The St. Louis Cardinals have been waiting to get their former MLB top-15 prospect out of the box. With health in hand, Alex Reyes now has a role for the start of 2019.
The St. Louis Cardinals and their fans have been teased by the name Alex Reyes for about two and a half years at this point. Reyes was at one point rated as the number two right-handed pitching prospect in all of baseball. That was back in 2016.
From there, Reyes has had to deal with Tommy John surgery in 2017 which wiped out his entire year. Then, in 2018, after hearing how amazing he was pitching as he worked his way back up the minor league rehab starts, fans got to see just four innings of Reyes in June of 2018.
Reyes’ first start back was going alright but there was a scary and noticeable drop in velocity as the game went on. He was pulled in the fourth inning and it came out after the game that Reyes had torn his lat and would miss the rest of 2018. Talk about a buzzkill.
Reyes came into 2019 without a role and honestly without expectations. There were none, that is, pretty much until this report came out from Jenifer Langosch:
This report superseded a solid inning where Reyes had some control problems but did, in fact, look filthy with movement.
Since that first inning, Reyes has made two more relief appearances and now sits at a total of three innings this spring with a 3.00 ERA with four walks and three strikeouts. As with most pitchers in Spring, the stat line doesn’t matter nearly as much as the eye test does. And Reyes is passing the eye test with flying colors.
Now, something obviously telling about his role has been that Reyes has only been throwing one inning at a time. For a while, the team refused to comment, but recently, Mike Shildt officially said that Reyes was competing for a role in the bullpen.
Personally, my first reaction to this was disappointment, but it really shouldn’t have been. My disappointment comes from the fact that I wanna see Reyes start. Plain and simple. That being said, per John Mozeliak, Reyes was going to be on an innings limit of about 100-120 innings this year anyway.
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Just because Reyes starts as a reliever does not mean he can’t be stretched out to start later in the year, and we would all rather have him available down the stretch I’m sure. So starting in the bullpen doesn’t doom him there forever, Mo himself said he wants Reyes in the rotation in 2020 anyways.
Knowing that in the long term plan, Reyes will be aimed at starting is all I need to hear to be happy with a relief role for Reyes this year. He make a strong bullpen look even stronger. When you add to it that the fuzzy Carlos Martinez situation may end up with him in the bullpen too, all the sudden the bullpen looks to be a strength.
Imagine a bullpen that includes Reyes, Hicks, Martinez, and Miller…
At this point, I feel the Cardinals are ecstatic to get whatever they can out of Reyes. This year’s positive steps are huge as he was beginning to look like a lost cause. At 25, Reyes still has plenty of time to contribute and have a valuable career in the MLB. If he can stay healthy, 2019’s bullpen role will be a great first step.