October 01, 2010
On the bright side, the Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman probably won't be setting baseball's all-time single-season strikeout record for a third straight year. He has 208 for the season and he'd need 16 more over three games to break the 223 he posted in 2009. That's a tall order, even for Reynolds.
On the other hand, it looks like Reynolds is destined to become the first player in major league history to have a higher season strikeout total than batting average.
To be a bit more accurate — as Baseball-Reference pointed out when it first wrote about this situation — Reynolds will technically be the first qualified position player with more strikeouts than his batting average multiplied by 1,000.
Either way, you get the picture. Not good.
It's true that Reynolds has a shot at avoiding the dubious distinction, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Reynolds is currently hitting .198 heading into the three-games series in Los Angeles. Assuming that he plays in only two of the three games — which might be a big assumption considering his injured thumb — Reynolds would have to go a perfect 7-for-7 against Dodgers pitching to raise his average to .210. The requirements would change if he played the entire series, but he'd more or less have to be perfect.
And while crazier things have happened in baseball, we stand a better shot of seeing the slumping Padres sneak back into a playoff spot with a sweep in San Francisco and a Philadelphia sweep over Atlanta. Reynolds has one 5-for-5 game in his four-year career, no 4-for-4 games and only one 3-for-3 game.
He also has struck out twice or more in a game on 234 occasions in his career, almost twice the number of games in which he did not strike out (118).
So in all likelihood, we're bound to see Reynolds atop the list of players who posted strikeout totals higher than average multiplied by 1,000. As you can see, it was a list that exclusively belonged to pitchers before Reynolds came swinging along:
Reynolds will also definitely add his name to the list of non-pitchers who posted strikeout totals greater than their average multiplied by 750.
(Note: I expanded this list to 15 so Rob Deer could get a little more pub.)
As we've written time and time again with Reynolds, the only reason he keeps setting these strikeout milestones is that he's able to contribute with his power and with his defensive skills at third. A lot of bad baseball players could have done this given the chance, but Reynolds has been one of the few to justify his lineup spot in spite of his K problem.
That said, Reynolds' strikeouts were a lot easier to take when he was posting an .892 OPS with 44 homers like he did in 2009. Those totals have fallen to .755 and 32 this season. He'll have to boost those numbers in 2011 for us to continue making excuses when looking at his strikeout factoids.