Coming in to 2014 the average Mets fan probably wouldn’t have known who Matt Reynolds was. The former second-round pick of the Mets in the 2012 MLB Draft was coming off of a rough season in which he hit just .226 as a 22-year old in High-A St. Lucie.
However 2014 has been a completely different story. The 6’1 198 pounder, who plays mostly shortstop, began the season in Double-A Binghamton and came out firing on all cylinders, hitting .373/.455/.440 in April. He would continue to tear up the Eastern League until mid-June when he was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. The advanced competition of the Pacific Coast League hasn’t slowed him down either, as he’s hit .346/.400/.469 through 23 games with the 51s.
All of Reynolds’ success has placed him firmly on the radar, both within the organization as well as with the fan base, when discussing the big league club.
“His [plate] approach is so good, he can make adjustments quick,” Binghamton hitting coach told the New York Post. “He’s consistent. He has a lot of confidence with two strikes, and you can see that consistency when he is [either] ahead or behind in the count.”
So whether it be as a potential replacement for Daniel Murphy, whose name has begun to surface in trade rumors, or at natural position of shortstop, where Ruben Tejada continues to struggle to hit consistently, Reynolds is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
However, Reynolds has always had reputation as being an offensive-minded shortstop who lacked the defensive prowess to hold down an everyday stop. But people within the organization believe in his ability.
“He was a third baseman in college, but we thought he was a superior defender [who could] play in the middle of the diamond,” DePodesta said. “He was very fundamentally sound — he seemed to do a lot of little things well.”
It appears that people outside of the Mets are starting to change their tune as well:
“Defensively, he made all the plays for me,” one American League scout tells the Post. “His transfer on the double play was nothing special, but he’s a solid guy.”
In the end, Reynolds’ bat is going to be his calling card and his ticket to the majors. The only question is when that ticket will get punched. The Mets can certainly use his offense, so the time may be now.
“He looked like a big leaguer,” Salt Lake hitting coach Francisco Matos said, after Reynolds went 7-for-16 against the Bees last week. “He used the whole field, which is good for a young kid.”
(Photo credit Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Yankees)