Reynolds' Development Spurred

DAYTONA BEACH – As the son of a former major league hitter, Kyle Reynolds did not have to look very far for some friendly coaching advice when he decided to pursue his own professional baseball career.

Former big league infielder Craig Reynolds was a first-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971 that went on to play parts of 15 seasons in the major leagues, primarily with the Houston Astros. Near the end of his 1983 season with Houston, Reynolds' son, Kyle, was born.

Some 24 years later, Kyle Reynolds is trying to develop into his own big league player with the Cubs' Class A affiliate in the Florida State League.

And as the temperatures and various pennant races around baseball have started to heat up this summer, so has the younger Reynolds.

Since the second half began, Reynolds has hit .330 (31-for-94), including .364 through 17 games in July. Overall this season, he has hit .283 in 69 games. With 10 round-trippers and 42 runs driven in, Reynolds has already eclipsed his home run and RBI totals from a season ago at Class-A Peoria – his first full year with the Cubs.

"It's just little things," says Reynolds, a sixth-round Cubs draft pick from Baylor in 2005. "When you're hitting the ball well at the plate, all you have to worry about is seeing the ball and hitting it. Now I'm more focused on getting a pitch to hit and putting it in play. That wasn't the case in the first half."

And although his father enjoyed a career in professional baseball that spanned nearly three decades, it has been the help of another former major league hitter – Daytona hitting coach Richie Zisk – that has helped spur Reynolds' development at the plate in recent weeks.

"Richie has him back up on top of the ball and now he can drive it," explained Daytona manager Jody Davis, himself a former big leaguer.

Davis was Reynolds' manager last season in the Midwest League and has seen the hard work that his starting third baseman has put in with the Daytona coaching staff this season.

"He's swinging the bat a lot better (and) he's on top a lot more now," Davis notes. "Last year, he was hitting a lot of long fly balls and would get in a spurt where he would hit a couple of home runs. But for the most part, he was getting under the ball and putting it in the air a lot."

Reynolds has to remind himself of that whenever things start to go sour.

"When I'm going badly, we talk a lot about swing plane and getting more on top of the ball," said Reynolds, who hit just .230 in 99 games a season ago.

"It has helped me to hit the ball on a line (drive basis) a lot more lately. The balls that were pop-ups because I missed a little bit are now home runs, and the ones that I square up are solid line drives," he added.

That's where Zisk's tutoring has helped the most.

"Richie has been great," Reynolds said. "He knows so much about hitting and it's great to know that he has my back and will let me know what's going on out there."

Defensively, Reynolds has been moved around quite a bit in the infield since joining the Cubs two years ago in an effort to find him a more permanent spot. He has been Daytona's starting third baseman all season, but still appreciates the time that he's spent elsewhere around the diamond – such as shortstop, third base, second, and first – since being drafted.

"It's been great having a chance to play at third every day this year," Reynolds said of manning the hot corner. "Last year, I kind of bumped around a lot between short and third. In the minor leagues, it's good to be able to get a lot of time everywhere because when a big league spot opens up, you never know where it's going to be."

With such a hot streak since the break, does that mean Reynolds is starting to look ahead? Four of his Daytona teammates were promoted to Double-A Tennessee this week in a plethora of second-half roster shufflings.

"I can't really worry about the future right now," he offered. "The most important thing is just to get your at-bats and get your experience. For me, it really doesn't matter whether that's here, at Double-A or Triple-A as long as I'm getting ready for the big leagues."

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