Having to sit out the first round of the 2016 MLB draft, the San Francisco Giants might have found a jewel in the second round with Bryan Reynolds out of Vanderbilt.
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Ranked the 11th best college prospect by Baseball America back in January, the switch-hitting outfielder was projected to go as high as 16th to the Angels. But the steady approach doesn’t tend to wow some teams, and sometimes even the most consistent players drop down the board.
Teams like the Giants have the luxury of going after players who can are already polished and can contribute quicker (see Joe Panik).
But this time the pick isn’t seen as much like a reach, as Panik’s did (wildly wrong obviously). Reynolds has played well at every level he has played. Having enjoyed success in the Cape Cod league, as well as the career .329 batting average he carries in his three years at Vanderbilt, he looks like the type of performer the Giants have been drafting for the infield.
Now with so many shortstops in the organization, it appears that the attention has turned to the positions that need reinforcements a lot sooner.
Reynolds also appears to be just finding his power stroke as well. He came into his current junior season having hit nine home runs (four as a freshman and five as a sophomore). But this season he has thirteen, and has become a bit more selective as well (rasing his on-base percentage to .461 from .388 the year before.)
There is no way to know for sure what a young hitter will do at the next level. But one with the proper approach at the plate will usually bring back stronger overall returns then the one that merely has “potential”.
Teams like the Giants don’t have to rely on a home run swing when it comes to the draft. They can pick the player who fits their team the best. And that is why they have seen success in recent drafts.
It is also what makes a pick like Reynolds so exciting.