St. Louis Cardinals: Not Rushing Alex Reyes is the Right Move

Alex Reyes records his first win on the season for the Memphis Redbirds on 6/1/16. Photo credit: Roger Cotton via Memphis Redbirds.
Alex Reyes records his first win on the season for the Memphis Redbirds on 6/1/16. Photo credit: Roger Cotton via Memphis Redbirds. /

With a struggling St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation, it is only natural to look for relief. This is especially so when that relief is one of the top prospects in the league. However, this is not something that should be done just yet.

The hype for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Alex Reyes is real. He is absolutely going to be a fantastic pitcher. Currently, he is three starts into his season with AAA Memphis and is carving up the Pacific Coast League as he has gone 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and struck out 26 batters.

Those are some pretty good numbers for the young right-hander. However, looking at Reyes’ history and numbers in the past it is obvious that Reyes still needs to continue to learn the art of pitching. In the Major Leagues, he won’t get by on stuff alone like he may be able to in the minors.

The Cardinals have plenty examples in front of them of rushing a top pitching prospect to the league too quickly. Marco Gonzales came up in 2014, a year after being drafted and hasn’t been able to stay healthy since the 2014 rookie campaign. Michael Wacha was rushed through the system in 2013 and while he dazzled at first, he hasn’t been able to find consistency in his major league career. 

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Julio Urias, the Dodgers’ top prospect from Cuba has absolutely dominated AAA this season through seven starts. He had a 1.10 ERA and 44 strikeouts in those seven starts and one relief appearance. This dominance was reason enough for the Dodgers to call the dominant lefty up when Kenta Maeda went down with an injury.

However, the 19-year-old has struggled in his two starts in the majors, as he has allowed nine runs on 13 hits in just 13.2 IP. While this isn’t the largest of sample sizes, it is evident that the Cardinals are right for showing patience with their prized prospect.

If you want more evidence, then we can look at Carlos Martinez‘s numbers from 2014 in his first extended look as a starter. Martinez started seven games that season, and in those seven starts he went 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.639 WHIP. Now, those starts were sporadic as Martinez never really had a “permanent starting role” that year.

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All of this adds up to there needing to be the right amount of caution for a potential call-up of Alex Reyes. He’s a stud in the making for sure, and while I don’t know if I can bear yet another dreadful start from Michael Wacha — it simply isn’t time yet.