By Jim Lane
CURVE, Pa. – When the Curve broke spring training camp in Florida in early April, few people in the organization knew much about Pablo Reyes except that he was a solid utility guy who could play multiple positions.
However, when second baseman Kevin Kramer suffered a broken hand in early June, Reyes was thrust into a starting role with the Curve and he’s been a pleasant surprise.
Kramer was one of the Curve’s top offensive players when he was hurt and placed on the disabled list for the rest of the season.
Reyes has filled in admirably. In fact, as of Aug. 12, Reyes had a .272 average with 8 home runs (tied for the team lead) and 42 RBIs (second most).
“In spring training, I played everywhere – second base, shortstop, center field – so I was ready because I practice everywhere,” Reyes was saying recently at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Signed by the Pirates as an international free agent in 2012, the Dominican Republic native loves the game.
“I don’t care where I play,” he said. “I like second base, but shortstop was my first position in the Dominican. Now I’m playing second base and I’m trying to do everything I can to help the Curve win the (Eastern League) pennant.”
Reyes was a member of the Bradenton Marauders, who won the Class A Florida State League championship last season so he’s prepared to help the Curve during the EL’s stretch run this month.
“We have a lot of the same players who were at Bradenton,” he said, “and we have the same manager (Michael Ryan). We have a really good team and baseball is the same here. (Ryan) knows all the players and he tells us we can win. I think we can win, too.”
Reyes played parts of two seasons in the Dominican Summer League (2012/2013) before coming to the U.S. and playing for Bristol in the advanced-rookie league where he batted .272 in 46 games.
Reyes was promoted to low-A West Virginia in 2015 where he batted .268 and smacked a career-best 12 homers while playing in a career-high 108 games.
While at Bradenton last season, Reyes batted .265 and played in 89 games while playing three infield spots and center field.
“Coming out of spring training, he was the type of guy who was going to play all over to improve his versatility and make him more valuable,” said manager Michael Ryan.
‘He’s athletic enough to play a lot of positions, but when Kramer got hurt, he became our primary second baseman,” Ryan noted. “He’s very good at second base and he puts good at-bats together.
“He’s a fulltime player, just at different positions,” Ryan added. “He can be the best player on the field every day – that’s the kind of skills he has. You have to have him in the lineup because he brings so many different things to the game.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pounder gives a lot of credit for his success to his Dominican Republic friends.
“I talk to (Gregory) Polanco and (Starling) Marte,” he said. “They tell me not to be afraid when I have a bad game. You’re going to have some good and some bad, just be ready for the next day.
“That’s what I do.”