It has been 1,114 days since the beginning of the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Alex Reyes has pitched in a MLB game five times in that span.
It’s been an extremely rough road for the phenom, who was ranked as the top prospect in baseball on some lists before he got his call up in August of 2016. Since that time, he’s had Tommy John surgery that wiped out his entire 2017, a tendon injury that required surgery and destroyed his 2018 after four innings in Milwaukee, and a muscle strain (and a hand injury after punching something) that took care of much of his 2019 after being demoted to Memphis.
And now this. A global pandemic that could very well keep him completely off the baseball diamond for another season. Another wasted year of his career.
If the season is completely wiped out, which is still in debate, Reyes will be 26 1/2 at the beginning of the 2021 season with all of 53 major league innings under his belt, 87% of which would be five years in the past. And that’s assuming that he started on a major league roster in 2021. He has already been optioned to Memphis for the start of 2020 (assuming it does start and that he doesn’t return with expanded rosters). How would you evaluate Reyes if the next time you see him is in Jupiter next February?
It feels very long ago that Reyes was this dominating player, doesn’t it? Though that run in 2018, his rehab assignment in the minors, was exciting. Except for that, though, it’s been a lot of erratic command coupled with just enough flashes to keep us tantalized. It’s not really his fault–even with those minor league runs he’s not pitched 1/2 a season in the past three years–but it’s becoming harder and harder for Cardinal fans to think that he’s ever going to be much of a contributor.
I hope that’s wrong. I hope that he’s able to get into a groove, find what he used to be, and have a wonderful rest of his career. However, missing more time because of this virus isn’t going to make the road any smoother.
Though, if he does make it back to be a dominant force? It’ll be a heck of a movie.