A lot went wrong for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. They finished with the worst record in baseball and were hit hard by injuries.
One player who struggled, in particular, was Bryan Reynolds. In his third MLB season, Reynolds will be looking to recapture the magic from his rookie campaign and show why he should be part of the Pirates’ future.
Entering last season, Reynolds had hit .300 or better at every level. The Vanderbilt product showed some power in his rookie season but is known for his ability to get on base. In 2020, his strikeout rate rose while his on-base percentage dropped by 102 points. Although Reynolds struggled, he is still an important part of the Pirates’ plans. In spring training, he showed signs that a bounce-back season could be on the horizon.
In 17 spring games, Reynolds hit .304 and drove in nine runs. The Baltimore native got better as Opening Day inched closer with four hits in his final eight at-bats. Reynolds looked more like the player who hit .314 as a rookie and drove in 68 runs. It was a welcoming sign for Pittsburgh after having one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. As the Pirates look to turn the page on 2020, they will need Reynolds to continue his spring success.
Reynolds’s tenure in Pittsburgh began in 2018 when he was acquired from the Giants. He was the centerpiece of the Andrew McCutchen deal that also brought Kyle Crick to the Pirates. After Starling Marte was dealt to Arizona in the 2020 offseason, Reynolds became the face of the Pirates’ outfield. In 2021, he will be looking to solidify that role.
What to Expect
Although the Pirates are not projected to make the playoffs, 2021 will still be an important year. Their younger players will get a chance to establish themselves, and Reynolds will get a shot at redemption. In 2020, for the first time in his career, Reynolds struggled and couldn’t break out of a season-long slump. His offense, however, is expected to return as the 2021 season will be a full 162-game slate.
In the Pirates’ opener, Reynolds went 1-for-4 with a single. The 26-year-old was also able to force a walk as the Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs. For the Pirates’ offense to be successful, they will need Reynolds to be one of their main run producers and get on base. That is one of the main reasons he received Rookie of the Year votes in 2019. As Pirates continue to build for the future, Reynolds could be an important piece.