© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Dunlap: Reynolds’ Solid Bat Should Shape Future

June 20, 2019 - 1:44 pm


How much is enough? 

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Is the sample size big enough? 

Is the league --- as manager Clint Hurdle always likes to put it --- going to “push back” at some point? 

Will there come a time when Bryan Reynolds needs to --- again as Hurdle would put it --- “shower well” as he goes through a rough patch? 

All good questions. All questions that, for the most part, have answers that remain to be seen. It is really all a projection right now; nothing more or less.  

But there is something that can be answered definitively about the Pirates’ 24-year-old outfielder at this point. Yes, we can arrive at a conclusion and answer on something already, after just under 200 plate appearances and just over 50 games … his play should shape the way this organization does business both in the short and long term.

A chance is worth taking, that’s for sure. Take the risk, jump in the deep end.  

Hitting .393 for a whole month (as he’s done to this point in June) probably won’t last over the span of 30 days.

Hitting .362 for a season (as he’s done to this point in the season after making his debut on April 20) probably won’t last for a whole 162 games. 

But with all that said, one would think we could be getting close to the point where Bryan Reynolds is no longer just a good Major League rookie in a small window but rather a player expected to produce over the long haul. I don’t know if I’m fully there yet, but I certainly am getting closer by the day. 

His is a swing that doesn’t seem to have many holes; a guy with a little pop but much more of a contact guy not looking to hit home runs but rather drive the baseball to all fields and also shorten up his approach with two strikes. Reynolds, to this point, has also shown not to be fooled by offspeed pitches that come in non-traditional offspeed counts --- something that many, many times absolutely eats up young hitters once they reach the big leagues. 

Or, to put it another way (again, as Clint Hurdle would) his bat looks like it will play. 

That’s why he, first of all, needs to be out there every single day whether the Pirates feel like they are in it or not. The standings don’t matter in his case and showcasing Melky Cabrera and/or Corey Dickerson matters none when you have a young player who has earned his way into the lineup. 

On top of that, the Pirates should go into their long-term plan --- that is to say 2020 at the very least --- with Reynolds written in pen in left field. 

Trade Dickerson and Cabrera and live with Reynolds, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Jason Martin as your four outfielders. 

Reynolds should be solidified as part of the core with guys like Josh Bell and Kevin Newman and, in time, Cole Tucker at short along with his outfield cohort Martin. 

Reynolds has done all that’s expected, and more, to this point. The Pirates would do well stating to him, even if they don’t disclose it publicly, that they are fully committed to him as a starter until (or more like if) he ever proves he can’t handle it. And the other outfield options be damned. ​

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