Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE
#1: Alex Reyes, RHP
6’3”, 220 lbs; Bats/Throws: Right/Right
DOB: 29 August 1994; Signed 2013 (Dominican Republic)
Level(s) in 2017: None; missed season due to Tommy John surgery
Notable Numbers: See above
So, what’s so great about this guy?
It is a testament to the talent of Alex Reyes that, following a season in which he missed the entire year due to an elbow injury, and other prospects performed and produced, developed and demonstrated their talents, Reyes remains tops on this list, with no one else able to touch him. There were reasons to worry about him before — the command has always been shaky, the arm action was scary, the body was soft — and elbow surgery certainly doesn’t make him less risky. And yet, Alex Reyes’s talent is so far and away the best that he remains a fixture at the very top of this list.
Honestly, there’s not much to say about Reyes at this point. We all know the stuff; 95-97 on the fastball, touching 100+, hammer curveball that could rate a 65 if you saw him on the right day, and a 55-60 grade changeup that really came along in its development in 2016 to be maybe his most consistent offspeed pitch, if not his most awe-inspiring. The talent is undeniable; the ability to turn that talent into results is still yet to be seen, largely due to injury.
The funny thing about Reyes missing the whole season is that he essentially is frozen in time right now; he did nothing in 2017 to truly effect our perception of him, outside of perhaps raising some more risk flags due to injury. He neither failed nor succeeded, and so the snapshot we have of Alex Reyes mowing down Cubs at the end of the 2016 season remains the most current version of him we have to go on. He will not appear atop this list again; success or failure will lead to him moving one way or another. Whatever Alex Reyes is going to be was simply delayed for a year.
If he’s good, it’s going to look like: Justin Verlander remains my favourite point of comparison for Reyes; Verlander has the closest comp in terms of elite velocity and ridiculous curveball of any pitcher I can immediately think of over the past ten to fifteen years. Of course, perhaps the most notable quality Verlander has brought to the table since 2006 is incredible durability, which we can already be fairly certain will not be the case with Reyes, unfortunately. But when he’s on the mound, that’s the kind of performances Reyes is capable of.