D-backs slugger Mark Reynolds is featured in this week’s ESPN the Magazine.
You can read Jorge Arangure’s feature online at ESPN.com here.
He discusses Reynolds’ physical development from scrawny, line-drive hitting kid to a burly, big league masher.
Here’s a glimpse:
Reynolds had been so skinny that his teammates at First Colonial High in Virginia Beach called him Skeletor. His father, Greg, an accountant, used to research training techniques in the hopes of counterbalancing his son’s lack of muscle. “When you’re a little guy, you do what you can with what you’ve got,” says Mark, who was a good line-drive hitter but no slugger.
One of many schemes he tried was swinging a bat with plastic fans on the barrel, to create wind resistance. He hoped the contraption would strengthen his wrists and forearms, making him as powerful as his teammates. No small feat, that: Reynolds grew up playing on travel teams with B.J. Upton, David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman, all of whom would become first-round picks and major league stars. To help the scrawny Reynolds compete, his high school coach gave him a piece of hitting advice that he follows to this day: “Swing as hard as you can.”
The story is behind the Insider wall at ESPN, so you’ll have to be an ESPN Insider member or magazine subscriber to read it. Or, you can pick up a copy of the April 19 issue of ESPN the Magazine on newsstands. It’s worth it, the story is a great read.
ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick has a nice feature on D-backs outfielder Justin Upton today, running on the front of their MLB page.
It’s not behind the Insider wall, so anybody can read it. Here’s the link.
It includes an interesting passage with a note about a player to whom Upton seems quite similar:
The contract is similar to deals signed recently by Hanley Ramirez, Nick Markakis and Ryan Zimmerman, but also to a deal signed by a player to whom Upton has drawn early comparisons: Ken Griffey Jr., who signed a four-year, $24 million deal in 1992 at the age of 22.
Griffey was already a star at the time, and the contract paid off huge for the Mariners when Junior continued to improve and become one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Griffey and Upton have developed a bit of a friendship in recent years, with Griffey lending advice to Upton.
“He actually helped me out a lot last year,” Upton said. “Just the mind-set he has [in baseball]. When it comes down to it, you’re playing a baseball game for a living, and so make it fun and have fun doing it. When things are going bad, smile and continue playing hard.”
Anyway, go check it out. It’s a solid feature.