Welcome to “The Three Pack”, a weekly feature in which I’ll give you three quick thoughts on anything and everything related to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Corey Dickerson was transferred to the 60-day IL just yesterday, though his return is somewhat imminent after beginning his rehab assignment.
Ever since a return date has come into view for the 2018 Gold Glove left-fielder, much hand wringing has ensued over what the club will do with rookie Bryan Reynolds when he returns. The default view — and, full disclosure here: one previously shared by this author — was that Reynolds will be automatically optioned back to Triple-A when DIckerson returns.
Now? I’m not so sure, and one would have to think that the team isn’t so sure either. With this in mind, here are a three-pack of notes that support the notion of Reynolds sticking on the 25-man.
He Hunts Fastballs
Right now, Reynolds has a bit of a blind spot against breaking balls. He whiffs on 40.4 percent of them, to highlight just one foible. Of course, this is not breaking-news for a rookie bat, no matter the pedigree.
Which makes Reynolds’ tendencies to hunt fastballs all the more appealing. For one, he carries an in-zone swing rate on fastballs of 70.6 percent, higher than the MLB-wide rate of 64.5. In 0-0, 0-1 and 1-0 counts, Reynolds sees fastballs 56.6 percent of the time, and swings at 78.1 percent of them.
In this way, Reynolds does everything in his power to avoid getting exposed by breaking balls later in the count.
He Makes Consistently Good Contact
Sometimes, as a baseball writer, there is a graph that can perfectly summarize a point you are trying to make, thus saving you from the need to write superfluous words to support it.
This is one of those times.
Slump-Proof (So Far)
Today is May 28th.
I threw out this tweet six days ago:
#Pirates OF Bryan Reynolds has gone hitless in consecutive *starts* just once this season, and has been held hitless just three times overall out of 20 starts.— Jason Rollison (@jrollisonpgh) May 22, 2019
My point still stands. Reynolds has still gone hitless in consecutive starts just once this year, with his starts now totaling 26.
He has proven to be slump-proof in his young MLB career to date. I firmly suspect that this will change — it has to, really — but the zone skills that allowed Reynolds to bat .300 or greater at each stop in his minor league career are transferable. They should help him guard against prolonged slumps to some degree.
These are just a few checkmarks in the “yay” column when deciding if Reynolds should stay up when the Pittsburgh Pirates welcome back Corey Dickerson.
Anyone want to throw out some nays?
I’m all ears.