Over the past few seasons, the top of the Cardinals prospects list belonged to Alex Reyes. He is also widely considered to be one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Even though he missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Alex is still considered the #17 prospect according to MLB.
Alex was effective during his brief tenure in the Majors. He made his debut on August 9th, 2016 at the age of 21. He made 5 starts and had 12 total appearances over the course of the season for a 4-1 record with a 1.57 ERA.
He is set to make a rehab start within the coming week which brings up a lot to ponder. How quickly will he make he club? Who’s getting sent down? What will his role be?
Alex Reyes is healthy and nearing his return. #STLCards https://t.co/nbzbfJYjJd
Lots of tough questions to unpack here.
Like previously mentioned Reyes is eyeing a return soon, having some rehab assignments lined up. But where exactly do you put up when he is ready to go? Let’s look at some options.
This makes sense. He is a starting pitcher, and you expect him to be a staple in your rotation for years to come. Giving him starts gets him into that routine again. The Cardinals are currently loaded when it comes to the rotation. The rotation has definitely played out differently than what we imagined at the beginning of the year, but let’s take a look to see where he could fit.
1. Carlos Martinez
2. Miles Mikolas
3. Luke Weaver
4. Michael Wacha
5. Adam Wainwright
6. Jack Flaherty
Couple More Years
7. Jordan Hicks (preferably in bullpen imo)
8. Austin Gomber
9. Dakota Hudson
10. John Gant (Starting tonight 5/7 vs MIN)
As you can see we already have 6 quality guys that are rotation caliber guys. A lot of people still think Waino is done even though he has pitched well (when healthy). Luke Weaver has struggled mightily thus far, but will a trip to the Minor Leagues solve his problems. Michael Wacha has been pretty solid this season but more on him later. Miles Mikolas and Carlos Martinez have been dominant to start the seasons despite drastic differences in style. Flaherty has dominated in the Minor Leagues and has shown good things in two starts for the big club.
If you take someone out of the rotation, Flaherty should get the next opportunity to start. So even if someone gets hurt that still leaves Reyes as the odd man out in my opinion.
One option is potentially training one of our starters for another middle-of-the-order bat near the deadline. I personally have been speculating that Wacha could be that guy. He is still young and has been decent in the major leagues. He’s never been a number one or number two types starter but for many teams he could easily fill a middle-of-the-rotation kind of spot. A move like this could help Reyes get some more starts in the Majors. Personally I would be okay with implementing a six-man rotation only if Flaherty and Reyes essentially both fill that spot.
The signing of Miles Mikolas in the offseason was meant in a way to bridge the gap between the rotation and the abundance of young arms in waiting However, he has been so dominant this season that it’s going to be tough to take him out of the rotation.
This seems to be where it comes back to. So far the bullpen hasn’t been the strength of this team. The talent is there, but injuries and poor timing have really plagued this team so far. Coming into today, the Cardinals have a record of 20-12 with a 1.5 game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central. If it weren’t for a few botched games, their record could be even more impressive. Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris have been your best two relievers in the bullpen. We signed Greg Holland to be the closer and thus far and is not paid off. The rest of the bullpen has not shaped up as well as expected. Tyler Lyons has struggled. Brett Cecil has been on the DL. Dominic Leone is now on the DL. It just hasn’t quite gone the Cardinals way when it comes to the bullpen.
That’s where Alex Rays can really make his presence known. Just like Jordan Hicks, Reyes has a very electric fastball. He has the ability to hit 100 miles an hour and the combination of Reyes and Hicks could mean a deadly one two punch in the bullpen.
Stay in AAA
I don’t see this happening, but it is an option. With the amount of arms in waiting for a rotation spot, and the amount of quality arms in the bullpen, Reyes could get lost in the shuffle. I’m afraid that in order to give Reyes playing time, the Cardinals may end up losing players either via trade or assignment.
Again, I don’t see it. Reyes is too talented and if the Cardinals really want to make a playoff push later in the year he will have to fill a significant role for this team.
Personally I believe that he will have a spot in the bullpen this year. I just can’t imagine them jumping over Flaherty in order to give Reyes some starts. Flaherty has proven in AAA the past couple years that he deserves a chance in the rotation. That being said I think Reyes will be the next in line after Flaherty simply based on his pedigree. Unfortunately for both Flaherty and Reyes the only way that they will get a spot in the rotation is via injury or trade of a current rotation member.
What do you think? Tag me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!
Twitter- @AaronArchCity , @SuspectsMusial
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