By Ben Fischer
University of Maryland
July 11, 2018
HYANNIS – After Ryan Reynolds (Texas) drove in three runs against the Orleans Firebirds on Tuesday, Cotuit Kettleers coach Mike Roberts said he liked that Reynolds “scared people” at the plate. While the Kettleers dropped their Wednesday matchup with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, Reynolds continued to inspire fear at the plate, registering two hits including a double.
The multi-hit performance continues Reynolds excellent week. In his last six at-bats, Reynolds has registered a home run, a double and three RBI.
“I’m just trying to keep it simple. Eliminate all the movement and keep my head still,” Reynolds said. “Most of all, I’m just swinging at pitches I can handle. I’m making sure not to swing at pitcher’s pitches or pitches outside the zone.”
In addition to the intimidation factor Reynolds brings, Roberts praised Reynolds for his fundamental changes at the plate in his time in Cotuit.
“I like what I’m seeing,” Roberts said. “His swing is more compact than it was when he arrived. His stride is now pretty much gone. He’s sitting a lot more still and looking a lot more like Justin Smoak than he was. When you sit still at the plate as a big guy like he is and you keep you’re swing compact, good things are going to happen.”
Smoak, a 9-year MLB veteran, was an All-Star in 2017 for the Toronto Blue Jays, and ended the year with 38 home runs and 90 RBI. As a collegian at South Carolina, Smoak spent the summer of 2006 playing for the Kettleers, taking home Cape League MVP.
While lofty, the comparison to Smoak seems accurate; both are switch-hitting corner infielders with power, although Smoak (6’4, 220 lbs) is slightly bigger than Reynolds (6’2, 215). Reynolds potential versatility as a right-handed thrower makes up for the size difference, as he could potentially play both corner infield positions. While he could move across the diamond, Roberts is confident that Reynolds could reach the next level at the hot corner.
“He’s great defensively,” Roberts said. “I haven’t seen many guys in my 15 years in Cotuit who I think can play professional third base right way, but I think he could.”
While Reynolds has an excellent baseball pedigree as the son of a major leaguer (his father Shane Reynolds played 13 years in the bigs), he said that his defense is more a product of hard work than talent.
“I work on defense everyday,” Reynolds said. “I’ve been taught from a young age that defense is all mentality and hustle. Defense is something you can always be good at and I take a lot of pride in it.”