The St. Louis Cardinals finally called up their number one prospect, right-handed pitcher Alex Reyes, this week. It was well-needed too, as the Cardinals have had problems with their pitching all year. The starters and relievers have collectively not been good, especially compared to last year. Could that be changing?
Alex Reyes Could Be the Next Big Thing
The long-awaited debut of Reyes came last Tuesday (August 9th). Reyes came on in the top of the 9th inning with the Cardinals losing by a score of 7-4. Reyes jogged out to the mound to a standing ovation from the crowd. The first batter he faced was Reds power-hitter Adam Duvall. On the 1-1 pitch, Reyes threw an absolute knee-buckling breaking ball on the inside corner for strike two. The next pitch was a 101.4 MPH fastball that he blew by Duvall for a swinging strike three. He went on to retire the next to batters on ground ball outs; a 1-2-3 debut for the 21 year-old flamethrower.
Even though it was just one inning, his performance showed why he was the Cardinals number one prospect. The ability to change pitch types and locations rapidly and effectively is a huge key to success for a pitcher, and as demonstrated Tuesday, Reyes possesses that trait.
His next appearance was Saturday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley. Luke Weaver, another one of the Cardinals’ top prospects, started and made his MLB debut. Weaver looked pretty good, going four innings and allowing two runs. Reyes then came in relief of Weaver in the fifth inning with the Cardinals trailing. Reyes did a masterful job, giving up just one hit while striking out three in three innings of work. The Cardinals ended up coming back and winning the game, and as a result, Reyes got his first career Major League win.
Reyes appeared again in the Cardinals win on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros. He came on in the sixth inning, again making some eye-popping pitches and throwing two scoreless innings. Reyes has not allowed a run in the majors yet.
The Future of the Cardinals
The future of Cardinals pitching looks bright. Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Weaver, and Reyes are all under 26. We will probably see Reyes join the starting rotation at some point, just not yet. Something the Cardinals like to do is bring up pitching prospects who are used to starting games and put them in a bullpen role first. They did this with Adam Wainwright (who closed out the 2006 World Series) and Martinez. We will most likely see the same fate for Reyes. There is one thing we know for sure; he looks like a future superstar.