It was not all that long ago that Alex Reys was the 6th-ranked prospect in all of baseball back in 2017. He rose through the Cardinals system with his devasting stuff (75-grade fastball and 60-grade curveball) and looked incredible in his first take of big league action in 2016, posting a 1.57 ERA in 5 starts and 7 relief appearances. He was weighed down by Tommy John surgery the following year and saw his career unravel from there.
Reyes threw a total of 26.2 innings for St. Louis from 2018-2020 and finally found success and health in 2021 as a closer for the club. He earned an All-Star appearance with his incredible first half but fell apart during the second half of the year. He still finished the year with a 3.24 ERA in 72.1 innings pitched along with an 11.8 K/9.
We all remember the walk-off home run he gave up to Dodgers' Chris Taylor in the Wild Card Game, and that would be Reyes' final appearance as a Cardinal. He missed all of 2022 with a shoulder injury and was non-tendered the following offseason.
Reyes truly missed out on having a special career as a starting pitcher. Injuries and suspensions plagued the early part of his career, and he is still trying to make a comeback with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I do not blame the Cardinals at all for wanting to bet on the arm talent that Reyes had. It's easy to wonder in hindsight if they should have tried to move off Reyes after Tommy John surgery while he was still a top prospect in baseball, as they could have possibly held onto a few other names on this list had they done so.