Pirates Believe Reynolds Will Add Power
If Pirates fans are ever to forgive the organization for trading Andrew McCutchen to the Giants, Bryan Reynolds will have to prove to be a worthwhile return.
Reynolds was one of two players the Pirates acquired from San Francisco in the January trade, the other being hard-throwing big league reliever Kyle Crick.
Of the two, Reynolds figures to make the larger long-term impact, but industry opinions are scattered on the 23-year-old switch-hitter. Some scouts question whether he can develop real power, whether he has the speed to stay in center field and whether his arm can play if he has to move to a corner.
However, the Pirates have always been impressed by Reynolds' ability to hit for average and believe the rest will come. The 2016 second-rounder from Vanderbilt carries a career .312 average in pro ball into 2018.
"We’ve liked him for a long time, since the draft,” director of minor league operations Larry Broadway said. "We feel like there’s power to come . . . We’re really looking forward to the man we’re bringing in. We like the quality of his character. We add value there. We believe he can be an everyday outfielder for us with offense in both boxes.”
Reynolds’ ability to bring offense has never been questioned. He hit .338 as a freshman on Vanderbilt’s 2014 national championship team and .329 overall in three college seasons. At high Class A San Jose last season he hit .312/.364/.462 with 10 home runs in 121 games.
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The Pirates believe Reynolds can tap into more power if he focuses on launch angle and keeping the ball in the air.
"He’s got the impact,” Broadway said. "He just hit too many balls on the ground to see the actual power numbers reflect how hard he hits the ball. He’s going to be working to adjust that this season.”
The Pirates are going to give Reynolds the opportunity to play center field and adjust later if necessary.
"He’s going to continue to get a fair amount of work both in center field and the corners,” Broadway said. "Time will tell if he grows out of center field. He still has a chance to get a little bigger and stronger.”