Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Like Budweiser, Mark Reynolds has Whiffability

Mark Reynolds will establish a new Orioles record in his first season in Baltimore. Unfortunately, it will be for strikeouts.

Reynolds, whom the Orioles acquired in a trade with Arizona on Monday in exchange for David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio, is an all-or-nothing swinger who makes Adam Dunn seem like a contact hitter. All of which should make former Orioles catcher Mickey Tettleton a happy man.

Tettleton holds the Orioles' single-season team record for strikeouts with 160 in 1990. In four major league seasons, Reynolds has averaged 191.75 strikeouts per season. And even that figure underestimates his whiffability as it includes his 129 strikeout total in only 111 games during his rookie season.

[A quick aside: Having never before used the term "whiffability," I Googled it to examine its usage and whether the word actually exists. Turns out it has non-baseball applications. From Life magazine: "Budweiser has whiffability ... a clean, fresh aroma you find only in Bud." I smell a sponsorship opportunity in your future, Mark Reynolds.]

Other former Orioles who may be excited about the Reynolds acquisition are Don Buford, team record holder for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game (5 on Aug. 26, 1971), and Sam Horn, team record holder for most strikeouts in an extra-inning game (6 on July 17, 1991).

For information on Reynolds' positive value to the team (and there definitely is some), check out this ESPN piece on his "contact to damage" ratio.

A record-setting pattern

Should Reynolds indeed establish a team record during his first couple of seasons in Baltimore - for strikeouts or otherwise - he will be following a pattern established by other sluggers the O's have acquired in recent history. Specifically, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, and Miguel Tejada.

The Birds signed Palmeiro prior to the 1994 season; by 1996 he held the team record for most RBI by a left-handed batter with 142.

The Birds signed Albert Belle prior to the 1999 season; by 2000 he held the team record for most RBI in a month with 37 in June 2000.

The Birds signed Tejada prior to the 2004 season; by the end of the year he held the team record for most RBI by a right-handed batter with 150. Two years later he set the team record for hits in a season with 214.

Welcome to Baltimore, Mark Reynolds. Here's hoping you make the Orioles brass look like Real Men of Genius.

"So here's to you, Mr. Whiffability."

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