St. Louis Cardinals: This Team Needs Alex Reyes
Following an historic 2015 season in which the St. Louis Cardinals starting pitching carried the club to 100 wins, that unit looks lost and depleted through the first two months of 2016.
The St. Louis Cardinals have gotten quality starts in just 22 of their 47 contests so far in 2016. That’s good for 47%.
A season ago, they got 106 quality starts in 162 opportunities, good for 65% of games played.
Were the Cardinals to have only gotten quality starts in 47% of their 162-game schedule a season ago, they would have finished with just 76, tied with Minnesota for 20th in Major League Baseball.
Clearly, the rotation isn’t getting it done, even with a somewhat retooled and resurgent offense doing everything it can to bail them out.
Mike Leake has been the best arm the past couple of weeks after his troubling start. Adam Wainwright, similar story.
Jaime Garcia has experienced mixed results (2-2 record, 3.38 ERA) while Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez have been brutal through pretty much the entirety of the month of May.
That Wacha/Martinez combo (both of whom were all-star selections a season ago) has combined to go 0-9 this month with a 7.06 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over 51 innings in ten starts.
I don’t think any further elaboration is needed to illustrate how rough things have been for those two of late.
So where does Alex Reyes come into the picture?
Well, we all know that he was dominant in his 2016 debut with Memphis to the tune of eight strikeouts over four innings back on Sunday.
It is very likely that we first see Reyes working out of the bullpen, maybe much sooner than later in this 2016 season. But I think that he should first be utilized as a starter, possibly at the expense of either Wacha or Martinez.
I think that this strategy accomplishes a couple of things. It challenges and sends a message to the guy that loses starts to Reyes, and it gives you a very good measure of what the Cardinals might be able to get out of what they believe to be their frontline arm of the future.
Relegation to the bullpen could be the shot in the arm that either Wacha or Martinez (or both) need, and a couple of big performances from Reyes could jolt the entire ball club that just can’t seem to put any kind of consistent effort together.
Of course, this is all in a perfect world. It is far from guaranteed that Reyes would be highly successful transitioning to Major League hitters.
There would certainly be the possibility of killing his confidence, were he to go out and get shelled in a couple of starts at the sometimes fragile age of 21.
But even if he isn’t great as a starter, you still send a message to your guys that 2015 is in the past, and it’s going to take a better effort this year if they are going to be a part of the long-term plans around St. Louis. And you can always move him to the bullpen.
Wacha and Martinez’s next starts are going to be very important factors in how the Reyes situation develops, in my opinion.
Next: Bad Starting Pitching is Dragging this Team Down
Stay tuned to see how things play out. We are going to see Reyes in 2016, and I think that it’s going to be pretty darn soon. If it were up to me, it would be as a starting pitcher.