The Cleveland Guardians optioned Bobby Bradley to Triple-A.
Coming off of his 2016 minor league season, I thought Bobby Bradley was going to be huge for the Cleveland Guardians. Coming off the World Series appearance, I saw Bradley as that missing piece. He was undoubtedly a project, striking out 170 times that year but I thought he had time to learn to be patient. Guys like Jim Thome and Travis Hafner learned patience, and Bradley could too.
He could be the next great project turned All-Star.
Except, that hasn’t been the case. Bradley has struck out in 28% of his plate appearances in the minors, but in the majors that figured jump to 37%. He hasn’t played much in 2022, only appearing in eight games, mustering two hits, and nine strikeouts.
The issues that have plagued him throughout his minor league career continue into his pros. It’s why he and Logan Allen were optioned on Thursday. Allen got claimed by the Orioles, leaving the Guardians with only one Logan Allen on the roster now.
Bradley showed promise but he proved he wasn’t cut out for major league ball. Owen Miller took his spot and isn’t giving it up. Bradley may not be the only hitter on the way out.
Franmil Reyes may soon join Bobby Bradley
Bradley will likely never get another shot with the Guardians again. I could see him going the way of Bradley Zimmer before the deadline. Another player who may be falling in right behind him is Franmil Reyes.
Sadly, like with Bradley, I really like Reyes. Yet, production is what matters. Reyes has the fourth-most plate appearances (83) on the team so far. The three above him are Myles Straw (108), Jose Ramirez (105), and Amed Rosario (90). Rosario will likely see fewer at-bats as he continues to start off cold, but Reyes is the one who is in danger of losing most of his at-bats.
While he’s got that Thome, Manny Ramirez power the Guards need, what they really need is runs getting batted in. Putting the bat on the ball and putting it in play. The team has a really good lineup to do that, actually. Guys like Kwan, Miller, Jose Ramirez, Andres Gimenez, Josh Naylor, and Richie Palacios are all hitting over .300, and Straw is right there.
They’re getting on base, they’re hitting guys in and they’re staying on base to score. They’re playing baseball.
Reyes is playing an inverted game of Whack-A-Mole. Reyes has just 13 hits, one more than Oscar Mercado, but has 23 more opportunities than him. Reyes is hitting just .157, and has only two home runs. The worst part, the most unacceptable part, is his 37 strikeouts. Ramirez and Straw have combined for 53 hits.
At the pace he’s on, if he had as many plate appearances as Ramirez, he’d have 48 strikeouts by now. He’s averaging just about two a game. If he played all 162 games, he’d have well over 300 strikeouts in a single year.
Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn are currently first and second all-time with strike-outs in a season with 223, and 222 strikeouts respectively. Reyes is on pace to shatter that record.
Reynolds struck out 36% of the time in his record-breaking season, while Dunn struck out 34% of the time. Reyes is striking out 44% of the time in 2022.
In the years that both men set the 220 mark in strikeouts, Reynolds hit .260 that year and had 42 home runs, while Dunn hit just .204 that year, but he also eclipsed 40 home runs. Dunn also had 105 walks that year too, while Reyes is on pace for just 20. For Reynolds and Dunn, they hit a home run 6% of the time. Reyes is on pace for just 2% of his plate appearances finishing with a home run.
Let’s say Reyes hits 600-at bats, he’s on pace to finish with just 14 home runs.
That’s 300+ strikeouts and just 14 home runs. It’s time to look for his long-term replacement, because these issues aren’t new, and are only getting worse.