He’s the Eastern League’s top batter with a .365 batting average. He’s second on the Eastern League’s leader board in on-base-percentage at .445. Matt Reynolds continues to rake near the top of the Binghamton Mets lineup.
After missing a handful of games with back issues, B-Met fans had to be concerned if the layoff and troublesome back problems would slow down their middle infielder. Not so. In his two starts since his return to the lineup Reynolds is 7-for-10 at the plate, scoring two runs, and driving home a run.
An all around versatile athlete, Matt Reynolds almost decided not to play professional baseball. Leaving high school, Reynolds, a gifted basketball point guard, was drawing some attention from college basketball schools; places like Iowa State, Furman and Butler. At one time, Reynolds wasn’t sure about what direction he might choose.
But, life is about choices and Reynolds eventually decided to pursue a career playing baseball. Here’s what he told Adam Rubin in a piece Rubin did for ESPN in 2013. “I loved both sports. Both of them were my passion. It was a tough decision to give up basketball. And, if I decided to play basketball, it was going to be a tough decision to give up baseball. But, I realized baseball was where my future was at, and I loved it equally.”
Good choice. Reynolds first took his baseball game to the University of Arkansas. A high school shortstop, Reynolds played the same position for the Razorbacks his freshman year. But, when the regular third baseman was injured, Reynolds moved to the hot corner as a sophomore.
The Mets liked what they saw in the versatile infielder and drafted Reynolds in the second round, moving him back to shortstop in his introduction to professional baseball. Reynolds was projected as an above average fielding infielder with a powerful arm and a good contact hitter at the plate.
Reynolds matched that profile defensively at the lowest levels of the Met farm system but his offensive game was slow to evolve. Reynolds hit only .259 in Savannah in 2012 and .226 in St. Lucie last summer.
But, the kind of batter the Mets foresaw has emerged this spring in Binghamton, a solid contact hitter, patient at the plate. Reynolds shows little power with only 8 of his 66 hits of the extra base variety in 2014. But, a team leading 27 walks adds to the overall contribution Reynolds makes to the B-Met batting order.
In some ways the 2014 season posed a ‘make-or-break’ kind of challenge for Matt Reynolds. So far, the B-Met shortstop has met that charge. With the shortstop position one of unending uncertainty in Flushing, Reynolds’s all-around skill set and his dynamic start in 2014 places his name amongst the contenders of shortstops who someday might become an everyday option at Citi Field.