SF's Reckley draws strength from late mom

January 22nd, 2022

Patricia Reckley gave countless lessons while working as an elementary school science teacher, but she imparted one of her most lasting ones to her son, Ryan.

The younger Reckley, a 17-year-old Bahamian shortstop, signed with the Giants for $2.2 million on Saturday, making him the headliner of the organization’s highly touted international signing class. It was a long-awaited day, but also a bittersweet one for the Reckley family, which is still grieving the loss of Patricia, who died from breast cancer on Nov. 22.

Reckley remembered his mother and her lessons by giving a speech during the signing ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau last week.

“My mom, she would have been happy that I had signed,” Reckley said. “She had supported me in everything I had done before I signed and leading up to signing. She made me the person who I am today because she’s a strong person. I get my strength from her. She taught me a lot about respect and how to treat people because she was a great people person.”

Reckley has leaned on the Giants organization to help cope with the loss, particularly director of international scouting Felix Peguero, who experienced similar grief following the unexpected death of his father, former director of Dominican Republic operations Pablo Peguero, in July. Reckley was training at the Giants’ facility in the Dominican Republic when he learned of his mother’s passing and subsequently flew to Florida with Peguero, who helped console the teenager.

“I spoke to Felix about it, and he was just giving me advice on how he dealt with the loss of his father,” Reckley said. “So it was support all around. I was really appreciative of that.”

The Giants and Reckley, who is ranked No. 9 on MLB.com’s Top 50 International Prospects list, first connected three years ago through Greg Burrows at the Maximum Development Sports Academy in Nassau. Reckley would often fly to Florida to play in showcases, giving Giants scouts plenty of chances to see his athleticism, excellent feel for hitting and advanced understanding of the strike zone. He also has the speed to steal bases and the defensive skills to stick at shortstop, landing him the largest signing bonus given by the Giants to an international player since No. 1 prospect  received $2.6 million in 2018.

Reckley began experimenting with switch-hitting when he was 11 or 12 and said he now feels more comfortable with the left side, though he shows more power as a right-handed hitter. His favorite players growing up were fellow switch-hitting shortstops José Reyes and , but he said he also tries to model his game after Giants veteran .

Reckley is hoping to develop into the next top prospect to come out of the Bahamas, an emerging baseball hotbed that has produced seven big-league players, including Marlins infielder  and Giants first-base coach .

“I spoke to him actually right after I signed,” Reckley said of Richardson. “He called me to congratulate me. He's a great asset to Bahamian baseball players. He comes back home and gives back and shares his knowledge with the Bahamian athletes. So he's a great tool for the Bahamas.”

Reckley reported to the Giants’ Minor League complex in Arizona on Sunday to embark on the next step of his journey, though signing his contract meant hitting pause on another one of his hobbies. Before turning pro, Reckley studied aerodynamics and completed ground school in the hopes of getting his pilot’s license, though he said he isn’t planning on finishing his training right now since the Giants aren’t too keen on letting him fly planes.

“I guess they don't trust me to go out and do that,” Reckley said.

For now, he’ll have to focus on getting his baseball career off the ground instead.