Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Reynolds Should Win a Gold Glove
By Marty Leap
Bryan Reynolds is having an incredible defensive season for the Pittsburgh Pirates and should win the National League Gold Glove for center fielders
When the 2021 season began the Pittsburgh Pirates had Bryan Reynolds in left field. At the onset of the season Reynolds was looking to bounce back offensively after a poor 2020 season. Well, it goes without saying that Reynolds has done just that.
Through his first 444 plate appearances this season Reynolds is hitting for a .306/.390/.519 slash line to go with an isolated power (ISO) of .213 and he’s already hit a career-high 18 home runs. His on-base percentage, slugging, ISO and 10.8% walk rate are all career bests as well.
His 144 wRC+ is also a career best for Reynolds and is the 5th best among all National League hitters. He has also hit the ball hard with an 89.1 MPH exit velocity and a barrel rate 10.3%, both of which are better than league average.
While Reynolds has more than bounced back offensively he has also taken a major step forward defensively this season. Prior to the 2021 season Reynolds was an average at best defensive outfielder. In 2021, however, he has been far more than that.
When Reynolds was moved from left field to center field earlier in the season it was a move that many people, myself included, did not see as a long-term move. Due to some of the defensive shortcomings Reynolds had experienced in his first two MLB seasons he did not appear to be a full-time center fielder with the move being more one out of necessity.
Since moving to center field Reynolds has proven plenty of people wrong. Reynolds has played a strong center field. Diving, circus grabs have become the norm for Reynolds in center field. Thursday night Reynolds made his latest highlight catch when he robbed Cincinnati outfielder Tyler Naquin of a home run.
The metrics also back up what the eye test has told about Reynolds. Going off of Baseball Savant’s defensive metrics, Reynolds has been one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball and the best defensive center fielder in the National League.
His Outs Above Average this season is +8. His +8 is tied for Cedric Mullins and Michael A. Taylor for the best in all of baseball among center fielders and is the highest in the National League.
Reynolds also owns a Runs Prevent of +7. His +7 Runs Prevented is tied with Mullins for the second highest in baseball among center fielders, and, like his OAA, is the highest among all National League center fielders.
Will Reynolds win a Gold Glove Award? Well, as a wise man once said, time will tell. But rather or not Reynolds takes home a Gold Glove this offseason he most certainly has earned it and should take home the gold.