Once considered a top organizational prospect, Frederick Keys’ (Class-A High) third baseman Jomar Reyes needs to produce in 2018. He is facing a crowded field of third base candidates as well doubts about his ability to move up the system.
As of Thursday’s games, Reyes is slashing .243/ .262/ .313 with 35 hits and 23 RBI in 35 games. He has 1 homerun among his 8 extra-base hits and is simply not driving the ball as his 2.6 ground ball to fly ball ratio illustrates. Reyes has struck out 26 times on the season and has only walked 5 times; the early numbers for him are average at best.
The 2018 season is the third that Reyes has spent in Frederick and he simply must improve his numbers if he expects to move up to Bowie (Class-AA). Reyes’ first year in Frederick, 2016, saw him slash .228/ .271/ .336 with 51 RBI. Last year Reyes had an injury-shortened season in which he slashed .302/ .333/ .434 with 21 RBI in just 50 games. It was last year’s injury that has possibly raised questions about Reyes’ ability to move up; he broke his hand after he punched a wall (after a game that he got 2 hits and 2 RBI).
Reyes has several other third basemen ahead of him in the system: Drew Dosch and Renato Nuñez in Norfolk (Class-AAA) and Ryan Mountcastle, Anderson Feliz and the suspended Steve Wilkerson at Bowie. Additionally, he has Trevor Craport in Delmarva (Class-A Low) nipping at his heels from below. It is now a numbers game, Reyes needs to improve this year in order to stand out among this group of corner infielders.
Despite being listed as the Baltimore Orioles’ #19 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Reyes has fallen off of Baby Birdland’s Top 15 list. No one has ever doubted the potential that Reyes possesses. The frustration comes with the lack of him fulfilling that potential.
The 2018 season is Reyes’ fifth in the organization and he may be running out of time to develop into the player the Orioles expected when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. He does have youth on his side however, as he is just 21 years old.
Reyes has the raw power as well as an above-average arm. He needs to simply put those attributes on display. This season could prove to be a pivotal one for his career; time will tell. I for one, hope to see him do it.
** To read more from Josh Michael (founder/editor Baby Birdland), Nick Stevens and myself about all levels of the Baltimore Orioles minor leagues please visit Baby Birdland **