Q&A with Arizona's Mark Reynolds
Third baseman making strides in the field, at the plate
Mark Reynolds, who turned 25 last week, is making big strides at the big league level for the Diamondbacks this season, improving his production while smoothing out some of his rough edges with experience and adjustments. As a rookie last year, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder hit 17 homers and drove in 62 runs in 111 games. This year, the powerful third baseman already has 24 homers and 79 RBIs in 112 games. Reynolds, who was born in Pikeville, Ky. -- less than a two-hour drive from teammate Brandon Webb's home of Ashland, Ky. -- recently answered questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: After a nice rookie season, can you talk about your 2008 play so far?
Reynolds: I would like to be hitting for a higher average, but in terms of the home runs and the RBIs, I'm happy. Being able to drive in runs helps the team. I would, though, like to make more consistent contact, to strikeout less and to walk more. It is what it is, and I'm continuing to work at it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you compare this season to your '07 campaign?
Reynolds: I feel like I am going in the right direction. I learn more each and every day. I am getting a better feel for the game. The biggest thing is just trying to be consistent. It is tough to do. At this point, I am doing my best. The more I play, the more I learn.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have garnered a lot of experience in less than two years. How far do you think you have come as a ballplayer in such a short amount of time?
Reynolds: It's been crazy. It has been sort of a whirlwind. I started out at Double-A and made the jump up here. I've been able to stick around. I started off hot, and then I hit a two-month stretch where I didn't hit my weight. Coming back from that and hitting well, though, showed me that I belong here. Coming into this year, I had higher expectations average-wise, but I feel I'm doing my part.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Your career got off to a fine start when you had two hits and a walk in your first big league game. Did that initial success help you get more comfortable up here?
Reynolds: Definitely. My debut went even better than I had hoped for. I was able to go out there and drive in some runs with my hits. It was just a memorable experience. Obviously, I will never forget it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You also made the playoffs as a rookie. Can you talk about that experience?
Reynolds: It was awesome. I was not only able to come up here and contribute, but we got to the playoffs. It was great. It was a pressure situation, and being at Wrigley Field during the playoffs was awesome. Things like that will always be etched in my mind. If we make it again this year, I will have a better understanding of what to expect. We will be calmer, more patient, and we will take what is given to us.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you think this Arizona team now compares to the one that won last year's N.L. West?
Reynolds: I think the teams are pretty similar. We have a lot of the same starting position players, though some are down to injury right now. We added Dan Haren, and everyone is doing his job. Hopefully, we make a similar run. I think we are on our way.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You've committed 19 errors at third compared to 11 miscues from one season ago. Where do you think your defensive game is right now?
Reynolds: I had a rough stretch there for about two weeks. It was right before the All-Star break. Defense is a lot like hitting -- it takes a lot of confidence. I didn't have a lot there for a while. A lot of my errors have been on some tough plays. I have had a few routine ones, too. Third base is a tough position to play. You are there, and guys are hitting lasers at you. It's also a relatively new position for me, and I think I'm making strides. It is like everything else -- the more experience you get, the better off you are.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Is there a player or coach here who has helped you a lot with your transition to third?
Reynolds: Chip Hale is our coach in charge of the infield. He is out there every day with me. We are working on grounders and drills. There are a lot of things to work on. It is about getting my work in and getting it done right. That has helped with my transition for sure.
MLBPLAYERS.com: As you look at third basemen in the game today, is there a guy you watch and are really impressed by?
Reynolds: Scott Rolen and Troy Glaus are guys who are real solid third basemen. They're bigger, like me, and they seem like they never panic or hurry things. If there is a slow roller, they don't always force it. I pick up on that, and with maturity will come fewer errors.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.