Padres call up Minors HR leader Reyes
Asuaje sent to Triple-A El Paso in corresponding move
SAN DIEGO -- Franmil Reyes' red-hot start to the 2018 Minor League season has paid off with a big league promotion.
The hulking outfielder had his contract selected ahead of Monday's game against the Rockies. Second baseman Carlos Asuaje was optioned to Triple-A El Paso in a corresponding move.
Reyes leads all Minor Leaguers with 14 homers, and he was hitting .346/.440/.748 in 35 games for Triple-A El Paso. A 22-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Reyes is known for his easy power and muscular 6-foot-6 frame. He was left unprotected in December's Rule 5 Draft, but every other big league club passed on the outfielder.
"I'm a big guy," said Reyes, making the understatement of the season. "You guys will see a lot of homers, hopefully."
Organizationally, the timing was right for Reyes' promotion, and he certainly earned it. With William Myers and Hunter Renfroe on the disabled list, the Padres figured they might as well give Reyes a shot to prove himself at the highest level.
He was in the lineup batting sixth against Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson on Monday night.
"We have to take these windows of opportunity when they present themselves," said Padres manager Andy Green. "With Wil on the DL and Hunter not back from injury and Franmil swinging the bat really well, this is a really nice opportunity to get a first look at him."
Reyes will slot into an already crowded outfield -- though with Asuaje's demotion, it's likely Jose Pirela will play very little left field. Pirela had already begun to take the bulk of the reps at second base, and now he's unquestionably the everyday guy there.
As for Reyes, it's likely he will split starts in the outfield with Travis Jankowski, Manuel Margot and Franchy Cordero. All four are, essentially, auditioning for their place in the club's outfield of the future. At present, there's plenty of playing time to go around.
"You've got four guys who will be out there in the outfield pretty consistently," Green said. "If we're playing three out of the four [every night], we'll be in decent shape."
Reyes does not appear among MLB Pipeline's Padres Top 30 prospects. Still, he's highly regarded within the organization -- one that possesses MLB Pipeline's top-rated farm system.
"It probably speaks to the depth of our system," Green said. "A lot of guys with [his numbers] pop on a lot of prospects lists. He didn't pop on our list. But, a smart organization listens to what the bats are telling you. His bat was screaming at us from El Paso."
At the plate, Reyes offers some of the same tools as Cordero, who is best known for his hard contact. Cordero's 93-mph average exit velocity leads the team this season, and he's the owner of four of the National League's hardest-hit baseballs. One Padres staffer noted Reyes' exit velocity has generally topped Cordero's this season (albeit at a vastly different skill level against in the Minor Leagues).
Like Cordero, Reyes also has a penchant to expand the strike zone, but he's cut down on that a bit this season.
The comparisons between the two end there. Reyes possesses none of Cordero's speed or defensive aptitude. In fact, defensively, Reyes is a major question mark.
Still, the Padres are eager to see how Reyes' skill set will play in the Majors. There's only one way to find out.