In the final entry of our “Top Prospects” series, we take a look at the absolute best prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals system right now.
This is a disappointing day, we have finally reached the end of our St. Louis Cardinals “Top Prospects” series. However, all good things must come to an end, and we will definitely be finishing things off with a bang tonight. We finish things off with not just a really good pitcher, but a pitcher who has the potential to absolutely dominate at the major league level for years to come.
The Cardinals for years now have been developing really good pitchers. We have seen the likes of Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, even Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright come up through the system in the past ten years. Only a couple of those pitchers can truly claim elite status, but Alex Reyes can and his potential is through the roof.
So, what makes Reyes so great?
#1 Alex Reyes SP
Scout Grade: Fastball 60/65, Curveball 50/60, Changeup 45/50, Command 45+, Future Value 60*
Analysis: This one is no contest. Reyes is without a doubt the best prospect in the Cardinals’ system. Despite the drug suspension, Reyes is still one of the best prospects in baseball and is still #1 in the Cardinals’ system.
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Just recently, both Baseball Prospectus and MLB have rated Reyes #10 and #13 respectively on their top 100 prospects list. This is high praise, as not many prospects get the chance to say they were included on a top 100 list. Reyes is the only Cardinal on the Baseball Prospectus list and joins fellow Cardinals’ Prospect Jack Flaherty on MLB’s list.
In 2015, he blew through the Florida State League amassing a 2.26 ERA and a 13.6 K/9 and despite struggling at the beginning of his time with AA Springfield, he eventually dominated there as well finishing with a 3.12 ERA and a 13.5 K/9.
Reyes features a four seam fastball that reaches triple digits at times and has an easy looking delivery. Reyes was highly regarded as the best pitcher in all of the Arizona Fall League until his suspension came down. Derek Shore of Scout.com had this to say about Reyes’ repertoire:
“Already with an electric arm, Reyes has added a Carlos Martinez-influenced sinker to his power arsenal. This is a ground-ball pitch he will need low in the zone to offer hitters a contrast to a riding four-seamer. Reyes backs those pitches up with a true 12-6 hammer – a pitch so good he can use it to get ahead in counts.”
I would like the club to have Reyes get a better hold of his command before he gets called up, as the walks are a bit of an issue at this point for him right now, as is evidenced by his BB/9 of over 4.00 at both levels.
Kiley McDaniel formerly of FanGraphs and now a scout within the Atlanta Braves front office had this to say of Reyes’ fastball “The fastball is so explosive out of Reyes’ hand that the movement varies from pitch to pitch.” McDaniel mentioned that while he may be a 60 FV player right now, as he continues to progress and improve he very well may be up to about a 70.
McDaniel also, mentions that right now that Reyes is a building command pitcher, saying that he starts out at around 40 and progresses to about a 50-55 as the game progresses. This is interesting, as it plays to a guy who is still young and will need some refinement.
I can quote all of the scouts that have seen Reyes and they will all say the same thing, Reyes is an elite talent an could be one of the best pitchers in the game someday. Reyes has owned up to the mistakes he made and is ready to get to work in 2016. This will be an interesting year for him for sure.
Roster Prediction: AAA Memphis
This is a bold prediction, but I think Reyes is ready for the next level. He still tallied the strikeouts in AA (a hitter’s league and park), and despite the walks still dominated the majority of his starts. I could see the club doing either with Reyes at this point, but this is what makes sense to me. They will want to push him with him missing time with the suspension and I think AAA is a good spot for him.
John Mozeliak called his recent suspension a “significant speed bump” in his eventual ascension to the Major Leagues. Reyes will not be able to participate in Major League spring training and won’t be able to pitch in a competitive baseball game until May.
This likely will hold him back until September, as I am sure the team would like to have build up some innings in either AA or AAA before he can make it up to the big club. The good thing in the suspension, is that it builds in a natural innings cap for Reyes.
This list has been a lot of fun, I hope that you have learned a lot as much about this system as I have during this time. The end result is that I believe this system is better than some think. I plan on updating this list midseason, as we will maybe have a few players who fall out and few players to rise up into the top 30 by that time. We will also be talking about the players who missed out on the top 30, who are still strong players in this system.
If you have missed any of the “Top Prospects” series, you can check them out here.
Scout Grades via Fangraphs