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Giants get first look at former top prospect

@mi_guardado
April 20, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- In an alternate universe, Bryan Reynolds’ MLB debut could have come with the Giants, who drafted the 24-year-old outfield prospect in the second round of the 2016 Draft. The Giants instead got a glimpse at what could have been, as Reynolds started against them in Saturday's rain-shortened 3-1

PITTSBURGH -- In an alternate universe, Bryan Reynolds’ MLB debut could have come with the Giants, who drafted the 24-year-old outfield prospect in the second round of the 2016 Draft.

The Giants instead got a glimpse at what could have been, as Reynolds started against them in Saturday's rain-shortened 3-1 loss, after being called up by the Pirates that morning. The 24-year-old Reynolds went 1-for-2, recording his first big league hit on a fourth-inning single.

Reynolds, who was traded to Pittsburgh along with reliever Kyle Crick in the Andrew McCutchen trade ahead of the 2018 season, received his first shot in the big leagues after Pirates center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez were injured in a collision in Friday night’s loss at PNC Park.

“Obviously, we thought a lot of him because we took him in the second round,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s done very well. Since the day he signed, he’s played well and he’s getting his chance to come up here and show what he can do.”

A switch-hitter, Reynolds was off to a hot start at Triple-A Indianapolis, ranking fifth in the International League in batting (.367), third in slugging (.735) and OPS (1.118) and ninth in on-base percentage (.446). He’s the type of player the Giants would love to still have in their upper Minors, especially as their offense has struggled to get going over the first few weeks of the regular season.

But hindsight, of course, is 20/20. At the time of the McCutchen trade, Reynolds had not played above Class A Advanced San Jose and had not shown much power over his first two Minor League seasons. With the Giants coming off a 98-loss season, the old regime felt the acquisitions of McCutchen and Evan Longoria could help the team make another postseason run with its veteran core.

It proved to be a miscalculation, as the Giants ultimately dealt McCutchen to the Yankees in exchange for a pair of prospects -- Abiatal Avelino and Juan De Paula -- in August en route to losing 89 games. They flipped De Paula to the Blue Jays earlier this month to land Kevin Pillar, who currently leads the team in RBIs (13) and is tied with Brandon Belt for the team lead in home runs (4).

Still, Reynolds’ arrival is a reminder of what the Giants’ decision-making cost them a year ago. As president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi looks to get the organization back on track, he will need more young, controllable players with upside like Reynolds who have the potential to make meaningful contributions in the Majors.

Worth noting
Bochy said he will likely start Buster Posey at designated hitter in one of the Giants’ two games at Toronto next week. Pablo Sandoval could start the other.

Black injured
Right-handed reliever Ray Black, who opened the season with Triple-A Sacramento, was evaluated by team doctor Ken Akizuki on Saturday morning and diagnosed with a pronator strain. Black will be shut down for seven to 10 days before resuming a throwing program. Black, 28, had logged a 6.43 ERA in his first seven appearances for Sacramento this year.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.