2021 MLB All-Star game voting is in. Many deserving players have received their calls to be starters. The Jesse Winker story is great. Shohei Ohtani is RAKING. Even the Pirates, received word that their second baseman, Adam Frazier, would be starting in the All-Star game. Amazing news for Adam for sure. However, there is one other Pirate that hasn’t received the recognition he deserves for this season. It’s sometimes hard to garner attention as an outfielder especially with guys like Ronald Acuna Jr., Ohtani, and of course Kyle Schwarber with the season he’s having. The man missing from the conversation in 2021 is the Pirates starting center-fielder, Bryan Reynolds.
Who is Bryan Reynolds?
Playing in Pittsburgh doesn’t do many favors for your notoriety. Once a storied franchise, it has turned into the laughing stock of the Major Leagues for the past ~30 years. So unless you’re an actual MVP like Andrew McCutchen, you’ll often get bypassed for national media attention. Bryan Reynolds deserves your attention.
In what might be the only decent trade the Pirates have made in the last 30 years, Reynolds came over from the San Francisco Giants along with reliever Kyle Crick for McCutchen himself in January 2018. I love McCutchen but he was starting to trend downward after his final All-Star game selection in 2015. It was painful at the time seeing him go, but the return has paid off.
After a successful 2018 AA minor league campaign where Reynolds hit .302 with 7 home runs and 46 RBIs in 331 at-bats, he was promoted to the AAA affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, in 2019. After just 13 games in AAA, the Pirates quickly promoted him to the big leagues and his spectacular rookie season was underway. With around 500 at-bats in 2019, Reynolds was ready to show Pittsburgh he was the face of the franchise for the future. He finished the campaign with a .316 average, 16 home runs, and even finished 4th in the NL ROY voting. It’s kind of hard to beat Pete Alonso for the award after he hit 53 home runs in his rookie season. Not to mention, Fernando Tatis Jr. was also part of that class.
Ok, but is Reynolds still good?
After a disappointing 2020 (I wouldn’t judge anyone for their stats in 2020), Reynolds is back. At just past the midway point, Reynolds has 15 home runs, one fewer than his previous high in 2019. Along with that he’s got 46 runs, 46 RBIs, and a .392 OBP with a .306 batting average. The latter two numbers place him at 4th and 5th in the National League respectively. The most impressive number is his 3.6 WAR. His WAR places him 7th in the Major Leagues and in the same category as guys like Tatis, Vlad Jr., and Ohtani who of course get all the press.
When I started this writing, Reynolds wasn’t selected by the fans to represent the NL in the All-Star game. However, I waited and hoped to hear his name as one of the reserves. Thankfully on Sunday night, his name was called. I’m looking forward to seeing Frazier and Reynolds represent the Bucs in Colorado as it may be one of the last times I get to see them in a Pirates uniform. But that’s an article for a different day. All I’m asking for now is that you put some respect in Reynolds name!
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