04/22/2023 8:03 AM
Article By: Michael Lane
Success in the Cape League is difficult, so when Bryan Reynolds slashed .346/.470/.395 for Orleans in 2015, it flashed the potential he had to become an elite player.
Since debuting in 2019, Reynolds has continued to develop as a player. In 2021 he was named to his first All-Star Game and finished with a .302 batting average and .912 OPS. He followed that up with a career high 27 home runs in 2022.
Through 20 games this season, Reynolds is slashing .291/.314/.544 with five home runs and three stolen bases. The metrics, courtesy of Baseball Savant, behind his hot start indicate that this might be the beginning of a career year for Reynolds.
Reynolds has seen increases to a lot of key metrics offensively. His average exit velocity has jumped up from the 73rd percentile in 2022 to the 82nd percentile this season. Similarly, his hard hit percentage has increased from the 66th percentile to the 86th percentile.
Despite walking at a lower rate so far, his plate discipline is actually improving. His chase rate last season ranked in just the 32nd percentile. This season, Reynolds ranks in the 68th percentile for chase rate and in the 71st percentile for strikeout rate.
Most importantly though, Reynolds barrel percentage has drastically increased. Last season he ranked in the 50th percentile, right around league average for barrel percentage. This season, Reynolds ranks in the 91st percentile, barreling balls up at an elite rate.
MLB’s new rules have created an increase in stolen bases across the league. Reynolds is among those players who have taken advantage, stealing three bases so far and getting caught zero times. His previous career high in stolen bases was seven, during the 2022 season. Reynolds’ sprint speed ranks in the 78th percentile, so a 15 or even 20 stolen base season isn’t out of the question.
The talk surrounding Reynolds since last year’s trade deadline has been whether he’ll reach a long-term contract extension with the Pirates or if the Pirates will fulfill his trade request. Regardless of where he finishes the 2023 season, Reynolds appears to be on pace for a career year.