SNY.tv's Rob Brender caught up with Reynolds recently to discuss his season so far, not being promoted yet and sharing his bat with former teammate Steven Matz...
Brender: You went from having one of the youngest teams in the Pacific Coast League at the start of the season to now having several more veteran players and a much older team. Must feel like a completely different dynamic in the clubhouse?
Reynolds: Yeah, you hit the nail right on the head. We had a really young team and we went through some struggles because you’re facing a lot of veterans in this league. Now that the team is a little bit older, we’re able to handle our struggles a little bit better because a lot of guys have been through struggles before and they know what to do to get out of it. It’s nice to have those guys around.
Brender: As one of the younger guys on the team, do you make the effort to go to the older guys and ask for advice and ask about the big leagues?
Reynolds: Yeah, we’re always talking about the game and always trying to get a leg up on the competition. (Dillon) Gee has been really good about talking about the big leagues and how it is up there and their approach as a pitcher and what they’re trying to do up there. They definitely help you out mentally and physically in the game.
Brender: Any differences from last year to this year in what you’re seeing from pitchers in the PCL and how they’re attacking you?
Reynolds: Honestly, I don’t see much difference. Obviously, my numbers last year were a little bit better. I feel like I’ve done really well this year but I’ve had a lot of bad luck. I’ll go weeks with lining out two or three times a game and, next thing you know, some people say it’s a slump but I’ve felt really good all year. The numbers may not be where I want them to be but mentally and physically at the plate, I feel as good as I did last year.
Brender: Is it hard to keep your confidence level up when you don’t see the hits falling?
Reynolds: Yeah it is but, at the same time, it’s part of the job and if you want to be successful at this game you have to deal with it and be able to just move on and not worry about the stats. Just worry about your process of getting ready for each at-bat. It gets tough sometimes but for the most part I just try to focus on the process and make sure that I’m going through the right process. If I’m not, then I make an adjustment.
Brender: You’ve been in Triple-A for some time and you see your friends going to the major leagues regularly. Does it get frustrating not getting to call up?
Reynolds: There was a point where I was a little frustrated and Wally (Backman) sat me down and had a talk with me. He told me my time is coming and you just have to be patient. It helped me out at that point because this is my first time really being in a situation where I have a chance to get called up. So, it’s a whole new territory for me. I’m learning on the go and I’ve gotten a lot better mentally of not worrying about what’s going on up there only worrying about what I can control down here.
Brender: It must have made you feel good to read messages from fans who are clamoring to see you in the big leagues?
Reynolds: I have to block that out somewhat because I’m not up there, I’m down here and I still have to perform well. So, I take it with a grain of salt. I’m glad there are people who want me up there but, at the same time, I still need to get better down here and work.
Brender: How has your working relationship with Wally been? Does he help you regularly with your game?
Reynolds: Yeah, he’s helped me out a lot with my approach at the plate. Whenever he sees something he doesn’t hesitate to tell me because we have a trusted relationship since I played half a year for him last year. He’s great. If I feel something I go up to him and talk to him and ask him if he sees something. He’ll tell me (what the problem is) and, next thing you know, I’m back on track where I need to be.
Brender: I heard you gave Steven Matz the bat that he used in his big league debut. What was the story behind that?
Reynolds: Pretty much all year he’s been going, ‘hey Matty, when am I going to get one of those bats?’ I said, ‘hey man, bats aren’t easy to come by right now.’ Then, when we were in Salt Lake, all the rumors were going around that he was getting called up and then he finally got told and he was looking at my bats. I said, ‘go ahead and take one. Just use it in your debut and rake.’ He did exactly what I said.
Brender: Would you have given it away if you knew it had that many hits in it?
Reynolds: Hell no, I need those hits, not him.
Brender: How amazed were you to see him go 3-for-3?
Reynolds: Honestly, I really wasn’t surprised. The guy swings it. He’s just an absolute athlete. I think he was hitting over .300 in Vegas. So, to see him go up there, on the biggest stage, and have three hits didn’t surprise me. The bigger the game, the bigger his performance is.