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June 4, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Profiling Alex Reyes

by Craig Goldstein


It’s not often you see a native of the U.S., much less New Jersey, signed in the international period, but that’s what took place when Alex Reyes left the states for the Dominican Republic. The Cardinals signed him for just under $1 million ($950,000) in December of 2012 and threw him right into Short-Season ball as an 18-year-old. It’s an aggressive assignment not to go through any complex leagues, but his familiarity with the U.S. likely played a part in their willingness to push him. Reyes started 2014 in Low-A, where he’s just under three years younger than the average player for the level, noteworthy because even if the production is mild, it would be considered a success based on his age relative to the level.

Reyes has received praise in the prospect community, and attention from dynasty leaguers thanks to a precocious skillset. That skillset remains unrefined though, and that bears itself out in the numbers. A 3.39 ERA is plenty to write home about from an 18 year old in Short-Season ball, but it’s worth nothing that along with his head-turning 27 percent strikeout rate, he produced an elevated 11 percent walk rate. Where he truly shined though is in limiting the long ball, as he allowed only one home run in 58 1/3 innings.

Those 58 1/3 innings came in 12 starts, as the Cardinals were careful not to overextend Reyes, limiting him to under five innings per start—though he was able to complete the fifth inning in eight of 12 attempts. Reyes has taken one step forward and one step back in 2014, kicking his strikeout rate up by 1.5 percentage points but watching his walk rate increase by five, in kind. That’s partially expected given the jump in competition, but it’s not like Low-A players suddenly have Shin-Soo Choo’s plate discipline either. He’s already allowed four home runs in 11 fewer innings as well, highlighting either (or both) the change in talent between Short-Season and Low-A, where hitters will punish mistakes in grander fashion, or perhaps the presence of additional mistakes. It might seem to be the former more than the latter, though, as Reyes is giving up fewer hits on a rate basis than he was last season.

We’re fortunate enough to have had BP Prospect team member Jordan Gorosh put eyes on him, writing him up for a Monday Morning Ten Pack a couple weeks ago. Reyes is listed at 6-foot-3, and while he’s listed at 185 pounds, he’s certainly heavier than that now. He’s able to use his height well, generating a ton of plane, which explains his previous success in limiting home runs. He’s thick throughout the lower half, with a rear end that would earn praise from Sir-Mix-a-Lot. He does well to use his lower half in his delivery, using it as a fulcrum to get over top of the ball and generate that excellent plane.

Reyes sports a fastball that arrives anywhere from 92-96 MPH, occasionally touching 97 and features a healthy amount of armside run. The plane and run are great aspects to the fastball and reasons the grade on the pitch is so high, but the downside is that, at his tender age, he has little to no command of the pitch. Reyes complements the fastball with a curveball that presents itself in two ways: first as a slower offering (75-76 MPH) with added horizontal break, and second a slightly harder version (78-80) with more vertical action. It’s not known if this is an intentional distinction between the pitches or something that manifests itself due to the development of the pitch, but both missed bats with enough frequency to be effective. His last offering is a changeup that registers in the low-to-mid-80s with fade to the arm side.

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Related Content:  St. Louis Cardinals,  Prospects,  Fantasy,  Alex Reyes

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<< Previous Article
Perfect Game Presents:... (06/03)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Suc... (06/03)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Kee... (06/05)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Deep Impact: Week Nine (06/04)

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