MLB Projections: The 2020 batting champion could be…

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cincinnati Reds on February 23, 2020 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cincinnati Reds on February 23, 2020 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

MLB Projections: The 2020 batting champion could be…

3. Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates

Bryan Reynolds made a serious run at the batting title as a rookie in 2019. He was hitting .330 in early September before a slump dropped him to a tie for sixth at .314.

With a full season under his belt, why shouldn’t the 25-year-old Reynolds build upon the base he laid down in 2019?

The elements appear to be in place and merely in need of refinement. Begin with his chase rate. Reynolds went out of the zone just 28 percent of the time in 2019.

His 89.6 mph exit velocity was solidly above average, as was his 41.7 hard-hit percentage.

All those figures display a maturity well in advance of normal for a first-year player.

Reynolds lit up fastballs to the tune of a .335 batting average. Against breaking balls, his .265 average indicates that he has room to grow, but the other components of his game suggest he will do so.

Related Story. MLB Projections: Top 10 outfielders for the 2020 season. light

While hardly an Olympic sprinter, he’s fast enough going home to first to rank among the game’s elite quarter. That means he’s fast enough to produce the scratch hits a batting champion needs to get now and then.

Given Pittsburgh’s rebuilding status, and Reynolds’s central role in that rebuilding, he’s guaranteed enough plate appearances to be viewed as a plausible 2020 batting title contender.