Jamie Gatlin | June 14th, 2019
Before the season began, Bryan Reynolds was not expected to make a major impact in Pittsburgh until next year. The Pirates were deep in the outfield after adding Lonnie Chisenhall on a one year deal. So far things have not gone as planned as Chisenhall has yet to appear in a game. Injuries, however, have given Reynolds an opportunity and he has shined. The former top prospect has not only been an offensive force but one of the majors best rookies.
Reynolds came to Pittsburgh last January along with Kyle Crick in exchange for Andrew McCutchen. Crick made an immediate impact on the bullpen however Reynolds quickly landed on the IL. When Reynolds was activated, he proved his worth by hitting .302 for Altoona in 383 plate appearances. As a result, he was one of the Pirates first call ups when the outfield was plagued by injuries earlier this season.
Since being called up Reynolds, has done nothing but hit. In 157 at-bats the Pirates Left fielder is batting .350 which leads all rookies. Reynolds has also shown that he can hit for power as twenty-one of his fifty-five hits have gone for extra bases. He has looked confident at the plate while hitting at the top of the lineup.
Additionally, for the Pirates, his success comes as no surprise. When the Pirates acquired Reynolds, he became one of the most underrated rookies in their system. Although he recorded a career average of .312 in minors, Reynolds lacked elite speed and had below average power metrics. When the 2019 season began, it was expected that he still needed another full year in the minors. Now that is an afterthought as he has become a key part of this team.
While Reynolds has been an offensive catalyst, he has also excelled defensively. The former second-round pick has only committed one error and recorded two assists. It has been particularly impressive considering that PNC park can be a tricky outfield to play. Wherever Reynolds has played he has found a way to make an impact. As a result, it has been hard for Clint Hurdle to keep him out of the lineup.
Furthermore, Reynolds quick start has not only generated buzz in Pittsburgh but around the league. The season is far from over however he is already one of the top Rookie of the Year candidates. He has yet to go through a prolonged slump and has two hitting streaks of ten plus games. His WAR currently sits at 2.0, which is one of the highest of all rookies. Regardless of how the season ends, he has already shown that he is key to this organizations future.
Although the Pirates have struggled of late, Reynolds has been a bright spot. The Baltimore native will always be linked to McCutchen and has had an unforgettable start. The 2019 season so far has been full of ups and downs for the Pirates, but the future for Reynolds is bright.
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