#17 – Matt Reynolds
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 198 lbs
Acquired: 2nd rd ’12 (Arkansas)
Born: 12/3/90 (Tulsa, OK)
2012 Rank: N/A | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Matt Reynolds is a nice baseball player and a very good, if not explosive athlete. However, I thought the Mets’ use of a second-round pick on Reynolds, who almost exclusively a third baseman in college at Arkansas, where he was an All-SEC defender, was a little odd. I did not see the bat to support a second-round pick exclusively as a third baseman. And sure enough, the Mets sent Reynolds to Savannah where he played shortstop, his natural position until his sophomore year at Arkansas.
Reynolds performed well enough at short, but I think he’s just a step slow to play there everyday in the big leagues. His hands work ok, and his arm is fine if unexceptional by the high standards of shortstop. There’s no reason he cannot play a solid second base.
At the plate, when he got to Savannah, Reynolds had a fairly pronounced leg kick that he used to put his weight on his back foot and help keep his swing short. The Mets worked on toning that kick down to make his swing simpler, and by this spring, the changes had taken hold.
I originally had Reynolds in the high 20s, but decided his upside as an everyday player who could move relatively quickly justified a top 15 slot. Specifically, he moves a spot ahead of Philip Evans because I like the way Reynolds moves his feet just a little bit better. I like his swing better too, everything’s just a little looser and easier. Reynolds will only start one level ahead of Evans, but I expect him to finish the year two ahead, in AA Binghamton. That relative proximity to the big leagues is worth a spot.
2012: After helping take Arkansas to the College World Series, Reynolds got off to slow start in Savannah, hitting .223/.299.298 in his first 25 games. He finished strong however, hitting .333/.412/.500 in 16 games in August before a lower back strain ended his season early.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A nice everyday second baseman.
Debbie Downer Says: Tweener everywhere. No better than Justin Turner.
Projected 2013 Start: Advanced-A St. Lucie
MLB Arrival: September 2014 if everything goes right for him, but 2015 is a safer bet
#18 – Philip Evans
Why Ranked Here: Evans moves up three spots because he looks like he has a chance to be a starting second baseman in the big leagues. I saw a little bit of him in Brooklyn and again in Spring Training 2013.
Lets start with the body. He’s listed at 5’10” which might be a shade tall. He clearly gets his gym time – he’s bigger through the chest and arms than any shortstop I can recall seeing in the minors. Evans told me that agility was a major point of emphasis in his off-season training. That’s good.
I did not see the footspeed in 2012 to play shortstop everyday in the big leagues. Moreover, a guy that thick already is not going to get much faster. When I saw him in Brooklyn, I did not see the true carry on his arm to make enough plays from the hole at short or even off-balance up the middle. I still did not see it in early in Spring Training in 2013. I think he will primarily be a second baseman by the time he reaches the big leagues.
At the plate, he’s short enough to the ball and can drive a ball well to left-center. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him hit a ball with any authority to true right field, only rightcenter.
2012: Evans held his own as a 19-year old in Brooklyn. His walk rate (9.4%) and his strikeout rate (14.6%) were solid, but he showed very little in-game power. That’s fine for a guy his age.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Starting 2B
Debbie Downer Says: Cups of coffee here and there, but no permanent MLB job
Projected 2013 Start: Savannah
MLB Arrival: Mid-late 2016