Twenty games under .500 and already well out of postseason contention, the Chicago Cubs had nothing to lose picking up Franmil Reyes earlier this month. If the early returns are any indication, though, the 27-year-old slugger could wind up being a strong presence not just down the stretch here in 2022, but also in the team’s future plans.
Since joining the Cubs, Reyes is slashing .333/.333/.619 in an admittedly limited five-game sample size. But his success goes well beyond that. He has been pounding the ball with authority on a nightly basis, injecting some much-needed power into Chicago’s lineup.
The Cubs rank ninth in the National League in slugging percentage (.395) and OPS (.713), but 12th in runs. The offense could use some more thump and it’s not hard to see why the front office believes Reyes could be that needed shot in the arm.
Cubs have added some serious thump in Franmil Reyes
After all, he’s just one year removed from a 30-homer, 85 RBI season with Cleveland in which he posted a 128 OPS+ in just 115 games. Back in 2019, he set a career-high, blasting 37 long balls between San Diego and Cleveland. In other words, this is a guy who has always had power – and at age 27, there’s no reason to think he doesn’t have plenty left in the tank.
"“You look at his spray chart … I mean he’s got big-time power,” David Ross told MLB.com. “It’s home runs line to line. This guy can hit them out anywhere. He just touches it and the ball goes.”"
Big picture, Reyes’ numbers aren’t where he wants them this year. But if you look at his Statcast page, there’s no questioning the authority with which he hits the baseball.
- Average Exit Velocity – 93rd percentile
- Max Exit Velocity – 86th percentile
- Hard Hit % – 87th percentile
- Barrel Rate – 95th percentile
These last six weeks are all about the future. If Reyes can settle in and provide some pop in the middle of the lineup, he’ll head into camp next spring as a leading candidate to eat the lion’s share of reps out of the designated hitter role in 2023.