It’s been a long time coming, but St. Louis Cardinals closer Alex Reyes is fully healthy and has been named to his first-ever All-Star Game.
Entering the regular season, the buzz surrounding St. Louis Cardinals right-handed reliever Alex Reyes was strong. He was projected to throw 100+ innings in a prominent relief role and, according to those closest to him, was primed for a breakout season now that he was finally healthy.
Oh, how that came true. Reyes, 26, was selected to his first career All-Star Game on Sunday, being the only Cardinals player besides Nolan Arenado to make the National League roster.
It’s a remarkable story and one of perseverance. Reyes was once a highly desired prospect, only to deal with a multitude of injuries before he could showcase that talent in the rotation, and some wondered if his caeeer would ever be the same. But the Cardinals moved him to the bullpen this season, believing that he could be a dominant multi-inning reliever in high leverage situations, and he has more than delivered.
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Reyes has a 1.12 ERA and 53/31 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40.1 innings. He is one of only two relievers to not blow a save, with the other being Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Josh Hader, and looks like a long-term building block for the Cardinals.
The only question surrounding Reyes, besides health, is where he figures into those plans. There is an increasing likelihood that he is playing his way into the 2022 rotation, where he would most likely line up behind ace Jack Flaherty. But if the Cardinals want to keep him in the bullpen, they could pursue rotation upgrades in the offseason, with local native Max Scherzer being one of many options the team can and most likely will consider.
For now, however, Reyes has settled in beautifully to his ninth inning role. And not only has he emerged as the Cardinals best reliever, but he’s also one of baseball’s best — and his All-Star bid confirmed it.