Left Field - Bryan Reynolds
We get to our first player who is still on the Pirates, and that’s switch-hitting all-star outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Bryan Reynolds was acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade, which at the time, was highly criticized by a good portion of the Pirates fanbase. There probably wasn’t a single Pirates fan who was happy about McCutchen leaving, but the trade has worked wonders for the Pirates and is arguably the best trade the franchise has ever made.
The San Francisco Giants was Reynolds’ original team. They selected him in the second round of the 2016 draft out of Vanderbilt. Coming up through the minor leagues, Reynolds was considered a well-rounded prospect, but none of his tools were much better than average. In 2018, his first season in the Pirates’ organization, the switch-hitter batted .302/.381/.438 with a .368 wOBA, and 128 wRC+. Reynolds also had a 11.2% walk rate and 19.8% strikeout rate.
Reynolds entered 2019 at the Pirate Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, but quickly made his way to the major leagues after injuries and an outstanding brief performance in the minor leagues. Reynolds found regular playing time and ran with it, batting .314/.377/.503 with 16 home runs and 37 doubles. Reynolds’ 8.4% walk rate and 22.2% strikeout rate weren’t wowing anyone, but overall, he had a .371 wOBA, and 137 wRC+.
Reynolds was one of the best rookies in baseball, but was overshadowed by the likes of Pete Alonso, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Mike Soroka, all of whom finished above Reynolds in Rookie Of The Year voting. After the shortened 2020 season where Reynolds performed poorly, he would then go on to have a career year in 2021.
In 646 plate appearances, Reynolds batted .302/.390/.522 with a .385 wOBA, and 141 wRC+. The switch-hitter’s 11.6% walk rate and 18.4% strikeout rate are both career bests today. He also hit 24 home runs, and hustled out 35 doubles. Reynolds played most of the season in center field, where he had +11 outs above average.
Reynolds’ worst full season has been 2022, but he still had a 125 wRC+. So far this year, Reynolds is off to a good start, batting .294/.337/.509 with a 125 wRC+. However the big thing to come out of his 2023 season is he signed an eight-year extension, and the first $100+ million contract in the Pirates’ franchise history.