The San Diego Padres don't get a lot of virtual ink spilled about them in national outlets, a neglect they've earned through prolonged losing. The Padres are putting the finishing touches on their eighth consecutive losing season. In none of those campaigns will San Diego have finished within 15 games of first place in the National League West.
That's not to be too harsh on where the Padres are as an organization today. I think they are on the right track in terms of accumulating talent, and they have demonstrated a willingness to invest in established players to surround that talent when it matures. Those investments (talking here about Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers) don't look great through the prism of this season, but it's early in terms of the commitments to both players. Perhaps as the talent around them rises, their performance will rebound to hoped-for levels as well.
Anyway, if you're part of the general unawareness about what has transpired in San Diego, you might have missed the amazing rookie season of one Franmil Reyes. Reyes, who turned 23 in July, is an outfielder with a body more fitting for an NFL tight end than a baseball player. He's listed at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, and he's got the demonstrated power at the plate that you'd expect from someone of those dimensions. According to Statcast data, only 15 qualifiers have a higher average exit velocity than Reyes' 92.3 mph.
He's put that elite exit velo to good use, at times. In less than a half-season's playing time, Reyes has hit 16 home runs. Only seven Padres rookies have ever hit more, and only one of those -- Benito Santiago in 1987 -- was in his age-22 season or younger.
Fine. That's a nice anecdote. But none of this is why I've suddenly taken an interest in Reyes. It's not the size, the age, the rockets off the bat -- nor the home run total. It's because despite all of those things, Reyes has driven in only 27 runs.
This strikes me as exceedingly hard to do. I remember growing up, looking at the averages they'd post in the daily paper, and thinking that any RBI count that wasn't at least three times the home run count did not look right. But fewer than two RBIs per home run for a player with 16 homers? How can this be?