With the way Bryan Reynolds is playing, the Pirates will almost certainly launch a National League Rookie of the Year campaign for him between now and the end of the season.
Just don’t expect for Reynolds be front and center if they do. It’s not his style to attract attention.
Take Wednesday night for instance.
Reynolds’ three-run home run in the sixth inning turned out to be the game-winning hit as the Pirates rallied from a six-run deficit to beat the Tigers, 8-7, at PNC Park and split the two-game series.
Once the media was allowed into the Pirates’ clubhouse after the game, Reynolds was nowhere to be found. He had boxed up some food from the postgame spread and headed for home.
Reynolds isn’t anti-media by any means. He is just so unassuming that he doesn’t always realize the media want to talk with him.
However, the ebullient Trevor Williams will serve as the chairman for Reynolds’ campaign to become just the second Pirates’ player to win National League Rookie of the Year honors, and the first since Jason Bay in 2004.
“It was a big-time play by a big-time player,” said Williams of Reynolds’ home run off Nick Martinez. “He’s been nothing but impressive to the Pirates and the guys we are playing against. I think it’s time for the national media to start paying attention to what Bryan Reynolds is doing.”
It is getting harder to ignore Reynolds. After going 3 for 4 with three runs scored Wednesday night, Reynolds is hitting .362/.418/.571 with six home runs in 53 games and 177 at-bats.
“His approach. He never wavers in his approach. His approach has been rock solid.” Williams said when asked what has impressed him most about Reynolds. “It’s been fun to see him to develop into this player we knew he could be. I don’t think anybody thought he would play out of his mind like this, but you could see the potential in spring training.”
Corey Dickerson concurred.
“He keeps things really simple,” Dickerson said. “Guys who do that usually become very consistent players and that’s definitely been the case with Bryan.”
The Pirates acquired Reynolds and Kyle Crick from the Giants in a trade for Andrew McCutchen in January 2018. The deal was hugely unpopular at the time as the Pirates dealt away the 2013 National League MVP and face of the franchise for two young players that most fans didn’t know.
However, Crick has been a dependable set-up reliever and Reynolds’ statistics speak for themselves. Clint Hurdle said he developed a good feeling about Reynolds after having a few conversations last year during spring training before sending him to Class AA Altoona.
“There was a lot going on with him,” Hurdle said. “Getting traded to a new team. You’re in big-league camp for the first time. He admitted it was a lot, but he’s always the same guy. He didn’t let that overwhelm him. He figured some things out, slowed things down.”
The Pirates also figured out some things after Williams put them in a 7-1 hole in the third inning. Dickerson hit a two-run double in the third and Starling Marte blasted a two-run home run in the fifth to cut the deficit to 7-5 before Reynolds delivered the biggest blow.
“That’s the beauty of what we do. Nobody else gets to see what goes on in the dugout,” Hurdle said. “You can watch from the stands but you’re not in on it, you don’t hear the conversations. You don’t hear the guys sharing information. You don’t feel any of that. A lot of times we’ll have that 7-1 (deficit) and guys are thinking we’re still going to win it. Tonight, we did win it.”
My Five Thoughts from Wednesday night can be found here.
• Francisco Cervelli, catcher, is on the seven-day concussion IL and is taking part in all baseball activities. He will be evaluated next Tuesday by a neurologist.
• Jameson Taillon, right-hander, is on the 60-day IL with a right elbow flexor tendon strain and is probably two weeks away from beginning a throwing program.
• Keone Kela, right-hander, is on the 60-day IL with right shoulder inflammation and is taking part in a throwing program at the Pirates' spring training facility in Bradenton, Fla.
• Rookie Davis, right-hander, is on the 10-day DL with a right middle finger blister and is scheduled to make a second rehab start for Class AAA Indianapolis, though a date hasn't been set.
• Erik Gonzalez, shortstop, is on the 60-day IL with a left clavicle fracture and could begin a rehab assignment by the end of the month.
• Nick Burdi, relief pitcher, is on the 60-day IL with right elbow/pain caused by a nerve problem and is rehabbing in Bradenton.
• Lonnie Chisenhall, outfielder, is on the 60-day IL with a left calf strain and is currently rehabbing at his home in North Carolina.
The Pirates are off Thursday before opening a three-game series against the Padres at 7:05 p.m Friday at PNC Park as Joe Musgrove (4-7, 4.87) faces left-hander Eric Lauer (5-6, 4.60). Musgrove is 1-3 with a 7.61 ERA in his last five starts, while Lauer has lost his last two starts, giving up nine runs (eight earned) in 9 2/3 innings.
John Perrotto and Matt Sunday will be on the scene at PNC Park with all your coverage.
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