What to Expect From Jomar Reyes
The health of key players is absolutely crucial to the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system this year. That was discussed frequently in the offseason, but often in relation to the team’s pitching prospects, mainly prized hurlers Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. However, one player that could significantly boost his stock with better health is third baseman Jomar Reyes.
Reyes is currently manning the hot corner for the High-A Frederick Keys. Entering Friday’s action, the 19 year old has a .259/.349/.444 triple-slash line with two homers. Reading too much into the stats can be futile at this point, given that Reyes has accumulated a mere 63 plate appearances over 15 games.
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Throughout the next few weeks we will get a better sense of how Reyes is developing at the High-A level. For now, there a few key points that show why he is one of the Orioles’ best prospects and could be poised for a nice year.
Last year at Low-A Delmarva was one of mixed results for Reyes. While he held his own with a .278/.334/.440 line—earning an All-Star nod along the way—he was limited to 84 games by a series of injuries, including a sprained right thumb and concussion symptoms. During the post-season instructional league, Reyes suffered a broken left hamate bone, requiring surgery.
As he tries to get acclimated to a new level, there are a few factors to watch in regards to Reyes’ performance, specifically his power numbers. One will obviously be how he bounces back from the injuries, and his results going to back to spring training have been encouraging under those circumstances.
Another is Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, his new home ballpark. Reyes spent last year at Delmarva’s Arthur W. Purdue Stadium, which is in the somewhat hitter-friendly South Atlantic League, but is not a stadium that is necessarily conducive to good home run numbers.
Will Frederick be any better? General trends suggest that Reyes should have an easier time hitting the long ball. The Carolina League tends to play more neutral than its High-A counterparts—the pitcher oasis that is the Florida State League, and the hitter-friendly California League—but Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium has been a consistent home run haven, even though it tends to be more neutral in other areas.
Reyes also shows a judgement of the strike zone that is fairly advanced for his age, which should be to his advantage if he carries that trait over to High-A. He also has the ability to drive the ball the other way, potentially allowing for him to take advantage of Frederick’s right-centerfield power alley
If Reyes can capitalize on better health and come through with a big year, the question of how he fits into the Orioles’ plans becomes all the more intriguing. At 6’3” 220 lbs. Reyes fits the bill of a player who will outgrow third base, likely forcing a move across the diamond. At that point, the Orioles would be left with two of their top hitting prospects—Reyes and Trey Mancini—at first base.
That, combined with Chris Davis’ presence in the majors, creates a logjam in the system. Down the road, the Orioles may decide to flip one of those players in a trade, but time is on their side with Reyes, so any move is probably further down the road.
The tools are in place for Reyes to emerge as system’s power hitting prospects. He and the Orioles just have to hope that he will have better health this season
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, and Loyola University; Spedden has previously spent time in the Washington Nationals organization as a videographer for the Hagerstown Suns. As a blogger, Spedden is an Editor / Writer for the Suns fan club. Additionally, he contributes to The Nats Blog as a prospect writer, and Ballpark Digest. For BSL, Spedden covers the Orioles Minor Leagues.