By just about any measurement or stat you could quote, Mark Reynolds has not had a good year fielding at third base.
But it sure seems that Reynolds’ defense at the hot corner has improved in recent weeks and he has made just one error in his last 31 games since July 4.
That includes four games Reynolds recently played at first base.
Reynolds still leads all AL third baseman with 21 errors and the next highest total is 16 by Minnesota’s Danny Valencia.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter feels Reynolds has made some solid strides with the glove at third in recent weeks.
“We have a great angle here, you can really get a feel for range with the infielders. A guy like (White Sox shortstop Alexei) Ramirez might have as much range as anyone in baseball. He gets to balls and makes it look easy. One of the line drives Mark caught last night, that was as good as I’ve seen him off the mark all year, no pun intended,” Showalter said.
“I’m not making excuses, I guess I am, but sometimes we underestimate hitters, new hitters, new ballparks, everything. Now that we’ve jinxed him for tonight. You know, Mark, he’s in a good place physically right now.”
Reynolds’ 21 errors have come in 237 total chances at third. By comparison, Adrian Beltre of Texas has made 11 errors in 277 chances, Alberto Callaspo of the Angels 11 in 263 chances and Kevin Youkilis of Boston has made seven errors in 236 chances.
I realize quoting an error total is a very small part of the defensive picture and that I probably just drove all sabermetric fans nuts by doing so.
But, going by the old-fashioned eyeball test (sure also to drive some fans nuts), you know, just watching the games, Reynolds has clearly stepped up his game with the glove at third.