Last year, the Padres didn’t appear to have high expectations for Franmil Reyes, and left him off the 40-man roster.
Obviously, other teams shared the opinion, leaving him unclaimed in the Rule 5 draft. Hamote bone surgery might have scared some teams off as the outfielder underwent surgery in November after appearing in only a few AFL games.
Thanks to Wil Myers’ third stint on the disabled list this year and an injury to fellow outfielder Hunter Renfroe, the Padres called Reyes up for the first time in May. Signed as a free agent to minor league contract in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic, he’s making the most of his opportunity.
Reyes, who stands 6-5 and weighs 275 pounds, ranks right up there as one of the largest humans in the game.
In fact, most of the tallest players tend to be pitchers, like former Padres starter Chris Young (6-10). At 6-11 and 290 lb., pitcher Jon Rauch is the tallest player in MLB history. That makes sense as larger position players often have more difficulty covering the field. So how does Reyes compare to some of the other tall position players?
In 127 plate appearances, Reyes has batted .269/.315/.538 with a dWAR of 0.0 and OPS+ of 117. Obviously the 22-year-old has prodigious power resulting in nine home runs, but he also has improved his discipline at the plate over the course of the season. Two current players, Aaron Judge (who hit 52 home runs 2017) and Giancarlo Stanton, teammates with the Yankees, rival Reyes in size.
To get a clearer picture of the performance of the giants among other large men currently, and in years past, let’s look at batting average, dWAR (on my assumption that defense will not be a strength), and OPS+.
Aaron Judge 6-7 282 lb. .276/.401/.574 dWAR 0.9 OPS+ 156
Giancarlo Stanton 6-6 245 lb. .279/.343/.517 dWAR -0.3 OPS+ 144
Dave Winfield 6-6 220 lb. .283/.353/.475 dWAR -22.7 OPS+ 130
Frank Howard 6-7 255 lb. .255/.273/.352 dWAR -24.0 OPS+ 142
Corey Hart 6-6 240 lb. .222/.246/.352 dWAR -5.5 OPS+ 112
Tony Clark 6-8 205 lb. .262/.339/.485 dWAR -8.4 OPS+ 112
Richie Sexson 6-7 205 lb. .261/.344/.507 dWAR -11.8 OPS+ 120
Darryl Strawberry 6-6 190 lb. .259/.357/.505 dWAR -0.2 OPS+ 138
Walt Bond 6-7 228 lb. .256/.323/.410 dWAR-4.6 OPS+ 109
Howie Schultz 6-6 200 lb. .241/.281/.349 dWAR -2.1 OPS+ 75
Adam Dunn 6-6 285 lb. .237/.364/.490 dWAR-28.9 OPS+ 124
Dave Kingman 6-6 210 lb. .236/.302/.478 dWAR -16.7 OPS+ 115
John Mayberry Jr. 6-6 235 lb. .235/.299/.421 dWAR -3.3 OPS+ 95
Obviously, every single one except for Judge could be considered a defensive liability. However, most made up for it by hitting the ball really hard and really far. Winfield, who spent his first eight years in San Diego, has a plaque in the Hall of Fame, and many others, like Howard, parlayed prodigious power into long major league careers.
Reyes will never be able to cover right field well (especially in the big parks in the division), but in the launch angle/exit velocity era, power plays. In Tuesday night’s game, Reyes went 3-for-3 and hit a two-run double to help the Padres beat the Brewers 11-5. In close games, manager Andy Green has removed Reyes for superior defender Travis Jankowski in the late innings. The Padres might as well ride this big wave as long as it lasts.