The St. Louis Cardinals made it 112 games before a starter suffered an injury, but that streak is now over as Michael Wacha will go on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort. Taking his place on the 40-man roster is Cardinals top prospect and one of the top prospects in all of Major League Baseball in Alex Reyes. The Cardinals will not need another starter until Saturday so Reyes' role is not yet clear.
Alex Reyes was not on the 40-man roster, and to make room for him another move was necessary. That move is sending Brayan Pena from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Pena was placed on the disabled list just one month ago so his return will not happen until at least the beginning of September when rosters expand. The Pena news is minor when compared to the impact on Wacha and Reyes.
For Wacha, it is not quite clear if the injury is something serious or more of a phantom injury to get Wacha a bit of rest during a long season as Bernie Miklasz recently discussed with Joe Sheehan. Wacha hit 97 mph on his fastball last night, and while his velocity dropped over the course of the start he still hit 94 mph during his finals inning. His average fastball velocity is down a bit from where it was six weeks ago, he has struck out six against five walks in his two August starts, so this could be signs of fatigue. A quick recharge might be just what he needs. NOT GOOD UPDATE:
Asked if Wacha is entering McCarthy territory with reoccurrence of scap issue, Mozeliak says yes, 200 IP/starter role may need rethinking.— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) August 9, 2016
As for Reyes, the 21-year-old righty has a fastball that has hit 100 mph as well as a change and a curve that is inconsistent but has huge potential. Alex Reyes needs to work on his efficiency, but it's possible that getting a taste of the majors will help his development more than increased time in the minors. Reyes has struck out an ridiculous 32% of batters this season in 14 Triple-A starts.
That strikeout rate has come with a high 11% walk rate, and caused some to wonder whether Luke Weaver had passed Reyes in terms of immediate readiness for the big leagues. That still might be up for some debate until the Cardinals actually declare a starter for Saturday. Reyes will start in the bullpen, and could get ready for a start on Saturday or Reyes could stay in the bullpen while another pitcher goes for the Cardinals on Saturday. To call up Weaver for Saturday, the team would have to make another move on the 40-man, with the most likely scenario seeing Jerome Williams let go.
They could also let Jerome Williams start, but that does not seem like a good idea. UPDATE:
Weaver will start for #Cardinals on Saturday at Wrigley.— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) August 9, 2016
Reyes Triple-A ERA is a not-great 4.96, but his FIP is a much better 3.76 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. Reyes is coming off one of his better starts when on Saturday he pitched six innings, struck out eight and walked two while giving up just one run. Given a handful of more difficult starts that preceded that one, it seems possible the Cardinals were simply waiting for a positive outing so as to have a reason to call him up and reward him for his play.