Angels In the Outfield. A film based around a story about beings with other-worldly powers helping a baseball team reach a coveted title. By what he is accomplishing this season, including what he did this month, hitting .376/.398/.538, Grasshoppers’ outfielder/infielder Angel Reyes could be that story come to life.
Angel David Reyes was born on May 6, 1995 in Barcelona, Venezuela. His American baseball career began when he was inked by the Marlins as an 18-year-old in 2012 as an international signee. After two seasons in the Dominican Summer Leagues and one and a half in the Gulf Coast League in which he hit a collective .218/.305/.314, Reyes took his talents to short season Batavia as a 20-year-old. That’s where his coming out party began. For that year’s Muckdogs, Reyes averaged .265, got on base at a .311 clip and was second on the team in slugging at .470. Despite only playing in 25 games, he was also third on the team in triples and sixth on the squad in doubles and RBIs. That success followed him to his first year of full season ball this year. In the most extensive action he has seen in his career in a single season already, Reyes is playing some of the best ball of his career, currently placing third on the single A Grasshoppers in slugging (among those with at least 50 games played) at .402 (a figure which also ranks among the top 30 in the entire Sally league), third in OBP with a .339 mark and second in BA at .287. As for his countable stats, Reyes leads the Hoppers with 44 RBIs (a tote which also ranks among the top 25 in the Sally), is third in homers with five, and is tied for the lead in doubles with 19 (another top 30 total in the Sally). Though it has come at the expense of a 68-26 K/BB, Reyes has shown and continues to show the preliminary ability to become a serious threat as a pure power hitting first baseman.
Reyes is a sight to behold as he awaits pitches. Standing from a truly unique stance, he spreads his legs from the front of the box to the back and places all of his weight on his back leg and his front toe turned up and in. Upon engaging his swing, he transfers his weight to his front foot well by snapping quick hips through the zone. This year, vast improvements to his bat speed have been the biggest catalyst for his recent success and made anything on the inner half of the plate a pitch he can do something with. He has also shown strength beyond his size and a possible glimpse into the future by fighting off pitches on his hands and becoming a very hard guy to jam, a fantastic initial sign for the type of hitter he hopes to become. At just 21, there is definitely some more power left in him as he grows into his body which right now isn’t very striking (just 6’0″, 175). Should he bulk up and maintain the ability to disallow opposing pitchers to get in on his hands for easy outs, his pure pull hit power could make him an elite offensive threat. Areas in which Reyes needs to improve include in his hands. Far too often is he unable to maintain looseness in them leading to him committing to pitches too early, especially on the outer half due to immature plate vision. Pitchers who get ahead in the count early to him rarely have much problem as long as they hit spots on the outer half. With all of the raw talent he has, he need not try to do too much with pitches with his arms, yet just rely on his physically sound lower half to get the ball to the gaps and beyond. Along with how his body develops, much of the mystery surrounding how far Reyes can go also depends on how his mind gets on along with how he sorts out the few tweaks in his upper half including his arms (hard hands lead to his elbows flying open and his elbows winding up more horizontal than straight up and down) hands and eyes. Without much speed to speak of and being an average defensive play, it would seem that his future rides solely on what he will be able to produce at the dish. If he can work out the small kinks and get his mind right advantageously in high A, he has all of the potential to become a starting staple at first base and also has eligibility at the other corner and in the outfield, making him an easy play for his managers. I will be following him closely next year when he brings his talents to Jupiter in what would seem like a make or break season in terms of his prospect status and what exactly the Marlins have in him.