By TIM HAYS
Of the Keizertimes
Bryan Reynolds has finally arrived in Salem-Keizer.
The 2016 second round pick by the San Francisco Giants joined the Volcanoes last Thursday in Hillsboro. His home debut was Monday against the Vancouver Canadians.
A native of Brentwood, Tenn., Reynolds has grown up around baseball his whole life.
“Growing up I was playing with all my best friends,” he said. “We traveled all around Tennessee, and a few other states to play. It was really good to create a foundation for baseball, and I found some lasting relationships. That was probably the best time in baseball I’ve had so far.”
As a four-year letter winner in high school, Reynolds didn’t have to move too far from home. He attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, though not before a minor setback.
“My senior year I had shoulder surgery, and it only allowed me to play half of my last season in high school,” Reynolds said. “That could’ve been the reason I wasn’t heavily recruited.”
It didn’t seem to faze him all that much.
In his first ever game at Vanderbilt, Reynolds began his career with a pinch hit single, creating what was the first of many special moments for him.
During his freshman campaign, Reynolds led Vanderbilt’s 2014 National Championship team in batting average (.338) and slugging (.480). He was named to the Freshman All-American Team by Baseball America.
As a junior, Reynolds hit .330 with 32 extra-base hits and 57 RBIs in 62 games in 2016. He was selected to the All-SEC Second Team and finished second in the conference with 13 home runs and 49 walks.
“I think college is important for a lot of people,” Reynolds said. “It’s the time that I got better as a baseball player, because I was able to get more opportunities. Though, you also get to grow up as a person. You aren’t going to be with your family every night, and it sets a good base for the rest of your life, and for your career. The daily repetitions help you get through it all.”
In April, draft day went as expected and the center fielder was selected with the 59th overall pick.
“It was pretty exciting,” Reynolds said. “I got to spend it with my family, and a few of my friends. We watched it at my house, and just let it all unfold. It was a pretty stressful day, though, it was also pretty fun.”
Through Tuesday, Reynolds is hitting .316 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored.
“(The experience in Salem-Keizer) has been fun,” Reynolds said. “I’ve had the chance to go out and play every day with a great group of guys. It hasn’t been too crazy yet, though I’m sure it will pick up as we begin the long road trips ahead. It’s been a really good time, and I have really enjoyed it a lot.”