At the beginning of 2019, not many knew who Bryan Reynolds was.
He didn’t have the high-end prospect pedigree. Fans weren’t overly eager to see him called up to the big leagues. He was just kind of a guy.
All of that changed once he joined the Pirates during the middle of April last season. Reynolds started his career with an 11-game hit streak and quickly became one of their best players. In 546 total plate appearances, the now 25-year-old outfielder hit .314/.377/.503 with 16 home runs, 37 doubles, and 4 triples. His fWAR of 3.2 led the team. As a switch-hitter, Reynolds destroyed right-handed pitching (.334/.401/.530 in 389 PA) while holding his own against lefties (.264/.318/.438 in 157 PA).
A combination of hard contact and plate discipline made Reynolds successful last season. His hard-hit rate of 42.9 percent was higher than the league average 38 percent. Although his ground ball rate was a bit high (46.4 percent), Reynolds was able to spray hits to all parts of the field. If able to produce more fly balls and line drives going forward, Reynolds will be able to progress as an even better hitter and add more power to his game.
Although his walk rate (8.4 percent) was around league average last season, Reynolds still showed great plate discipline. Simply put, he saw and swung at a lot of pitches in the zone. Reynolds swung at strikes 74.2 percent of the time while making contact on said strikes 87.1 percent of the time. Both rates were above the league average. His swing rate of pitches outside of the zone (31.1 percent) was around league average.
Moving forward, as Reynolds stops getting as many good pitches to hit, it will interesting to see how he responds. This is where a lot of sophomore slumps come into play for a lot of different hitters. The league will respond to Reynolds’ rookie success. How will he respond back?