VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Disclaimer: It’s still very early in the Major League Baseball season.
However, if the playoffs started today (they don’t), the Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers would all advance to the postseason in the National League. Carrying those teams to fast starts? The guys carrying big sticks – and coming from Virginia Beach.
Mark Reynolds, Ryan Zimmerman, Chris Taylor. Three major leaguers, all alumni of Virginia Beach high schools who later played at Virginia and each lighting up baseball box scores.
Reynolds, the First Colonial high school product, entered Tuesday evening with 11 hits in his last five games – including home runs in four straight. He’s hitting .333 with 12 home runs and 30 RBIs. Not bad for a guy who had to settle for a minor league contract in order to return to the Rockies in 2017.
“The offseason was tough,” admitted Reynolds. “The market got pretty watered down with players like myself. I felt like this was the best opportunity for me to make a team. If you want to play, you have to produce – especially in my situation. I’m just trying to produce every night and hopefully be in there the next day.”
The only national leaguer with more home runs this season than Reynolds’ 12 entering Tuesday night? The 13 long balls of Kellam high alumnus Ryan Zimmerman. The reigning N.L. player of the month leads all of Major League Baseball in batting average, hits and runs batted in. He’s currently hitting .410 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs.
Not to be outdone: Chris Taylor. The Cox high school graduate entered Tuesday with three home runs and 12 RBIs in just 38 at bats this year – including Monday’s grand slam vs. the Pirates. Taylor, hitting .385 on the young season, had just one homer in his first three MLB seasons.
“I think he has the ability to cover more pitches and handle velocity now,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts about Taylor. “With the rhythm in his swing and just mechanically – he’s much more sound and athletic.”
Taylor, Zimmerman, Reynolds – three local products on baseball’s biggest stage making sure life’s not a beach for opposing pitchers.