Raul Reyes Stepping It Up In Binghamton
Like many of the St. Lucie position players who have been called up to Binghamton this season, right fielder Raul Reyes is enjoying success so far at the Double-A level. Reyes hasn't impressed all that much since he signed with the Mets on his 18th birthday (December 30th 2004), but his raw power has kept him in the mix in the Mets' farm system.
The left-handed hitting Reyes hadn't played above Low-A before this season, and was mired in a season long slump with St. Lucie. In 47 games he hit just .215 with three homers and 10 RBI, and had a slugging percentage of .335, way below his career average.
With the B-Mets ravaged by injuries, Reyes got called up on June 23rd and is making the most of his opportunity. In only 15 Double-A games, he has surpassed the home run and RBI totals he had during his time in St. Lucie.
He's hitting .328 with five home runs and 14 RBI in a B-Mets uniform. He recorded at least one hit in his first six games and five multi-hit games in his last 10 games.
Reyes has been doing a lot of work with B-Mets hitting coach Luis Natera in the week and a half he's been with Binghamton in order to adapt as quickly as possible.
"I've come up here and have made adjustments," Reyes said. "(In St. Lucie) I was hitting the ball hard, but I was out in front. Here I've been working hard with the hitting coach trying to do better."
Natera confirmed that Reyes had been out in front, but he has helped Reyes fine-tune his swing and it has been paying dividends.
"Just a little thing with his hands," Natera said. "Sometimes his hands are way too far out – you get in trouble when you do that – but when he keeps his hands in, he's dangerous.
One of the major differences Reyes sees between Double-A and High-A is the size of the strike zone.
"I think there's a different strike zone here," Reyes said. "You hit more comfortably here because the strike zone is much better here. (In High-A) the umpires are different than they are here. I think it's better here, the strike zone."
Reyes hasn't made a concerted effort to hit more home runs as of late. He attributes his recent flash of power to assimilating to each pitcher individually.
"I try to make adjustments every at-bat," he said. "With men on base or no men on base, I try to make an adjustment and I try to hit the fastball every at-bat. I've just been working to get better."
On June 29, Reyes was a big contributor in the B-Mets' 9-5 victory over the Altoona Curve at NYSEG stadium. He blasted a grand slam over the right field wall and finished 2-for-4 with five RBI.
Reyes was elated after hitting the grand slam. "It felt great," he said. "It was the first time I ever hit a grand slam. I felt good after that."
Primarily a center fielder with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2007, Reyes has played mostly right field the past couple of years. Reyes has the strong arm needed to play right field and has transitioned there adequately.
"I had always played center field before, but they moved me to right field (in Savannah) and I feel comfortable there too. I'm pretty aggressive in trying to throw out runners," Reyes explained.
Although he's in the midst of arguably the greatest hitting stretch of his career, Reyes is not yet satisfied and is intent on improving as much as he can.
"I just need to be working, working, working going forward. I've been working hard every day, trying to get better every day," Reyes closed.
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