Reynolds willing to trade strikeouts for power

Reynolds willing to trade strikeouts for power

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Mark Reynolds is no longer concerned with what is written about him. When he was younger, the countless articles about his high strikeout totals bothered him. These days, the Indians designated hitter accepts who he is as a player and ignores what others think.

Reynolds knows the strikeouts are simply a byproduct of his style of slugging.

"Early on in my career, it was a big distraction," Reynolds said. "Now, whatever you guys write, I really don't care. I'm going to go play my game. I'm going to go out and drive in runs. I'm just going to do what I can to get those numbers that can't go down, to get those to keep going up."

The numbers Reynolds referred to were home runs and RBIs. He knows that, when healthy (an issue early on last season), he can provide the kind of right-handed power that Cleveland has lacked in recent seasons. Reynolds' batting average might suffer, and the strikeout total could soar, but the power potential helps the Indians accept those numbers.

That is the mindset the club has taken when it comes to Reynolds' numbers.

"You just live with it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "The last thing I want to tell him to do is to not strikeout. That's not going to work. That's like telling a pitcher, 'Don't walk somebody.' Just go up there and we're looking for production, however that comes. It comes in a lot of different ways."

Dating back to 2008, Reynolds leads the Major Leagues with 993 strikeouts. Over that same time period, he ranks fourth in baseball in home runs by a right-handed hitter (164). Only Albert Pujols (193), Miguel Cabrera (183) and Ryan Braun (168) have launched more homers in that span.

Reynolds averaged 208 strikeouts per year from 2008-11, but he also posted an average of 35 home runs and 92 RBIs in that same four-year stretch. He set the single-season strikeout record with 223 in 2009, but that season he also hit .260 with 44 home runs and 102 RBIs for the D-backs.

"After that year people kind of laid off a little bit," Reynolds said. "I don't let it bother me. I've matured a lot since then. I was 24 years old. I was worried about what everybody thought about me. Now, I really don't care. I focus on what I can do and try to be productive."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.