the Dominican’ slugger.
No other player burst into the 2018 season with as much fanfare as Franmil Reyes.
He was an instant fan favorite, as his smile and energy completely light up a room. He is an intense individual who also takes time for everyone that he meets. Franmil is 6-foot-5 and 270 lbs with arguably the best power bat in the whole Padres franchise. At 23, he has a very nice future.
There are plenty of things to like about Franmil, but he does have some weaknesses that need to be addressed. The man has a tremendous work ethic, and if you give him homework, he will take it to heart and improve in the area.
Let’s take a look at his PNO (positive/negative/outlook).
If you are lucky enough to meet this big man, the first thing you will notice (besides his size) is that he is an endearing soul. He has an excellent outlook on life and is very approachable. The media picked up on that trait in 2017 and his teammates surely did as well. Franmil Reyes is a communicator. He is a pleasure to speak to, and in a long season, it is nice to have teammates who are a joy to be around. He certainly lightens up the locker room.
It goes beyond his friendliness, as Reyes has the right attitude each and every day. He tries to get better at his craft and is always looking to find an extra edge. He wants to get better and will never settle. He has all the intangibles of a player who can be really special. In order to be at the upper echelon of the players in the league, you need to have far more than talent. Reyes has a Hall of Fame-like drive to improve and is also blessed with a ton of ability.
He has arguably the best power bat in the whole system. Reyes is blessed with tremendous bat speed and gets the most out of it while implementing his size into his swing. He had some of the highest exit velocities last season off the bat in the whole league. He hurts baseballs and crushes mistakes out over the plate to all fields.
In a full season of at-bats, Reyes should be a lock for 30 home runs. The fact he uses right field so effectively with his swing means that he rarely gets off-balance in the box. Reyes has light tower power, but will still shorten up with two strikes and put the ball in play. He is a joy to watch in batting practice as he continually powers baseballs over the fence.
He makes remarkable adjustments at the plate for a big man. In speaking to him, you get a sense that he wants to hit .300 and be more than just a power hitter. He is making adjustments with his swing that you see from veterans, not 23-year-old rookies. Franmil is unafraid to ask for help and will often ask his teammates to help him with adjustments. Luis Urias is known to have helped him from time to time in the past.
With two strikes on him, he is not an easy out. Franmil does strike out a lot. He has a big zone that can be exposed by major league pitching, but he gives more quality at-bats than poor ones. In time, he should cut down the K’s and become a more complete player. The adjustment factor alone leads me to believe he should have a long major league career.
He has a plus arm and moves really well for his size, but defense is definitely his major concern moving forward. Reyes can get bad reads from time to time and just does not have the quickness to make up for bad first jumps on the ball. He is a hard worker and could very well improve in this area in time, but does struggle badly presently.
He needs practice time on defense, and this will only come if he puts in the extra effort. The fact he has a plus arm is a positive, but he can sometimes fail to get his body in the correct position to make a solid throw. Franmil is well aware of his defensive issue and surely hates losing at-bats late in games to it. He should get better, but until then he is a defensive liability.
Too Much Swag?
Is it possible for a player to be too cocky? Or is it possible for a player to start to build into their image too much? Franmil is a down to earth soul, but is also very happy to tell you what a beast he is at the game of baseball. There is a fine line between having confidence and being too cocky in the game of baseball. La Mole can walk this fine line from time to time.
You need to factor that Franmil is 23 and put in a lot of hard work to get to where he is. He was drafted at 16 and spent nearly eight years in the minor leagues. He is surely entitled to be a little brash about the fact he has enjoyed success at an early age. This is nothing to be too concerned about as he should really mature in his second year in the majors.
He is not blessed with speed and will never be a threat to steal bases. He does move well for being 6-foot-5 and 270 lbs, but it just takes a lot of momentum to get his frame going. Speed is not a skill for him at this point.
Some feel Franmil is too heavy and could stand to lose a pound or two. He has great size, but is not a chiseled specimen by any means. Franmil has a bear-like strength and will probably never be categorized as a lean, athletic ballplayer. As long as he takes good swings and continues to adjust, his size should not be an issue.
How can you not be excited about the future of this young man? I know that the defense is an issue, and so does he. He hates being pulled late in games for a defensive replacement and will surely attempt to end that by being a productive outfielder. Andy Green and I talked about Reyes in one of our last interactions this past season. I mentioned to Green that he should challenge Reyes to get better in the outfield and sit back and watch what happens. Hopefully, the team shows patience and allows him to get better in that area.
The power bat and the fact he makes veteran-like adjustments at the plate is encouraging for his future. Franmil Reyes should be a middle-of-the-order threat for this team for a long time. His genuine smile and dangerous swing make him the type of player you build a team around. At 23, there is no reason for the Padres to consider giving up on Reyes, who has shown great intangibles in the game of baseball. 2019 could be a season where Franmil becomes a national name, and at the perfect time for a Padres team searching for an identity.