Cardinals: Alex Reyes making case for best reliever in National League
Is Alex Reyes the best reliever in the National League? The Cardinals pitcher is making a pretty convincing argument.
When the St. Louis Cardinals named Alex Reyes their closer, saying that they envisioned him pitching 100+ innings out of the bullpen, they hoped that he would break out into a dominant closer.
They couldn’t have ever envisioned anything like this.
We have documented Reyes’ season plenty. We have heard from Jon Heyman of MLB Network how Reyes, who owns a 0.47 ERA in 17 games, looks like a “dominant” closer. Add Katie Woo of The Athletic to the mix, who says that he looks like a “completely different pitcher with that revamped slider,” and that was on full display in the first game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Reyes, 26, struck out five batters in two innings against the Brewers, throwing six straight sliders and making opposing hitters look silly. He stranded the inherited runner on second base in the 11th inning, sealing the win after Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill put the Cardinals up 6-1. In what has been a brilliant season for Reyes, this was perhaps his best performance of the season, and allowed the Cardinals to become the third team in baseball to reach the 20-win threshold.
Reyes’ dominance has completely transformed the Cardinals bullpen and makes what is currently the most dangerous team in the National League even more dangerous. His success in the ninth inning, converting 10 out of 10 saves, has allowed the team to bounce back from a slow start and hold a three game lead over the Brewers entering game two of the series on Wednesday.
The key for Reyes will always be to stay healthy. His long list of injuries are what have prevented him from being a frontline starter, though the Cardinals haven’t ruled anything out beyond 2021. But if he is able to stay healthy, he could emerge into one of the game’s best relievers, if he hasn’t done so already.