Statcast Darling Franmil Reyes Has Padres Smiling

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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The 2018 season was a breakout campaign for San Diego Padres’ outfielder Franmil Reyes. He was at or near the top in most Statcast numbers, and that is impressive for a player who is only 23. Let’s take a further look at the Padres slugger.

Nobody really expected Franmil Reyes to make any kind of impact on the Padres’ major league team during the 2018 season.

Yet here we are looking back on his surprising performance in the big leagues, and it’s clear that he was one of the best hitters on the team last season.

Reyes simply displayed a knack for hitting the baseball with remarkable force in 2018, which makes his breakout seem like it isn’t a fluke. It’s not like he was getting lucky on his batted balls, as Statcast clearly indicates that he hit the ball harder than the vast majority of major leaguers last season.

If Franmil Reyes continues to hit the way he did last year, he’ll be a very legitimate middle of the order hitter. We aren’t assuming that he will continue to do so, but his batted ball profile from 2018 has presented us with a compelling case to consider.

Do you know how many hitters with at least 150 batted balls, hit the ball with an average exit velocity of 92 mph or higher?

Only 18 hitters managed to do so in 2018. La Mole ranked 14th among those 18 hitters, with an average exit velocity of 92.3 mph.

Here’s the bulk of his batted ball data relevant to our investigation of his 2018 performance:

Average Exit Velocity Flyball / Groundball Exit Velocity
Percentage of Batted Balls Hit 95+ mph
92.3 mph (14th Among Major Leaguers) 96.4 mph (22nd Among Major Leaguers) 47.5% (21st Among Major Leaguers)

The data above tells us all we need to know, regarding Reyes’ ability to pummel the baseball in the batter’s box. He’s among baseball’s best in doing so, which is encouraging for his future chances of repeating the success he had throughout the 2018 campaign. However, we also need to evaluate where his batted balls went, to further evaluate hitting capabilities. Let’s take a look at a chart illustrating the batted ball locations of all Reyes’ base hits in 2018:

He did a good job of spraying his hits to all fields, including his extra-base hits and home runs. As the chart also shows us, nearly all of Reyes’ hits were fairly deep in the outfield, which provides further evidence of his power. His home runs were hit at an average distance of 404 feet, which ranked best among players on the Padres. Reyes’  base hits went an average of 218 feet, which is pretty deep.

He did this while having an average launch angle of 6.8 degrees on batted balls, which ranked 39th-lowest among qualified hitters. In order for him to be so successful as a hitter on batted balls hit at a much lower launch angle than average, he had to be hitting the ball with great exit velocity. As the data earlier indicates, he definitely did just that. Additionally, he was also the author of the major leagues’ fifth-furthest home run hit by players with at least 150 batted balls.

Take a look at this home run that Reyes hit 477 feet:

Animated GIF

Taking a look at how Reyes hit that pitch, it’s clear he was just reaching out to try and make contact with it. He’s off balance as he makes contact with the pitch. Yet his power is so prodigious, that he ended up hitting the longest home run at Wrigley Field in 2018 anyways.

Now that’s all great and fun to talk about with regard to Reyes’ Statcast profile, but he certainly has some flaws, too.

For one, Reyes struck out in 28.1% of his plate appearances in 2018. He doesn’t play very good defense and certainly was not very impressive in right field. He’ll probably never be a very good defender, and this will always hold him back from being a true all-around player. Were it not for his subpar defense in 2018, Reyes could have been worth significantly more to the Padres. If he improves his defense going into next year, he could be a building block for the team moving forward.

Largely though, Reyes has such a strong batted ball profile that his weaknesses are excusable. On average, his base hits were struck at 98.7 mph. Across the league as a whole, balls hit at 98 mph went for hits 43.4% of the time, which bodes well for Reyes’ ability to repeat past success on batted balls. The Statcast data on his hitting is highly impressive and offers us information about just how unique Reyes’ production was, during the 2018 season. When we see a player hit the ball nearly as hard as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, we should certainly take note of him. The new data Statcast has begun to offer, allows us to be markedly more confident in Reyes’ ability to continue mashing major league pitching in 2019. Considering the lack of impact bats in the Padres’ lineup, the team should hold onto him as opposed to trading him. After all, Reyes was probably the best hitter on the team during the 87 games in which he played.

8 thoughts on “Statcast Darling Franmil Reyes Has Padres Smiling

  1. Just some observations: Over May-July, Franmil’s bb% was 6.3%, while his k% was 37.8%.

    In August, bb% rose to 9.7% and k% rate improved to 23.6%.
    In September, bb% slightly improved to 9.7%, while k% dropped by 3 percentage points to 20.6%.

    If the bb% can be maintained and the k% be stable at or become less than 20%,
    Franmil is going to be force to be reckoned with. May have a little regression as the league catches up with him, but these adjustments show he’s capable of further growth.

  2. I can appreciate your perspective. For me, I would like to know if the DH will be in both leagues in the next few years. For Reyes, it matters to me. I also don’t know his defensive ceiling. Is he at it? Is he less than halfway there? Unlike some, I am okay with San Diego having not been the standard-bearer this off-season so far on total moves. Preller and Co. are in an enviable but difficult position.

    I don’t see him as an everyday player in the NL currently on a championship caliber team, but he’s a buy low stud for me if I am in the AL. UNLESS the two elements I named above make him a keeper, I would risk losing his offense to get a quality return.

    Again, not knowing enough about the players, on the surface, I would be thrilled to send say Reyes, Margot, and Yates to Cleveland for Kluber. It seems to be a good deal for both teams. Cleveland gets 3 pieces that immedately improve their squad’s 2 weakest points at literally no cost while shedding salary. San Diego gets 3 years of Kluber if I remember correctly (if only two, I would redo this), and all 3 pieces are from areas of strength that can be “replaced”. He’s probably going to decline during those years somewhat, but this is better – to me – than sending several elite-caliber prospects en masse for Syndergaard although if they add Harper, I would go for both. Lol. I would probably offer Hedges and two non-elite tier and a mid-tier prospect for Noah. Maybe Hedges, Quantril, Naylor, and Hansel Rodriguez…? I would sign Grandal immediately. Lol. The Padres would add: Kluber, Syndergaard, and Grandal (and Harper…) for: Reyes, Margot, Yates, and Hedges from the big club and Quantril, Naylor, and Rodriguez from the farm. Grab maybe Kelvin Herrera, Jeanmar Gomez, Blake Parker, and Hector Santiago for the bullpen to mix with (I hope) Andres Munoz and Brad Wieck as reinforcements for one of baseball’s best pens in 2018.

    C = Grandal/Mejia/?
    1B = Hosmer/?
    2B = Urias/Kinsler
    SS = ?/Tatis Jr.?
    3B = ?/ Tatis Jr.?/Mejia
    OF= Myers/Cordero/Harper with Jankowski, Renfroe, and Mejia
    SP = Kluber, Syndergaard, Lucchesi, Lauer/Paddack/Allen/Strahm/Perdomo/Lamet/Richards as well as buy-low FA candidates like Santana/Miller/Bucholtz, etc.
    RP = Munoz (I hope) at back end with Stammen, Strahm, Wingenter, Castillo, Stock and the cast listed earlier.

    If money is no object, I would sign Marwin. Otherwise, I would try to trade Myers in some arrangement for a left-hand hitting third-basemen (Seager?Devers?) or shortstop (other Seager? Crawford?).

    Go ‘head. Call me crazy train.

    1. So Kluber is 1 yr and 2 option years at 17M, 18M and 18.5M. Tack on 4M to 2019 with an escalator already achieved. On the options they both have escalators too that could be as much as 4M each year. 65.5M

      Grandal just turned down the Mets for 4yr 60M so assuming he could be had it will be at least that plus the lose of a pick.

      Kyle Seager v Wil Myers makes zero sense. Wil is 4 yrs younger and their isn’t one number Kyle has over Wil. Kyle wasn’t even league average offensively and is trending the wrong way. If you get the 2016/17 Wil for a complete season, the gap widens. But with that said even if you can justify the move this would add 13.5M to 2019.

      According to Roster resource the Pads 2019 payroll is currently at 85M. Add 21M for Kluber, 6.5M for arb 1 of Noah, an estimated 17M for Grandal and net 13M for Seager while minus Wil Myers. That’s now at 142M for 2019.

      On the trade side there is no way you get Kluber for your package. Jason Martinez on MLBTR is a Padres fan and said it would start with two top pitching prospects, plus one of Margot OR Renfroe, a ML reliever, and another prospect. Margot would be a position of need but isn’t better than what they have currently. The second piece would need to be Renfroe and not Reyes cause they already have Santana for the DH. You have the bullpen piece. Now you just need to add pitching. A realistic package would be Baez, Espinoza, Renfroe, Yates, Hedges

      Syndergaard in all likelihood will cost as much or more than Kluber. 7 years younger and quite a bit cheaper ( first arb year). So that package isn’t gona fly either. They don’t need a catcher unless it’s JTR so Hedges is out. This package could be built around Wil Myers, Arias OR Ruiz, and pitching. You aren’t getting out without yielding one of Gore, Morejon, Paddack, Allen and to me the one that would hurt the least would be Gore. Allen and Paddack will make starts for the Pads in 19 and need to stay. Morejon was given the largest signing bonus ever with penalty. Gore might have the most upside but is clear 3yrs away. Including Gore will also allow you to have the second arm be on the next tier down. Quantrill, Strahm, Nix type.

      Thor package could realistically be:

      Myers, Arias, Gore, Quantrill, Stammen, Diaz
      Naylor, Arias, Gore, Nix, Strahm, Stammen

      Personally I don’t see depleting the farm depth for two pitchers that will be gone by 2022 and likely one realistic shot at a WC spot during that time. Kluber while really good is declining. Noah’s health has always been an issue. Me personally, think they should wait a year and go all in for Garrett Cole and keep the prospects. Too many other pieces need to fall into place before a TOR starter.

  3. thanks for the great article Conrad. The statistics support what I saw at Petco last season.
    This is a Padre we need to keep

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