Indeed, Eleven, just whom the fuck is that guy? Once a week I’ll be breaking down a player who is surprising the league – for better or for worse. This will range from stars we’ve grown to expect greatness from all the way to obscure players who have appeared out of nowhere. In each case it will beg the question: Whom the fuck is that guy?!
Bryan Reynolds – OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
**Disclaimer: I couldn’t help myself from beating a dead horse with nautical/pirate themed puns throughout this article**
Remember it was not too long ago when the Pirates were a force to be reckoned with? In fact, just four years ago, the Pirates won 98 games. With names like Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Gregory Polanco, and of course their franchise cornerstone, Andrew McCutchen in his prime, it seemed these Pirates were poised to continue this trend for years to come. Of course, this did not happen, and everyone previously, mentioned, sans Polanco, are gone via trade. Gerrit Cole – perhaps the team’s biggest trade asset – netted them four minor league prospects from Houston, most notably, Joe Musgrove. Charlie Morton fetched a minor league righty, David Whitehead. It wasn’t until 2017 that the Bucs would trade the player most synonymous with their team, Andrew McCutchen, to the San Francisco Giants.
Now, it’s not a stretch to say both teams’ recent track record when it comes to trades have been … uninspiring. The Pirates will and should continue to get flack for their trade for Chris Archer last year and the Giants must be kicking themselves for the player they traded to Pittsburgh for Andrew McCutchen – Bryan Reynolds.
At the time of the trade, the Giants insisted in keeping Steven Duggar, their sixth ranked prospect at the time, and instead dealt Bryan Reynolds. The irony in this deal is the Giants have been in perpetual need of outfield help and even went so far as to inquire about Jacoby Ellsbury last offseason. Meanwhile, the Pirates seem to have struck gold with the acquisition of Reynolds. Reynolds was the secondary piece the Pirates received, with most of the hype being built around pitching prospect, Kyle Krick. So, in the year that’s passed, I thought it would be interesting to put the side by side comparison of Steven Duggar and Bryan Reynolds:
The numbers speak for themselves. Reynolds outshines Duggar in nearly every statistic except RBI and sacrifice flies. In fact, Reynolds leads all rookies in batting average, OBP, and BABIP, and is second in hard contact rate with 50.7 percent – one of the knocks against him while still in San Francisco.
This is no fluke. Reynolds has never hit below the .300 mark at any level in the pros and his ability to hit will be the first thing mentioned when looking at Reynolds’ body of work, but he’s also no peg-legged buccaneer as he’s accounted for three defensive runs saved in his brief time in the majors. Fielding statistics and grades are still somewhat a point of contention, but for all intents and purposes, Reynolds has graded out as average in terms of fielding, and when you take into account his numbers at the plate, he’s combined for a 1.7 fWAR, making him one of the best first-year players in baseball. It’s worth noting however, that Reynolds leads the National League in left field assists with three, and his range factor grades out at fourth in the league at 1.97.
The Giants look to have made a giant mistake in valuing Duggar over Flyin’ Bryan (I’ll work on a nickname), and the Pirates seem to have found where ‘X’ marks the spot with the young outfielder. It’s fun to imagine just how good this team could have been if the front office hadn’t ship-wrecked their roster for Chris Archer. It’s most likely not going to be smooth sailing for the team, but Reynolds is looking like a star already and could be a sleeper pick to win the NL Rookie of the Year when 2019 is all said and done. Don’t miss the opportunity to #PropUp with ThriveFantasy. A BRAND NEW product rethinking DFS & Player Props. Sign up TODAY with our link and they’ll match a $10 deposit dollar-for-dollar.