Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Alex Reyes
Season stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 4.41 FIP, 1.250 WHIP, 4.5 K/9, 0.3 bWAR
Overall grade: C
Positives: Returned to the major leagues after losing all of 2017 to Tommy John surgery….dominated in his minor league rehab, putting up a zero ERA over 23 innings at four levels….allowed a total of seven hits and had a K/BB ratio of 6.29….struck out 13 in seven innings at Memphis, punctuating his return with an exclamation point….picked off Christian Yelich in the first inning of his game against the Brewers….received some help, including a caught stealing of Lorenzo Cain by Yadier Molina, but threw four scoreless innings before leaving the game.
Negatives: Those four scoreless innings were the only innings he threw in the majors this season….showed a little less command in the majors, walking two, allowing three hits, and hitting a batter….after a trainer visit to the mound in the fourth, left after the inning and was placed back on the disabled list soon after….had surgery a week after his one game for a torn lat muscle, which grounded him for the rest of the season….seemed to have hurt himself in Memphis but didn’t tell anyone about the problem until after the Milwaukee game.
Overview: The anticipation for Alex Reyes to return to the major leagues was great even before he destroyed the minors in his rehab start. So to see him then go out there, throw four innings, and be done for the year was heartbreaking to a great many Cardinal fans. When you think that Reyes has thrown less than 30 competitive innings in the last two years, it’s easy to wonder what exactly the Cardinals might get from the one-time phenom when he does return in 2019. Can he reclaim that magic that we saw in 2016 and in the minors last season? It feels hard to believe that he can, two years older and being reconstructed in two different ways. However, given his youth and his talent, it’s impossible to rule it out.
Outlook: While the recovery time from the muscle surgery is six months, meaning he’s just about at the end of that timetable now, it seems likely that the Cardinals will ease him back into things. It wouldn’t be a surprise if things play out similarly to what they did last year, with a late start and then a minor league rehab stint before joining the majors. It’s also not completely unlikely that the Cards will use him as a bullpen piece instead of in the rotation. All that said, if he comes into spring looking healthy and dominant, it’s going to be very hard for St. Louis to keep him off the roster. Waiting is very hard and the club has already done so much of it.