clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mark Reynolds is going to the Rockies and it's time to dream

Let there be dingers!

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Reynolds does two things, and two things only. He strikes out, and he hits dingers. Reynolds is a career .230/.315/.452 hitter with 237 homers and a hilarious 1519 strikeouts under his belt. He once struck out 223 times in a single season. He may also be blind.

Reynolds is signing with the Colorado Rockiesaccording to Nick Groke, and that's all kind of fun. For the uninitiated, Coors Field — the home of the Rockies — is located roughly at cruising altitude for some planes. The air is thin and the balls fly all the way over the wall, way out there beyond the outfield. Coors Field is a home run-hitter's heaven. It's a cult compound full of people who worship at the altar of the dinger. They even named the mascot Dinger, the foul creature that he is.

So therefore it makes sense to thrust Reynolds into Colorado as a platoon partner for incumbent first baseman Ben Paulsen. Paulsen is left-handed and got absolutely eviscerated (36 wRC+) by same-handed pitching this season. Reynolds carried a 115 wRC+ against lefties, so the Rockies should have a fairly cromulent first-base situation come Opening Day.

That's all well and good. We can ballyhoo the Rockies all day and night for discovering a solution to first base in the wake of Justin Morneau's departure. It doesn't change the fact that the Rockies are still quite bad. There's a non-zero chance that Carlos Gonzalez will wear a different cap to spring training. The best thing you can say about their starting rotation is that Kyle Kendrick is no longer a part of it. And they still have a pantsless dinosaur as a mascot. The Rockies are Bad, and their front office is Bad. Nolan Arenado is really good! Really, really good! But that's about it.

That's a lie. A filthy lie. There is one other good thing about the Rockies besides Arenado: dingers.

Lots of dingers.

Look at 'em go! Dingers that handily clear the center field wall that sits 415 feet from home plate. This is the magic of Coors Field. This is what Mark Reynolds is being airdropped into, bat in hand.

As the right-handed side of a platoon, Reynolds won't see the lion's share of the playing time. This is because most pitchers are right-handed, and therefore Paulsen will be tasked with doing bad things to them — unless the Colorado injury fairy pays him a visit, in which case it'll be Reynolds who is deployed.

Just how many home runs could Reynolds hit at Coors Field? The possibilities conjure up all kinds of flights of fancy. His 432 plate appearances in St. Louis this season resulted in 13 homers, yet Reynolds was playing half of his games in his spacious home ballpark. Roughly the same number of plate appearances in 2014 at hitter-friendly Milwaukee yielded 22 homers. We're onto something here.

ESPN's park factors claim that Coors Field was the fifth-most homer friendly ballpark in the game. Ahead of it were (in ascending order) Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, Camden Yards and Miller Park. All four of those stadiums are exceedingly tiny. Coors Field is actually somewhat expansive, but the altitude lets the ball fly freely. It's a little shocking to not see Coors at the top of the list, but the logic checks out. Coors was, however, the most overall run-friendly field in the game.

Now let's put our bearded bopper at home plate. How many homers is he going to hit? Steamer projects 16 homers in 399 plate appearances, but that's without factoring in Coors. 20 isn't out of the question. 25 isn't either, if Reynolds sees more playing time than originally anticipated.

Perhaps a better question would focus on his pure slugging potential. The reason that Coors is first in overall run scoring but fourth in homers is the aforementioned spacious outfield. 415 feet to dead center is nothing to sneeze at. However, that leaves quite a bit of room for doubles in the gaps. What doesn't go over the fence could quite easily bang off the wall or bypass an outfielder and leave a hitter standing at second or third base.

Steamer projects a .406 slugging percentage for Reynolds in 2016. Coors should bump that up by at least 10 or 15 points. The Rockies got themselves a fantastic cheap option that fits their stadium and budget. Colorado won't be good this year, or likely next year. Reynolds is there to fill a spot and hit the dingers, and maybe be flipped at the trade deadline for a middling prospect or two. The stadium will inflate his power numbers, and some team will buy in and hope that it's not just the dizzying effects of playing baseball a mile in the air. This is the perfect man for the perfect stadium. It will be but a fleeting moment in baseball history, but for a few sacred months, the baseball gods have deigned to place Mark Reynolds in dingerland. We are not worthy, oh great ones. Yet we shall accept this gift with open arms, wide eyes and yearning highlight reels.

Let there be dingers.


Nicolas Stellini is a featured writer at Beyond the Box Score. He also covers the Yankees at BP Bronx. You can follow him on Twitter at @StelliniTweets.