And that was an overstatement. However, it's safe to say that our friend Mark has been generating some heated discussions as of late. The question is why? Is it because his defense sucks? That's understandable, but not once did I recall being told that Brooks Robinson would be manning the bag over there at third. In fact, I never recall being told that an average defensive player would be manning the bag over there at third. I'm not going to try and defend that defense because damn, that shit is indefensible sometimes (though he does have 6 Web Gems to his name this year...). He seems to get by on freaky athleticism alone which is fine by me as long as he does what we pay him to do.
That of course, would be hitting home runs. When the season started, I was skeptical. He wasn't hitting his stride, but the school of SSS kept me grounded. My patience has gradually been rewarded as he now leads the team (insert standard "Orioles lack power" joke here) in home runs. As you all know, he stands right now at 13, but with the way he's been hitting in June, would it totally shock anyone here if he bumped that number up to 20-25 by the All-Star break? A Reynolds hot streak is nothing to spit at, when he's on, he's a total gamer.
Home runs aren't enough huh? How about OBP or just the propensity to take a walk in general? He leads the team with 41. That's almost good for top ten in the entire MLB. The closest challenger for Reynolds' team leading 41 is Nick Markakis with, wait for it, 21. Among regulars, that is, players who haven't missed significant stretches due to injury (meaning Hardy) and players who have been consistently starting games, (meaning not Reimold) Reynolds has the highest OBP on the team which obviously means he's been getting on base more than any other Oriole in 2011.
For the nay-sayers who point to batting average, hits and K's, I say outdated, outdated, and outdated. Take a look at his OPS+ which is sitting nicely at 116, or above David Wright, Adrian Beltre, and certainly Adam Dunn, whose non-signing caused a stir.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm a fan of Mark Reynolds. To a casual observer and to a die-hard statistical analyzer, he can seem like a massive waste of money, but I like to just take him as he is; a power-hitting third baseman with the tendency to strike out (although those K rates are at an all-time low this year) with a crummy glove who (edit: fixed!) also has a great batters eye and has enough athleticism to make some really sweet plays at third every once in awhile. What else were you expecting?