The Best Is Yet to Come From Franmil Reyes

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Credit: KTSM/El Paso

I know we constantly talk about how crowded the Padres’ current outfield situation is. With Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, Franchy Cordero, Jose Pirela, and Hunter Renfroe all vying for playing time, there certainly is no room for another player to get a look. Or is there?

Slugging outfielder Franmil Reyes is certainly worth noting as he continues to show improved efforts all across the board in Triple-A El Paso. He spent time in the Padres’ clubhouse during the early spring and was very impressive. Manager Andy Green even told me that he was delighted with what he saw in the big man. The numbers crunch, and the fact he never played above Double-A at that point, dictated that he return to minor league camp, but all who witnessed his abilities were left impressed.

At 22 (almost 23), Franmil Reyes has youth on his side and he hasn’t slowed down at the Triple-A level after smashing 25 homers last year in San Antonio. As of Saturday, he owns a .311/.400/.680 batting line with 11 homers and 30 RBI. He has struck out 26 times in 103 at bats, but has walked 14 times. He will strike out, but the patience to take a walk will give him a legit shot at major league service time.

In this past off-season, Reyes was left off the Padres’ 40-man roster and subject to the Rule-5 Draft. That clearly motivated him, and I was shocked that nobody claimed the young outfielder. He was coming off wrist surgery (hammate bone), but all indications were that he was recuperating fine. He told me in the Padres’ clubhouse (in the spring) that he was mad at first about being left off the roster. He used that to really focus even more on improving his game. Not that he needed any more motivation. He is a self-motivated father of three who knows about responsibility and takes his job as a professional baseball player very seriously.

It is this constant effort to improve that displays he will get better. Critics immediately point to his size in the outfield and his defensive abilities. He is a big man. There is no way to debate that. But he has some athleticism and a decent arm. Franmil might never be a perennial Gold Glove candidate, but there is no reason he cannot be serviceable at Petco Park. If developing in the outfield is what will help get him to the majors, he will get the job done. That will not be an issue.

His glove is not what excites you though. It is the sound off his bat. That kind of noise cannot be taught and no matter where he plays, his power plays at any ballpark.

Here is some video of his pure power, as Franmil has gone on a home run streak in recent days.

On Thursday night in El Paso, Reyes smashed two home runs for the second consecutive day. All four home runs went out to right field and all four were not cheap home runs. He has ridiculous power to all fields, which is rare for a right handed hitter with his size.

Reyes followed that up with two more home runs in Albuquerque on Friday. Here is the second of the two in which he demolished a ball into straight-away center field for well over 440 feet. He has hit nine of his 11 home runs this season to right, which is incredible.

The Padres are certainly not looking for outfielders, but Franmil is making a huge statement. If he stays in Triple-A all year long, you are probably looking at 35-plus homers and well over 100 RBI from him in 2018. With numbers like that, Franmil Reyes will take his place on the Padres’ top-30 prospect list at some point, a list in which he is amazingly not a part of just yet. That speaks volumes to the amount of talent within this Padres’ system.

There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a time for Franmil Reyes to play everyday at the major league level. He has some issues with his path to the ball in his swing, but he recognizes his deficiencies and is making adjustments daily. Allowing the ball to travel like he has early this season will open up the middle and inner part of the plate as pitchers attempt to pound him inside. The six-foot-five Reyes will crush inside fastballs, leading to a major issue for opposing pitchers. Advanced amendments to his swing scream out that this young man could be a decent hitter when it is all said and done. And changes like this tell me that we are barely seeing the potential of Franmil Reyes.

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