With the minor league season days away from starting, we continue to release our top 20 Pittsburgh Pirates prospect list. Here is number 8:
Over the last few years, the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system has been considered one of the best in baseball. However, after enjoying a period of playoff baseball, and in turn picking lower in the draft, they have seen their system fall toward the middle of the pack. Still, rankings by scouting websites are not everything. They have plenty of intriguing prospects who could break out just as much as a team with a top farm system.
With that being said, we have come up with our top 20 prospects for the 2018 season. The articles will look at each player, starting at 20 and working toward one. So far we have looked at pitchers Clay Holmes at number 20, Gage Hinsz at number 19, Travis MacGregor at 18, and left-handed starter Braeden Ogle at 17. The first hitter to show up on our countdown was Calvin Mitchell at number 16 and Oneil Cruz at number 15. Coming in at number 14 was 2017 draft pick Steven Jennings. Then was is a pair of international prospect in right-hander Luis Escobar at number 13 overall and outfielder Lolo Sanchez at number 12. Right-handed starter and 2010 draftee Nick Kingham came in at number 11. Hard-throwing left-hander Taylor Hearn came in at number 10 and former first-round pick Kevin Newman at number 9. Here is our number eight prospect.
Number 8 Overall
In 2016, Rum Bunter put together several insight articles on potential draft picks. One of those articles looked at then potential first round pick and Vanderbilt outfielder Bryan Reynolds. The Pittsburgh Pirates decided to pass on Reynolds and draft Will Craig instead. The San Fransisco Giants were then able to draft Reynolds in the second round.
However, Reynolds ended up becoming a Pittsburgh Pirates prospect anyhow. This past offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates traded their former franchise player Andrew McCutchen to the Giants. The west coast team sent back relief pitcher Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds in return. Reynolds, at the time, was considered the Giants number four overall prospect. While he was not considered one of the Giants elite prospects, he still was one of their more notable prospects in their system.
Minor League Numbers
The switch-hitting outfielder has played in 177 total minor league games across the last two seasons. In 2016, Reynolds played in Short Sean-A and Low-A. For the 2016 year, he batted .313/.363/.484. In 56 games, the outfielder had six home runs and 38 RBIs, but did strike out 61 times. Then, in 2017, he moved up to High-A in the Giant’s system. Reynolds once again put together a solid slash line, batting .312/.364/.462. In his 121 games, he hit 10 home runs, nine triples, and 26 doubles. He also cut down on his strikeouts to less than one per game, striking out 106 times in 121 games.
As far as defense goes, Reynolds has played the bulk of his minor league games in center field. The 6’3” athlete has posted 94 games in center, 42 in right, and 19 in left. While he is athletic enough to stick in center, he most likely will project better in left field with an average arm. Still, he should be valuable as a player who will be able to play wherever is needed when he reaches the major leagues.
Reynolds will most likely start in Double-A this season, being he played in over 100 games at High-A last year. While Reynolds does not project to be a big-time impact player like the former top outfield prospects that have come through the system, he still could be a valuable player. Reynolds will provide outfield versatility with the ability to play all three outfield positions. Also, he is a switch-hitter which will help with lineup construction, and possibly the bench. He has shown that he is a solid hitter, hitting for a high batting average thus far in his minor league career (.312). Also, he has done a good job of getting on base at a career .363 clip. Reynolds could project at best as a good leadoff hitter with those kinds of numbers and above average speed. However, he will need to continue and cut down on his strikeout rate if he wants to reach that ceiling. Reynolds floor is likely as a really productive number four type outfielder.