When searching for a diamond in the rough during the Amateur draft, what teams look for are quality athletes capable of rising to the challenge and reaching more than just their potential. It looks even better when these athletes have shown even in college just how good they can become. When the Mets considered signing infielder Matt Reynolds, he came with a great college resume, with winning many awards including leading his team in the three triple crown categories with a .323 batting average, seven homers and 45 RBI. He also finished tied for the team lead with 20 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI performances. These were accomplishments he was very proud of but one stood out from the rest, “Being named an All American was probably my favorite accomplishment”, says Reynolds.
The versatile infielder was signed by the Mets in the 2nd round of the 2012 June Amateur draft out of the University of Arkansas. The Mets then sent him to Savannah and in 42 games he batted .259, with 18 runs scored, 8 doubles, 3 home runs and 13 runs batted in. In 2013, he was promoted to St. Lucie and in 117 games he batted .226, with 59 runs, 21 doubles, 5 home runs, 49 runs batted in. Reynolds was sent to Binghamton for three games at the end of the season, then enjoyed being on the team to share in their playoff run, “It was a great feeling to get promoted and be a part of that team. They had a special run this past year and hopefully next year we can make it even deeper into the playoffs”, says Reynolds.
Reynolds was ranked #18 among Mets prospects by MLB.com entering the 2013 season. Along with improving on his offensive numbers from 2012, he played a solid defense at shortstop with St. Lucie, with 57 double play’s, a .957 fielding percentage and made a great up the middle combination with fellow teammate T.J. Rivera. For 2014, the defensive minded infielder has a goal in mind, “I hope to keep learning and improving my game,” says Reynolds. Hunger for success comes from determination, especially when a player has already experienced it.
Mets keep stacking up on good quality talent; look forward to watching Reynolds development continue straight to the majors.
Enjoy our conversation:
David – Is there something that you would like to share with the Mets fans that they do not already know about you? Your interests, hobbies outside of baseball?
Matt - One of my favorite things to do outside of baseball is to go hunting. I picked up this hobby last off season and now go hunting with my brother-in-law almost every weekend.
David – Did you have a favorite player growing up and if so, did you model your game after him?
Matt - My favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter. I really enjoyed watching him go about his business and how he always acted as a true professional.
David – What did it mean to you when you were named Team Captain in College?
Matt - It was an honor because it meant my teammates had respect for me and looked at me as a leader of the team.
David – Who was a most influential person for you while playing at the University of Arkansas?
Matt - My hitting coach Todd Butler. He turned me into the player I am today and taught me the things I needed to know to continue my career in professional baseball.
David – On the day that you were drafted by the Mets in 2012; where were you when you received the news? Can you describe what was going through your mind and who was the first person you called?
Matt - I was with my girlfriend, at her apartment watching the draft on the computer. My mind was racing and didn’t know what to expect because my agent was calling me every five minutes with information. The second I was drafted I called my mom and dad. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.
David – In 2012, you played your first pro baseball season with Savannah, what was the experience like and how can you compare it to playing in college?
Matt - It was a great experience. It was a lot different going from college where we took charted planes to all our away games, to pro ball where we had 10 hour bus rides.
David – Which part of your game do you think improved the most from 2012? What part do you feel you need to put more work into?
Matt - I think I improved in every aspect of my game, but I also think that I need to keep working on every aspect because you can never be complacent in this game.
David – Looking back at the 2013 season, St. Lucie came so close to making the playoffs, what can you take away from the season?
Matt - It was a fun season full of a lot highs and a lot of lows. It really taught me how to not worry about the past or the future and just focus on what was happening right then and there.
David – What teammate has impressed you the most this season, and who should Mets fans be most excited about seeing in the future?
Matt - There’s a lot of players that impressed me but the one who impressed me the most would have to be Dustin Lawley. His ability to hit and hit with power is amazing and is something very special.
David – When the off-season arrives, what do you look forward to doing the most? Family time, friends time, or just rest?
Matt - I look forward to getting back home and seeing my family. There is nothing better than being home for a while so my mom can spoil me with her great cooking.
David - How will you prepare over the winter; can you describe your workout regimen?
Matt - I will be in Fayetteville, AR training with a few other pro players. We work out 5-6 days a week.
Thank you Matt for sharing your accomplishments and journey with the Mets fans. 2014 looks to be one of the most exciting seasons that the Mets farm teams will have. To be able to witness how much the talent has grown and continue to develop will excite any Mets fan. I wish Reynolds good luck and continued success as he makes his way through the Mets farm system and eventually to his major league debut.
(Photo – Courtesy of Matt Reynolds Twitter Page)