Mark Reynolds committed two errors yesterday to increase his season total to a franchise-record 26 errors at third base and he’s only started 111 games there, which has Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun expecting the Orioles to move him across the diamond to first base next season.
Reynolds had been playing mostly first base recently before moving back to third base yesterday, but his hitting will be a whole lot less impressive if compared to first basemen full time.
This season the average AL first baseman is hitting .271 with a .790 OPS while the average third baseman is hitting .244 with a .695 OPS. Reynolds is hitting .221 with a .797 OPS, so he’s been almost exactly average for a first baseman and 100 points above average for a third baseman. That’s a huge difference and sticking at third base would allow the Orioles to potentially get another big bat in the lineup at first base.
Of course, the potential offense lost by shifting Reynolds to first base might be worth the defensive gains. And not just because of his high error total. Ultimate Zone Rating, which takes into account all plays defensively rather than just the obvious miscues covered by errors, pegs Reynolds as 21.5 runs below average at third base this season and 10.2 runs below average per 150 games there for his career.