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Sean Reynolds was picked by the Marlins in the 4th round of the 2016 draft. Through 2 1/2 professional seasons he has split time between the Gulf Coast and NY PENN Leagues. He has slugged 13 HR, 15 doubles, 5 triples, and 59 RBI. I was fortunate enough to witness him pound his 7th and 8th home runs of this season on Sunday July 22. He hit both shots to almost the same spot, directly into the power alley of RC field, right at the scoreboard.
Sean was an interesting choice and draft pick by the Marlins. They saw him blast baseballs 400 feet in high school. They also saw him throw a 7-0 record, strike out 73 batters in 57 innings, a 1.23 ERA as a pitcher and reach back and throw the ball 92 mph. At 6′ 7″ he’d be the ideal fit as the Marlins tend to favor tall athletic pitching prospects. It was his bat though that Marlins vice president of scouting, Stan Meek, liked the most about Sean. He is quoted as saying “We like the bat, there’s power in it. He’s an aggressive kid and makes good contact. There’s definitely a chance for him to be developed as a power hitter.”
His size, swing and defensive style have been compared to Richie Sexon and John Olerud, good company to be compared with.
I sat down with Sean after his batting practice session on Saturday, July 21st. His 6′ 7″ frame towered above me. His long extended arm pointed downward toward me as we shook hands. He was friendly, enthusiastic, and open to talk about his role and development within the Marlins organization, the Batavia Muckdogs, and the minor leagues.
MF: I think the Marlins saw two possibilities in you when they drafted you in 2016. One, the player we’re seeing now, first baseman with an aggressive swing, power and pop in his bat, good OPS and hitting stats that continue to climb. What a lot of fans might not know is that you were a very good high school pitching prospect as well. Did the Marlins ever take a look at you as pitcher?
SR: They knew I could pitch and some scouts talked to me about that possibility, but the Marlins saw me for what I really am. A 6′ 7″ first baseman with a power lefty swing. They’ve developed me as hitter and saw my future more as a hitter than on the mound.
MF: You bat left but throw right. Is this something natural you’ve always done?
SR: Hitting is the only thing I do as a lefty. Everything else I do is right handed. My dad said when I was 2-3 years old I picked up a wiffle ball bat and started swinging it as a lefty. No one ever tried to change that about me, so I’m a lefty at the plate.
MF: What brand of bat are you using?
SR: Right now I’m swinging Old Hickory maple bats. But I do have some Victus, Rawlings, and Homewood Bats as well. I like a bat with a thin handle and big barrel and when I pick one out I know when it feels just right in my hands.
MF: This your second summer in Batavia and the NY PENN League. You’re now playing against some fresh rookies and some players with 2-3 years of professional experience. What are some of the challenges you’re still facing?
SR: With that fresh talent, there’s always good fresh arms. You’re a pro if you’re here. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new player and this is your first taste, it’s pretty much an even playing field.
MF: Nothing is easy in baseball, especially the minor leagues. However after two seasons now in Batavia have you found it easier to adjust to life in Western NY and life on the road?
SR: The bus trips aren’t that bad. Our longest trip is around 6 1/2 hours, most are shorter drives. The buses certainly weren’t made for guys like me (6′ 7″) to get comfortable on and stretch out. Life in this area is good. It’s a small city but it has everything you need and the community has been very welcoming of us.
MF: After a long day of instruction, practice, then a game, what do you do to relax in your limited free time?
SR: I catch up on my sleep when I can. I love to listen to music.
MF: What kind of music would I find on your phone?
SR: I like a little of everything. Country, classic rock, some oldies, I love just about anything from the 60’s, 70’s & 80″s
MF: What’s some of the best advice you’ve been given by someone in the Marlins organization?
SR: Our manager, Mike Jacobs has been a great influence and example for us to follow. He knows how to teach, has a lot of stories and experience. He’s got recent MLB experience and finished his career with 100 home runs. He always tells me it’s a results based game. He’s a big advocate that when you’re in slump or missing the ball, to remind you not to panic and don’t try to make big adjustments to your approach at the plate. He’ll say the hits will come and that good swings will turn into hits.
MF: Who was your favorite baseball player as a kid?
SR: David Ortiz. My parents lived in New Hampshire for a while before moving to California. My sister lives in Boston, so there was a lot of Red Sox influence when I was younger.
MF: Then I think I know the answer to this, what is your favorite MLB Ballpark?
SR: Oh yeah, Fenway Park
MF: Favorite ballpark food or treat?
SR: Hot dogs – Fenway Franks
MF: What’s better spring baseball or fall baseball?
SR: Fall ball. If you’re still playing in the fall that means you’ve had a good season and you’re part of the post season.
MF: Day games or night games?
SR: Night games. There’s nothing like playing under the lights. The crowds are bigger and the atmosphere has a little more energy to it.
MF: A silly question, yet a baseball one, would you rather sing the National Anthem or dance with the team mascot?
SR: (laughing) I’m not much of a dancer, so I’d rather sing.
MF: A debate I’m stirring up between pitchers and hitters. Why is it called the foul pole?
SR: Ooh, good question, I don’t know, is there a right answer? It’s a home run if you hit it, I’ve never been asked that before.
Sean Reynolds’ offensive stats have continued to climb as he gets more at bats, sees more pitches and faces righties and lefties on a regular basis. His defense is excellent. With his long legs and tall frame, he easily stretches and scoops low throws and turns them into outs. He is vocal on the field and in constant communication with the coaches in the dugout and relays info to the outfield. As I witnessed, Sean is always trying to improve his swing. After BP and before the game he was working individually with Batavia hitting coach, Jesus Merchan then with manager Mike Jacobs. Jacobs was also a first baseman who had the uniqueness of throwing right and batting left. It’s no surprise that Sean respects and looks to his manager for guidance and help to advance his career in baseball.