Every Spring at several SB Nation’s MLB sites, a community projection series is conducted. We post forms for you all to cast your projections and reveal them later on down the road. It’s a fun way to get in the spirit of the season - the baseball season, that is.
This year at VEB, we are adding an additional projection series. Before we start with the MLB projections in March, we will do a round of MiLB projections this month. We will start the 2019 Community Prospect Projections today with Alex Reyes.
It has not been an easy road for Reyes. Reyes, entering his age 24 season, made his big-league debut for the Cardinals on August 9, 2016. He appeared in 12 games (including five starts) to finish out the year, leaving St. Louis fans full of anticipation for what seemed destined to be a breakout 2017 campaign. That all changed when it came out the following Spring that Reyes needed Tommy John surgery and would miss the entire season.
Reyes recovered from the operation smoothly, with reports stirring around at the end of 2017 that he thought he could come back and pitch. The Cardinals intelligently did not let Reyes return and instead waited until 2018. Though his elbow was fine, Reyes couldn’t return to action right away in 2018; he had some lat muscle problems. He rehabbed in the Minors across the first two months of the season before he returned to the Majors for a start against the Brewers in Milwaukee on May 30.
After a four-inning outing that packed enough highs and lows for an entire game, it was evident that something wasn’t quite right with the team’s prized arm. It was hoped that it was nerves that had plagued Reyes in that start, but it turned out to be more than jitters. The same lat muscle injury that held him out in April and May was back, and this time, ‘taking it easy’ would not suffice. Reyes had surgery to repair the tendon in his lat and missed the rest of the 2018 season.
Now, here we are: on the brink of the 2019 season, one that the Cardinals enter filled with optimism and the hope that this year ends differently than the past three have. Will Reyes rebound and help St. Louis return to the top of the Central?