Alex Reyes is a dominant reliever, but the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander says he wants to be a starter next season.
Entering the regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals expected Alex Reyes to take a leap moving from the rotation to the bullpen. The result has been Reyes turning into one of baseball’s most dominant relievers, evidenced by an invitation to the All-Star Game, and helping keep a Cardinals pitching staff that has been devastated by injuries afloat.
But Reyes hopes to move back to the rotation at some point, perhaps as early as 2022, he told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
It fits what some in the Cardinals organization have projected for Reyes’ future. They hoped that being in the bullpen this season would lessen the strain on his arm and allow him to stay healthy while showcasing the kind of talent that the team hoped for when they brought him to the organization a few years ago. But no one with the team would commit to what his role would look like after 2021, in large part because they wanted to see how he looked this season and whether or not he would stay healthy.
But it’s hard to watch Reyes this season and not wonder what it would look like having him atop the rotation alongside Jack Flaherty. They are among the most talented young pitchers in baseball and both have had sustained periods of dominance in their respective roles. The Cardinals believe that Reyes’ dominance would transition to the rotation – it’s just a matter of whether he can stay healthy in a 150+ inning role.
It’s a good problem for the Cardinals to have, with the team essentially choosing between having a dominant starter or reliever in 2022. But they will wait until the offseason to make this decision, with the remainder of 2021 being a key factor in that decision making progress.
Reyes’ goals, however, are clear: He wants to start – and if he continues at this pace, there’s a good chance he will.