Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 Staff Predictions: Marty Leap

Mar 18, 2022; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek shelton (17) looks on in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees during spring training at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2022; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek shelton (17) looks on in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees during spring training at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 20, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds (10) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds (10) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

Team MVP – Outfielder Bryan Reynolds

To be honest this was an easy one. While there is an argument to be made for Ke’Bryan Hayes pushing for the team’s MVP honors, the switch-hitting Reynolds is not just the best player on the Pittsburgh Pirates he is quickly becoming one of the best all-around players in the National League.

The 27-year-old Reynolds is coming off a season that put him on the map nationally. He hit for a .302/.390/.522 slash line to go with a 142 wRC+. Reynolds hit a career best 24 home runs to go with an isolated slugging (ISO) of .220. He also finished the season by positing a new career high walk rate (11.4%) and career low strikeout rate (18.4%).

To be honest, had Reynolds been on a contending team in 2021 he would have been a legitimate National League MVP candidate. Even being stuck on the 100 loss Pittsburgh Pirates he still finished in the top 10 in MVP voting, he was also named an All-Star for the first time in his career.

Renyolds proved his struggles in the COVID wrecked 2020 season were nothing short of an anomaly. He hit for a .314/.377/.503 slash line to go with a .189 ISO and a 130 wRC+ as a rookie in 2019, while also breaking the single season Pirate record for doubles by a rookie with 37.

Quietly, Reynolds has become one of the best all-around players in the National League. His 5.5 fWAR tied him with Walker Buehler and Brandon Crawford as the 7th most valuable player in the NL last season. His 3.2 fWAR in 2019 was 3rd among all NL rookies behind just Pete Alonso and Fernando Tatis Jr.

There is no reason to expect anything less than a MVP caliber season from Reynolds in 2022. He has become the key piece of the Pirate core, and, while some people may have forgotten due to all the trade rumors this past offseason, he remains under team control through 2025. So Reynolds should be leading the Pittsburgh Pirates for at leas the next 3-4 seasons.

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