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Minor League Spotlight: Alex Reyes Just Isn’t Ready

Despite immense talent and numerous rumors of an “imminent” Major League debut, Alex Reyes just needs more time.  

Alex Reyes is talented. In fact, he may be more talented than any other prospect in the Minor Leagues. His future is bright, and his stuff is nasty. With a plus fast ball, curveball, and change-up, there isn’t much to complain about. Besides a drug related suspension, Reyes has progressed nicely, expressing a great understanding of the areas in which he needs to improve. There’s just one thing: he needs more time.

With the Cardinals defense struggling, more strike-outs out of the bullpen would be a huge help. Right now, Alex Reyes is the best option to offer more Ks, leading people to believe that he could have been promoted as early as Saturday, July 30th. Previously viewed as a starter all the way, fans have started to warm up to the idea of Reyes as a reliever. With fond memories of the “Adam Wainwright Method,” it is understandable for Cards supporters to desire a quick call-up. In my opinion, this just shouldn’t happen.

Reyes has talent that every organization dreams about. His potential is perhaps greater than any player on the planet in this very moment. If handled correctly, both by Reyes himself and the Cardinals organization, he could help keep St. Louis in the hunt for years to come. That’s just it, though; as of now, everything is hypothetical. The potential is still potential. Reyes is young, and is still working out the kinks that every young pitcher confronts.

While he can definitely strike out his opposition, Reyes has yet to look like a pro in other facets of the craft. Specifically, Reyes currently holds an ERA of 5.31, having allowed at least 4 runs in 3 of his last 4 starts. In the 1 remaining start, Reyes only pitched 3 innings, allowing 2 runs, despite striking out 7. Reyes is walking 4.55 batters per 9 innings, resulting in a WHIP of 1.47 (the MLB average is 1.32). Furthermore, Reyes has also seen an increase in home runs allowed, with a 9 inning average of .91. In 34.2 innings of AA work, Reyes gave up far fewer bombs, holding a HR/9 statistic of .26.

Needless to say, Reyes has experienced some struggles in his transition to AAA. Obviously, statistics never tell the whole story; in this case, however, the negative increases in certain key statistics must be noted by any fan or scout evaluating this development. With little polish and a large weakness with location, Reyes would not benefit from a late-season stint in the majors. To perfectly honest, such a call-up could be ugly. Regardless of his nasty stuff, professional hitters rarely fail to capitalize on mediocre location. Instead, the Cardinals must remain patient, allowing him to confront struggles, receive counsel, and improve.

With a possible franchise changing player, the Cardinals must take their sweet time. Reyes can and will have a huge influence in St. Louis. Right now, however, the Cardinals must put his development in front of big league needs. Despite infinite reason for excitement, a little patience could go a LONG way in this case, as Reyes continues to learn and improve before he bursts onto the scene. While he could give the Cards strikeouts right now, he could give them FAR more after a more thorough development.

 

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