Interview with Alex Reyes, Baseball Prospectus' 98th-Ranked Prospect

Aaron Hodge/Johnson City Cardinals

Jose Fernandez, meet Alex Reyes.

St. Louis Cardinals' 19-year-old pitching prospect, Alex Reyes, was recently named the 98th-ranked prospect by Baseball Prospectus. Despite just one season of pro ball, they thought highly enough of his tangibles (athleticism, body type, repertoire) to place him in such an elite group. We all know about the 1st-round draft picks from 2013, Marco Gonzales and Rob Kaminsky, but one cannot forget about the international signing of Reyes back in December of 2012. Gonzales and Kaminsky are likely closer to the big leagues than Reyes, but one could make the argument that Reyes' ceiling is much higher. Regardless, there is a lot to be excited about when talking about these three pitching prospects.

Reyes' Player Profile:

· Throws: Right

· Height: 6'3"

· Weight: 215 pounds

· Born: August 29, 1994 (19 years old)

· High School: Elizabeth HS, New Jersey

· Acquired: Signed as international free agent in December 2012

· Repertoire: Fastball (92-97 MPH), Curveball (12-6 break), Changeup

2013 Statistics:

LEVEL

TEAM

G

GS

IP

BABIP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

SIERA

Rookie

JC

12

12

58.1

.353

10.49

4.32

3.24

2.74

3.39

Interview:

Viva El Birdos: Who would be a better former-future shortstop: You or Carlos Martinez?

Alex Reyes: Carlos is probably faster than me so he would be better defensively, but I was always a hitter. Haha. If we ever take batting practice together, we’ll determine who’s the better hitter.

VEB: What is your favorite superstition?

AR: If have a good start with a pair of cleats than I'll wear them for my next start, if not then I use my other pair.

VEB: Who did you look up to growing up?

AR: As an individual I would have to say my Father. He’s always worked harder than any one else I know and always tried his best to make sure I had everything I needed throughout my life. As an athlete, I would say Pedro Martinez. His stuff always amazed me, especially that filthy breaking ball.

VEB: What would you do if some opponent ran across the mound while you were pitching?

AR: I find this question funny because I've always thought about this situation, but I’ll remember his number and make it a mission for him to go 0 for 4 that game...

VEB: If a game came down to you winning a dance off on the mound, what song would you play?

AR: Honestly, I’m not the best dancer, but if there was anything I would "dance-off" to it would be dembow. Haha. It’s a genre of music in the DR.

VEB: Which big leaguer (past or present) do you model your mechanics/stuff after?

AR: As far as stuff, I would say I model myself after Jose Fernandez. The fact that he can blow a fast-ball by you and then leave you off balance with his breaking ball. It's kind of what I try to do to set up a hitter as well. As far as mechanics, I've never tried to model myself after any big leaguer. I just go by what feels comfortable and adjustments made by our coaching staff.

VEB: What’s your favorite pitch of your repertoire and which pitch are you working on the most?

AR: My favorite pitch is probably my fastball. I like to challenge hitters with my best stuff. The pitch I’m working on the most is my change-up. I had a good feel for it last year in Johnson City, but I know that for me to excel at the higher level, I have to be able to keep it down in the zone and sell it like I do with my other pitches.

VEB: How much of an adjustment it was moving back to DR after being in the states? What did you miss most (other than family/friends)?

AR: I actually never lived in DR before I moved there to play baseball, but my parents made it a tradition to travel there every summer so I knew what to expect. I did miss my friends and family though. I tried to keep in touch as much as I can but I couldn't leave the country to see anyone so I would be eligible to sign.

VEB: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you became a professional ballplayer?

AR: Mixing Pitches. Everyone who I’m competing with is a pro for a reason. Anyone can hit a fastball no matter how hard you throw. Before becoming a pro, if you had a good arm you were a step ahead of the hitter…that’s definitely not the case anymore.

VEB: Do you think through a pitch sequence for certain hitters or stay completely in the moment and let the catcher do the thinking?

AR: A little bit of both. As a pitcher, I have to have a plan every time a hitter steps in the box. If I don’t, the hitter is already "ahead in the count" before I even throw a pitch. That changes though…sometimes you have to be in the moment and let the catcher make the call on a key pitch, Steve Bean did a terrific job this year on that.

VEB: What’s your impression of the Cards’ Dominican academy compared to other teams’?

AR: They just recently moved to Baseball City which is in Boca Chica, DR. The staff is amazing and the talent there is like no other.

VEB: Derrick Goold said you were working on making your delivery more consistent. How is that going?

AR: It’s something that you have to work on day in and day out. It’s never easy to repeat the same delivery with every pitch that you throw in a game, but Paul Davis and I worked on it a lot during my time in JC, and I’m expecting to do the same here in West Palm with our new pitching coordinator, Tim Leveque.

VEB: What do you consider to be your biggest challenge in getting from where you are now to where you want to be as a pitcher?

AR: Command. I want to be able to make a good pitch when I want and sneak a bouncing curveball when it’s necessary. I think that’s what separates a number 1 to a number 3 starter.

VEB: What is the biggest thing the coaches have you working on?

AR: They really have been focusing on getting me to keep my fastball down in the zone, as well working my change-up. Both are important for me to be successful at the next level.

VEB: Why did you sign with the Cardinals rather than the Royals or Astros (or other unreported teams)?

AR: Every pitcher should want to be a Redbird. The organization is amazing. Moises Rodriguez and Angel Ovalles made me feel welcomed from the first day they saw me on the mound and same goes to everyone here in West Palm. I know that the Cardinals are going to get the best out of me as an individual and an athlete.

VEB: Finally, how do you feel about your recent appearance on Baseball Prospectus’s Top 101 list?

AR: It was a surprise to be honest. It feels good to be mentioned with all of those guys. I wish you would have asked this question to my Dad. His reaction was amazing.

Viva El Birdos thanks Alex for his time in answering these questions. We wish him the best in 2014 and beyond. Cardinal Nation would be absolutely overjoyed to have a Jose Fernandez-type pitcher in a Cardinals uniform.

You find find him on Twitter: @AlexReyes_67

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