Detroit Tigers: Victor Reyes finding ways to get the job done

Detroit Tigers left fielder Victor Reyes scores a run in the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 10, 2018. (Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Tigers left fielder Victor Reyes scores a run in the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 10, 2018. (Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Detroit Tigers outfielder Victor Reyes has been surprising in 2022.

The Detroit Tigers took a flier on Victor Reyes back in 2017 during the Rule 5 Draft, and he has stuck around. He has been finding his way into games ever since, patrolling the outfield and trying to find his footing.

In 2022, the Detroit Tigers have seen Reyes find his footing a bit. He may not be an everyday guy, but he’s quietly been getting the job done when he is in the lineup. He’s been in the lineup for about half of the team’s games and has been more than adequate when he’s called upon.

He’s logged nine games in September and has settled down from his pace on the season but has still strung together a better performance. While he may not have the same amount of at-bats as the everyday players, he qualifies to be factored into league leaders on Baseball-Reference, where he holds the highest average on the team.

On top of that, Reyes comes in third on the team in on-base percentage. He drops with slugging but still comes in at fifth on the team. While these are just rankings, let’s take a deeper look at Reyes’s 2022 performance and what he has done well.

Detroit Tigers outfielder Victor Reyes has shown a change in approach.

In 2022, Reyes has found his way into 79 games for the Detroit Tigers, where he has managed a .270/.303/.367 slash line with 17 doubles, three triples, and a big fly to his credit. He has also produced 26 RBI, setting a career-high for him.

While Reyes has played on some tough Tigers teams, the 2022 season has seen him get things worked out at the dish. It’s shocking, especially in a season where the team’s offense has struggled so much in some areas.

For Reyes, it seems that a change in approach has helped him get things on track. A deeper look into Reyes’ performance shows this. According to Baseball Savant, Reyes has managed a .306 batting average on fastballs. He also has a .308 batting average on changeups.

Taking things a step further, he has increased his wOBA on fastballs to .328 from .318 in 2021, and on offspeed pitches, he’s up to .312 from .285 in 2021. It makes it feel like his approach is to jump on the fastballs and adjust to offspeed.

Breaking balls, in particular, have been tough for Reyes but are not too far off the mark from where they were in 2022. A small note about the breaking balls is that Reyes has decreased his whiff rate from 31.1% in 2021 to 27.8 in 2022.

While there are a lot of numbers to digest there, it feels like he’s been able to stick to hunting the fastballs, as I mentioned. It also appears that he’s working on a more uphill path, trying to loft the ball with both his pop-up percentage and percentage of contact he swung under rising from past years.

Though, he’s still finding ways to get the ball down. His hard hit% is up from where it was in 2021. Taking all of this into account, the Tigers have called upon Reyes here and there, and he has done the job.

At face value, it looks like he’s hunting fastballs, hitting them harder, getting some more loft, and getting the job done. He’s hit more doubles than any other season in his career in 2022. Looking at his spray chart, it feels that he is living with shallow outfield base hits and doubles in the gaps.

The Tigers should be happy with Reyes and his performance. He’s been one of the hitters who has actually hit in 2022. While he’s only played in about half the games, he’s been solid at going out and getting the job done when called upon.

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There’s something to like about Reyes. Even if he’s not an everyday player, the Tigers can rely on him to step into the lineup and hunt fastballs, getting on base in the process. After all, there is not much offense to be happy about with this Tigers team, so being happy with what the team can get is key.