We are approaching the return of the St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospect as he looks to get on track following his return from his drug abuse suspension.
Things seemed to be moving at an extremely fast pace for the St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospect Alex Reyes. Some were even thinking the young right-hander could challenge for a spot out of Spring Training. However, that was all derailed when the kid from New Jersey and the Dominican Republic tested positive for Marijuana for the second time in his career.
This past weekend I had the chance to attend “Blogger Day” at Busch Stadium and had the opportunity to not only attend the game but also have access to a Q & A session with GM John Mozeliak and Team President Bill Dewitt III.
During this session, the question was posed about what was expected for Alex Reyes’ return. Mozeliak mentioned that Reyes is currently pitching in unofficial Gulf Coast League games and is dominating there which is to be expected.
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Mozeliak said the line from Reyes’ last start (Saturday, April 30th) was 6 IP 12 K 2 H 1 ER. That is a pretty good line for Reyes, but it is against much younger and lower quality opponents.
Mozeliak mentioned that Reyes will likely start in either AA Springfield or AAA Memphis with the possibility of making one start with the Palm Beach Cardinals just for convenience.
Mozeliak had very high praise for Reyes, saying that he is absolutely one of the top two pitching prospects that has come through the Cardinals’ system in the time that Mozeliak has been with the club. He mentioned that the only other pitcher that could rival his potential is what was seen in Rick Ankiel as he was moving through the Cardinals’ system as a pitcher.
According to Mozeliak, the team had the opportunity to prevent the suspension by putting Reyes on the 40-Man roster; but decided that wouldn’t be much of a lesson learned for Reyes. This shows the way the club feels about Reyes and his potential.
Personally, I believe that this is something that is absolutely going to help shape Reyes and help him mature and I am kind of glad he’s going through it. If the club had indeed protected him, it could have sent the wrong message to Reyes by making him feel almost “invincible”.
The goal for the team is to ultimately get Reyes to Memphis and it depends on where Farm Director Gary Larocque and the Pitching Coordinator feel like he needs to go and what level he is ready for. According to my count, we can probably expect Reyes back around May 19-20 depending on where he starts.
As long as Springfield doesn’t have any games postponed between now and then, I would expect him to be able to return there by May 19. If he is to start in Memphis, he would be on par to return by May 20. Either way, we can expect him to probably return to pitching on the 20th as that is how he lines up in terms of his rest, as Mozeliak mentioned he pitched Saturday, April 30.
Regardless of where he starts, the one thing everyone will be looking for is his command. Last season, Reyes had times where he would be lights out and strike out a ton, but Reyes still struggled with the walks quite a bit. This was evidenced in his 4.4 BB/9 last season. For Reyes to have much of a shot at making the major league team before September this is going to have to come down.
One thing is for sure, Reyes is an absolute elite talent and the future is very bright, and I for one can’t wait to be on “Alex Reyes Watch” again. Hopefully, I can make it down to Memphis for a game before he makes it up to the big leagues.