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Breaking down Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds

Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Bryan Reynolds has quietly been one of the best hitters in baseball this season. He is in the 92nd or higher percentile in average exit velocity, xwOBA, xBA, xSLG and hard-hit rate, which last I checked is pretty good. In addition to that he does not strike out a ton with just a 17.8 strikeout percentage, which makes him an extremely difficult batter for pitchers to attack because he is almost always going to put the ball in play. But, like all batters, he has a couple of holes in his swing that pitchers are able to attack in order to get him out, which we will evaluate down below.

Weakness #1


Reynolds has a run value of 2 against them changeups season, but when you dig a little deeper beneath the numbers, he has actually struggled against them for the most part in 2023. He has a whiff rate of 44 percent against them, strikeout percentage of 25 percent and an xwOBA of .323 against them in addition to an xBA of .223. On top of that his hard-hit percentage against changeups of 34.8 percent is 20.7 percent lower than his overall hard-hit rate this year. When facing right-handed pitchers who throw changeups, his whiff rate increases up to 45.3 percent and strikeout rate goes to 29.2 percent.

Weakness #2

The edges of the zone

Baseball savant has a way of showcasing what they call the four attack regions which are effectively anywhere a pitch can be thrown. You have the heart, which is the heart of the strike zone, or a pitch in the strike zone that does not touch the edge. The shadow which is the edge of the zone and a little off of it, better known as those 50/50 areas in terms of balls and strikes. The chase area which is a bit more outside of the strike zone and then the waste region which is self-explanatory. In the heart, chase and waste regions, Reynolds has a combined run value of 16 with the lowest in any of those three regions being 3. In the shadow, or effectively edges of the zone, his run value is -7.

He has seen 339 pitches in that region this year. His batting average on pitches thrown there is .237, swing percentage is 53.7 percent and whiff rate is 31.9 percent. Now I understand it is so much easier said than done, but if pitchers are cautious with Reynolds this series rather than attacking him consistently or completely working around him, they should be able to be successful against him all weekend.

Besides those two areas though, there are not really any offensive weaknesses to Reynolds’ game which is what makes him such a good hitter. He has struggled a bit against left-handed pitching this season, but over the course of his career, he has about even splits compared to facing left-handed vs right-handed pitchers.

Key matchup - Jack Flaherty - 24 AB’s - .167/.259/.292 - 0 HR’s - 1 BB - 6 K - Jack Flaherty is not the pitcher that he once was as highlighted by his 4.57 xERA, but he is still an effective starter who can get a club 5 to 6 decent innings. In order for Flaherty to get to that 5 to 6 inning mark though, he is going to have to succeed against Reynolds using his changeup that he has thrown 5.6 percent of the time to left-handed batters this season. With Reynolds struggling against the change up this season expect to see Flaherty throw him at least 3 times in an attempt to produce some weaker contact.