Pittsburgh Pirates 2019 First Half Rookie of the Year: Bryan Reynolds

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Bryan Reynolds is putting together one of the best rookie seasons in Pittsburgh Pirates history

In January of 2018 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded the face of their franchise – Andrew McCutchen – to the San Francisco Giants. In return for the former National League MVP the Pirates received reliever Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds.

At the time, many fans were critical of the trade. But this is what you would expect from any fan base when their star player is traded. Despite the criticism, so far, the trade is looking like one of Neal Huntington’s best.

With injuries piling up in the outfield, Reynolds made his MLB debut on April 20th. He immediately grabbed the bull by the horns, seized the opportunity he was given, and he has not looked back since then.

Reynolds started his career with an 11 game hitting streak. This put him just shy of Gregory Polanco‘s Pirate record 13 game hitting streak to begin a career. This hitting streak has just a sign of things to come for Reynolds.

67 games into his MLB career Reynolds is slashing .342/.414/.536 with a 151 wRC+ and a .194 ISO. He owns a 9.6% walk rate, 12.2% extra base hit rate, and his fWAR is 2.1. This would put him on pace to be a 5+ WAR player over the course of a full 162 game season.

Reynolds hit his way into a starting role. His play not only made it impossible for the Pirates to option him back to Triple-A, but also made it impossible to take him out of the starting lineup.

Now, Reynolds did have some fierce competition for first half rookie of the year. Shortstop Kevin Newman is also putting together a remarkable rookie campaign. After looking totally over matched at the MLB level in 2018, Newman owns a .327/.371/.480 slash line and a 123 wRC+ this season. For as good as Newman has been, Reynolds has been even better.

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With his play this season Reynolds has solidified himself as part of the future of the Pirate outfield. Right now, he is bouncing around the outfield, but, with Corey Dickerson set to hit free agency, all signs point toward Reynolds taking over left field for the foreseeable future beginning in 2020.