By Jim Lane
CURVE, Pa.—On January 15, 2018, Curve outfielder Bryan Reynolds became a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Even though he was a highly-touted prospect in the Giants system, many Pirate fans weren’t happy with the trade that put him in a Bucs’ uniform.
The Pirates traded long-time fan favorite Andrew McCutchen to San Francisco for Reynolds and relief pitcher Kyle Crick before spring training.
Whether or not Reynolds develops into an all-star talent like McCutchen is yet to be determined, but there’s no denying he’s had a solid season with the Curve and is one of the reasons Altoona is in the thick of the pennant race in the Eastern League’s Western Division.
As of Aug. 22, the switch-hitting Reynolds was batting a solid .288 with seven homers and 39 RBIs.
“I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well,” Reynolds said. “I’ve been getting good swings and trying to put the barrel on the ball.”
In a recent game at Portland, Reynolds reached base all five times he batted. He homered, singled, walked twice and was safe on an error.
“He’s a solid middle-of-the-order guy,” said Altoona manager Michael Ryan, who normally pencils Reynolds in the No. 3 spot in the Curve lineup. “We’re glad to have him.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Reynolds is a 2013 graduate of Brentwood (Tenn.) High School where he was a teammate of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray. Reynolds won all-state Tennessee honors and went on to play three seasons at Vanderbilt University.
Vanderbilt won the NCAA Division I baseball championship during Reynolds’ freshman season when he had a team-best .338 average and a team-high 54 RBIs. He was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft after career marks of .329, 58 doubles, 9 triples, 22 homers and 160 RBIs in 206 games at Vandy.
The Commodores beat Virginia, which included former Curve pitcher Brandon Waddell, for the NCAA crown.
“Winning the NCAA championship was a great thrill,” he said. “One of my biggest ever.”
Reynolds began his pro career at short-season Salem-Keizer (Northwest League) where he batted .312 with 5 homers and 30 RBIs in 40 games. He then was promoted to Class A Augusta of the South Atlantic League and hit .317 in 16 games.
He spent the entire 2017 season at San Jose (Advanced A California League) where he batted .312 with 10 homers and 63 RBIs in 121 games. He was named to the league all-star team and also played in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Miami.
Reynolds entered 2018 as the Pirates’ sixth-best prospect, according to MLB.com, but played only four games with the Curve in April before landing on the disabled list. He rejoined the team May 29 and, after a slow start, got rolling with a grand slam homer June 13 at Binghamton.
The Curve have been battling Akron and Harrisburg for the two playoff spots in the EL West and Reynolds likes his team’s chances for post-season play.
“I think we’re in good position,” Reynolds offered. “Our pitchers are doing well.
“I think we’ve got everything we need.”