Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Zeringue . . . and even Carolina third baseman Lee Mitchell might have all stolen the show, but don’t forget about Mark Reynolds.
Gonzalez, Zeringue and Mitchell combined for five home runs in Double-A Mobile’s 10-9 win against the Mudcats on Monday, while Reynolds was technically an underachiever. The 23-year-old only went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles, but will ultimately play a role in whatever success the BayBears will have this season.
Playing all four infield spots will do that to a guy.
Reynolds played all over the infield both at high Class A Lancaster and Double-A Tennessee last season. That carried over to the Arizona Fall League, where he spent the majority of his time between second base and first.
Mobile manager Brett Butler is familiar with the Reynolds dilemma. When Reynolds landed in Lancaster last season, the Diamondbacks only told Butler to get him at-bats and move him around.
Before long, Reynolds became the JetHawks’ starting shortstop.
“They said he was a utility guy and he wound up being my starting shortstop,” Butler said. “But he’s played every infield position and he’s played left field. Personally, where does he fit in the mix if you’ve got somebody (in the big leagues) like an Orlando Hudson at second base and a (Stephen) Drew at short, (Alberto) Callaspo who’s there, (Conor) Jackson at first and (Chad) Tracy at third . . . what happens?”
Reynolds has played exclusively at third base this season, where he’s been more or less learning on the fly. The 2004 16th-round pick already has five errors that have been more the result of his throws than his glove or footwork.
“He’s playing third base for me because you never know,” Butler said. “You want to see if he can play there every day, but I don’t want to lock him into a position. He’s played second well, he’s played short well and he’s played an adequate left field.
“He’s got the tendency to get down on the ball instead of getting on top. But that’s just part of the repetition of working because he’s been in all four positions. So he’s got to get to the point where he’s on top when he makes those throws.”
But regardless of the position, it’s Reynolds’ bat that’s going to do the talking if he’s going to make it to the majors. A career .276 hitter, Reynolds has 62 homers and 71 doubles in three minor league seasons. He hit 23 homers and slugged .670 at Lancaster last year, and is currently hitting .302/.333/.558 with a pair of homers in 43 at-bats for the BayBears.
“The bat’s the key,” Butler said. “To me, this is a kid who’s going to hit 30-plus (homers) in the big leagues and his bat’s going to get him there. He’s got that unbelievable power that goes to all fields at any time.
“He hit one ball over the wall to dead-center in Lancaster last year–which I’d only seen done twice. He’s the real deal, but he’s got to continue to push himself defensively.”
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