With the 2018 season coming to a close, we are providing year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
Now that the season is officially over, we can begin evaluating players who were still on the roster up until the bitter end. One player who stuck it out from start to finish, because the MLB rules said he had to, is outfielder Victor Reyes.
Reyes was the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft. That meant he had to spend the entire 2018 season on the Tigers active roster, else he be returned to the Diamondbacks. Reyes had never played beyond Double-A when the Tigers selected him, and his limited experience showed.
In 100 games and 219 plate appearances, Reyes slashed a meager .222/.239/.288 with one home run, nine stolen bases and an ugly 39 wRC+. He was primarily used as a pinch-runner for Victor Martinez, only making 53 starts in the outfield. He played around the grass, with 27 starts in left, 19 in center and seven in right. He was at his best defensively in centerfield, posting a 2.6 UZR in 180 innings.
Speed and defense are Reyes’ calling card, and his six-foot-five, 194 pound frame could easily add some muscle. If that happens, Reyes has the potential to be a 10HR/20SB guy with solid defense up the middle. But man oh man, he did not get off to a good start. I expect Reyes will start 2019 at Triple-A, and he could probably use an entire season at that level. It’s easy to forget that he is only 23 years old, so there is still plenty of growth potential.
Ultimately, I doubt he will be more than a speedy fourth outfielder, but the Tigers might as well stash him in Triple-A and see if they can get more out of him. After all, they already made it through the hard part of keeping him on the 25-man roster all season.
I don’t think anyone had high expectations for Reyes this season. But man, he was bad. His 2.3% walk rate won’t fly, and his defense wasn’t good enough to put up with his lackluster work at the plate.