Called up only 14 days ago, Alex Reyes is off to a phenomenal start in the Major Leagues.
On August 9th, the Cardinals called up their top prospect, Alex Reyes, to assume a role in a struggling bullpen. Being a major force in the minor leagues, validated by being named one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball, Cardinal’s Nation expected good performances out of the 21 year old. However, anytime a player is called up, no matter how good they are, there tends to be some anxiety floating around about them needing time to adjust to the significantly larger stage. Fortunately for the Cardinal’s, Reyes has not only been good in his first 14 days with the club, but absolutely phenomenal.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 20, 2016
So far, Reyes has pitched nine innings of relief for the team. In those 9.1 innings, he has given up a total of zero runs. Zero. And just as impressively, Reyes has struck out 13 of the 35 batters he’s faced while walking only 4 of them.
For a guy who throws a 97+ fastball these are exactly the numbers that you want to see.
The thing that makes these numbers achievable, and even replicable in the future, is his nasty 12-6 curve ball. Out of his hand, the fastball and curveball look so similar, yet the curveball comes in a crazy 20.1 MPH slower. Typically pitchers look to have their curveball be around 12-15 MPH slower than their fastball. For a guy who throws fast, meaning the batter has less time to determine where they think the ball will be, a 20.1 MPH difference in Reyes’ curveball makes batters look silly.
Not only has Reyes achieved a good strikeout to walk ratio, but additionally he possesses a 0.86 WHIP (Walk and Hits per Innings Pitched). Aided by a great 61.5 ground-ball percentage, and a .136 BAA (batting average against), Reyes’ sub-1.00 WHIP is phenomenal. Compared to the MLB leaders, that is .10 better than any other player. Granted, the sample size for Reyes is much much smaller, but it is still incredibly impressive.
As batters begin to see more and more of him, expect these numbers to rise, but for Reyes, I personally think they won’t rise all that much. Sure, the numbers he possesses right now are most likely not sustainable, especially a 0.00 ERA, but Reyes has the tools to be one of if not the best bullpen pitcher in the MLB. I see him in a year, if he stays in the bullpen, holding a sub 2.00 ERA, a WHIP that hovers around 1.00, and a SO/BB ratio around 2.5. Some may say these predictions are bold, but honestly Reyes has a lot of room to grow. Couple that with some already phenomenal tools at the mere age of 21, and you get a really nasty pitcher.
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports