In Bryan Reynolds’ case, injuries likely opened door leading to Pirates |

In Bryan Reynolds’ case, injuries likely opened door leading to Pirates

Jerry DiPaola
Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds, right, celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run off Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Nick Ramirez during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, June 19, 2019.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates left fielder Bryan Reynolds bats against the Tigers Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at PNC Park.

Here are two questions that do not make sense on the surface but are worthy of consideration:

Where would the Pittsburgh Pirates be if outfielders Corey Dickerson, Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte were not injured at various points this season?

What if Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez had not collided chasing a blooper in short center field April 19?

Answer: The Pirates still might be in last place in the National League Central but unaware of what Bryan Reynolds means to their future.

A day after the collision that sent Marte to the 10-day injured list, Reynolds was called up from Indianapolis after only one season in Double-A (2018) and 57 career Triple-A plate appearances (this year).

Today, people are talking about Reynolds as a write-in candidate for the All-Star Game and a contender for the National League batting crown as soon as he gets enough at-bats to qualify.

The 24-year-old Reynolds would be leading the NL with a .362 batting average if not for that rule demanding 3.1 plate appearances per game, based on the team’s total.

In Reynolds’ case, he needs 226. The nonroster spring training player has 194 heading into Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres.

Yet, it’s interesting to note Reynolds’ batting average is three points higher than the current leader: the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (.359), who has 116 more plate appearances.

Clint Hurdle said it’s tough to keep Reynolds out of the lineup, but he will need to average more than five PAs per game until the All-Star break to qualify at that time.

Still, Reynolds is a solid Rookie of the Year candidate. He has a .988 OPS , which is second to Josh Bell on the Pirates. Plus, he has six home runs and 26 RBIs, exceeded only by Bell, Marte and Colin Moran.

“I don’t think anyone was expecting him playing out of his mind like this,” pitcher Trevor Williams said, “but I think you could see the potential in spring training in the few at-bats I saw.”

Dickerson, who doesn’t have a contract for next year and could be traded because of Reynolds’ productivity, has been open to helping him adjust to the major leagues.

“I told him to write things down so you remember what you’re doing and what you’re thinking when you’re doing good,” Dickerson said. “Just constantly reminding him to remember what makes him click and do well, and how he’s got ready and he’s prepared.

“He’s so simple with a simple approach. And when you’re simple like that, you’re going to make good contact.”

Here are other NL Rookie of the Year candidates:

Pete Alonso, 24, New York Mets, first baseman.

Alonso is tied with Bellinger for second in the majors with 24 home runs, and he’s slashing .271/.357/.617. Plus, he’s been with the Mets all season.

Austin Riley, 22, Atlanta Braves, left fielder

Riley is hitting .292 with 11 home runs, 32 RBIs and two outfield assists — one fewer than Reynolds.

Fernando Tatis Jr., 20, San Diego Padres, shortstop

Thanks to a hamstring injury, he has only 166 plate appearances, but he’s hitting .333 with a .992 OPS. Twenty of his 50 hits are for extra bases, compared to 23 of 64 for Reynolds.

Mike Soroka, 21, Braves, right-handed pitcher

There have only been five pitchers win NL Rookie of the Year this century, but Soroka can’t be ignored. He’s 8-1 with a 2.12 ERA and .983 WHIP. His eight-game winning streak is the longest in the majors in 16 years for a pitcher under 22.

Love baseball? Stay up-to-date with the latest Pittsburgh Pirates news.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pirates
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.