Jomar Reyes is a sure reason to see the Shorebirds

 

Baseball fans on the Eastern Shore have had a number of reasons to keep coming out to Arthur W. Perdue from April to September to watch the Delmarva Shorebirds over the past 20 years.

Sometimes it’s because an Oriole is on a rehab assignment – like when Brian Roberts came back to the Shore for a short stint in 2012. Sometimes it’s for the weekly giveaways. Sometimes it’s just for the love of the game.

And then sometimes, it’s to watch a future Oriole grow up and work out the kinks of their game right in front of the fan’s eyes. Baseball fans on the Shore had the luxury of watching Manny Machado break into the minors a few years ago, and by the end of that season he was in Baltimore.

This season, there isn’t necessarily a star prospect on the Shorebirds or one that many people have heard of, but Jomar Reyes is the next closest thing.

Reyes is just 18 years old, but towers over his teammates and opponents. Depending on who you ask, he’s between 6 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 6 inches and tips the scales at around 230 pounds and if you’re looking for a reason to go see the Shorebirds this season, Reyes is it.

Through 17 games in just his second season in the United States, the third baseman hasn’t lit up the stat sheet just yet but has tallied five walks, an on-base percentage of .379, a slugging percentage of .475 and 18 hits including a pair of triples and a homer.

The stats don’t blow a fan away, but remember — Reyes is just 18. What he does in the games is much more entertaining and appealing to a fan than numbers in a box score.

In his first at-bat as a Shorebird – in an exhibition game against Salisbury University – Reyes took the second pitch he saw and put it over the left field wall with an easy swing of his bat.

In his next game – his official Shorebirds’ debut – Reyes grounded a ball to the opposing second basemen in his first at-bat. Most thought Reyes would be put-out by the time he reached first base, but the Dominican native hustled down the line and recklessly slid feet first into the bag and was called safe. That play kept the inning alive for the Shorebirds that day and they went on to five more runs in that first inning, leading to a win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers by a score of 10-0.

Its plays like the slide into first that make Reyes so entertaining to watch and its plays like his first inning home run against the Sea Gulls that assure a fan that the talent and potential to be great is there.

It’s likely that Reyes will be in Delmarva most of the year too. His ceiling for this season is probably a short end of the season stint in Frederick with the high-A Keys.

Still, just because Reyes will be on Delmarva for likely the whole 2015 season it doesn’t mean that he needs a ton of improvement.

He can hit for sure. The swing mechanics are there. He shows power and he shows that he can control the bat.

That power will start to show soon – in likely the form of more home runs and extra base hits. Reyes needs a bit more work in the field, and a move to first base could be in his future.

At his age, the only thing Reyes needs to move ahead is experience and he’ll gain that in Delmarva. And — to their luxury — Eastern Shore baseball fans will get to watch him work through it with a ton of other prospects this season.

Contact Mitchell Northam at northam67@gmail.com.

 

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