The 2021 MLB Playoffs are in full swing.
For many teams, that means it’s the most exciting time of the year.
But for others, it means the offseason is already here.
The Pittsburgh Pirates fall into the second category.
The club had a rough 2021 campaign, and contending for a playoff bid never looked like a real possibility.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad.
One player in particular gave the organization a reason to smile throughout the year: Bryan Reynolds.
Reynolds cracked his first career All-Star team in 2021, and when you look at the season he had, it’s not far-fetched to think that he could receive some MVP votes.
Let’s take a look back at what he accomplished this season.
Looking Back On Reynolds’ MVP-Caliber Campaign
Let’s get something out of the way: Reynolds isn’t actually going to win the National League MVP award.
Plus, even if Reynolds’ regular-season production had been on par with some of the top candidates, his case to win the award would have been damaged by the Pirates’ 101-loss season.
But still, Reynolds will likely pop up on a ballot or two, and that’s something he certainly deserves.
The 26-year-old had the best year of his young career in 2021.
He slashed .302/.390/.522 and posted a 146 OPS+.
He homered 24 times, doubled 35 times, and tripled eight times.
Bryan Reynolds makes it a dozen! 😱 pic.twitter.com/tjs5YvHo1b
— MLB (@MLB) August 14, 2021
He also racked up a very impressive WAR of 6.0.
It was a great season for the youngster from the gate.
Plus, he gave fans a fun final month of the season despite the Pirates’ shortcomings.
Reynolds batted .337 with a 1.056 OPS, three homers, six doubles, and three triples over his final 26 games.
If you shrink the sample size to his final 10 games, he posted an absurd batting average of .467 and an equally impressive OPS of 1.296.
That’s quite the way to enter the offseason.
The Pirates Have Reynolds Under Club Control For Multiple Years
The Pirates are several years into an agonizing rebuild, but Reynolds represents a bright future for the organization.
Pittsburgh has the former second-round pick under club control until 2026.
Reynolds has completed just three seasons at the MLB level, so he figures to get even better over time.
Needless to say, that’s great news for the Pirates.
The Vanderbilt University product seems like the real deal.
Even before his outstanding 2021 season, he looked like a promising player.
Sure, he struggled in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but in his rookie season in 2019, he posted an OPS of .880, OPS+ of 130, and WAR of 4.2.
#Pirates OF Bryan Reynolds finished 4th for NL Rookie of the Year
— Jason Shetler (@Jason_Shetler) November 11, 2019
All signs point to Reynolds having a fantastic career at the MLB level.
Pittsburgh will likely be his home for many of his best years.
Where will Reynolds go from here?
That’s the big question.
After posting some elite numbers in 2021, there are really only three things he can do in 2022: regress, maintain his success, or get even better.
He seems to be on a great trajectory, and folks in Pittsburgh are optimistic that he will continue to grow into a superstar.
If nothing else, Reynolds’ potential leap will be an interesting storyline for Pirates fans to monitor next season.