Franmil channels his inner Whitney Houston

June 1st, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- is a man of many talents.

The most obvious, of course, is his power. The Padres' breakout 23-year-old slugger already has 16 home runs, and they usually aren't cheap.

But after his power, Reyes' singing voice might be a close second. There aren't many people who can serenade an entire Major League stadium with a Whitney Houston cover -- hitting every high note in the process.

That's precisely what Reyes did Friday night, after the Padres' 5-2 win over Miami.

Somehow, the fun-loving right fielder has managed to turn "I Will Always Love You," into the de facto hype song for the 2019 Padres.

Of course, Reyes singing in the dugout is nothing new. He's done that his entire life. Padres left-hander Matt Strahm described the 6-foot-5, 280-pound slugger as "a big ball of joy."

"Franmil's one of the best human beings I've ever been around," Strahm said. "He puts a smile on everyone's face. He's a big ball of joy. To me, that's what the team needs. He keeps us all loose. He reminds us all: It's still a game. We're still kids. We're still having fun."

For all the songs Reyes sings, his edition of "I Will Always Love You" stuck. Initially, he and rookie right-hander Chris Paddack stood in the corner of the dugout and sang it each time a Padres hitter returned after hitting a home run.

"At the beginning of the season, it was just Paddack and me doing it," Reyes said. "They'd just look at us and laugh. They didn't do it. But now, everyone's doing it. ... We used to do it every time we got runs, just a way to have fun."

In the dugout, the song evolved. Strahm began using a cooler as a drum. Eric Lauer and Eric Hosmer joined in, adding their own percussion. Eventually, half the team took part in the pregame ritual.

"It just kept growing and growing," Strahm said. “Singing it before every game just started within the last couple weeks.”

When the Padres tweeted the Yankee Stadium rendition from Tuesday afternoon, it went viral. They followed that video by tweeting the Petco Park edition Friday night, as the Padres returned home for a 10-game homestand.

Reyes, of course, wasn't even born yet when Whitney Houston recorded the song, which topped the charts for a then-record 14 straight weeks in 1992. In fact, he heard it for the first time on "La Voz Kids," essentially the children's version of "The Voice" in his native Dominican Republic. Paola Guanche's version stole the show.

But Reyes isn't ripping off that version or even Whitney Houston's. Reyes' edition comes straight from "La Belicosa," an Instagram star from the Dominican who has his own takes on several different songs.

Minutes after Reyes had finished singing Friday night, he smashed a 112-mph rocket into the left-field seats in the bottom of the first. He would go 2-for-3 with a double and a walk as well. After the game, during an on-field interview, Reyes was asked if he wanted to close "with a song."

He obliged. And, yes, he hit all those tricky high notes.