Alex Reyes Scouting Report (2014)
Alex Reyes enters 2014 with helium after an off-season top-100 ranking. Having only pitched in short season, the right-handed pitcher is still a mystery with the vast majority of prospect followers lacking first hand accounts. Reyes issued seven bases on balls and uncorked a lively fastball that swished high into the protective netting behind home plate in his full season debut at Fox Cities Stadium. Regardless, Reyes’ outing included flashes of brilliance.
Reyes held his Wisconsin opponent scoreless over five innings, throwing 104 pitches. He struck out six while allowing just three hits. In the vacuum of a single game, Alex Reyes will tantalize with elite stuff and simultaneously make onlookers gasp with acute bouts of wildness. But just as it is poor practice to over-inflate an older prospect’s projections based on stats against less-advanced competition, it would be equally foolish to knock Reyes down a peg based on a cold, April debut. With a probable ETA of 2017, Reyes is in the beginning of his developmental pilgrimage to St. Louis.
Alex Reyes sat 93-96 and held his velocity throughout the outing — a rarity in April. His last eight fastballs ranged from 92-95 mph. Though unintentional, his wildness worked in his favor as Wisconsin batters were unable to dig again against him. Based on velocity alone, his fastball grades in the 65/70 range, but with sharp sink and arm-side run, the movement on his heater teases more in the future. As he fills out, his velocity may improve further. He maintained a high 3/4 arm angle, but appeared to struggle with his release point. This led to the 95-mph heater to the backstop along with several more wild misses.
The 73-77 mph curveball has true two-plane movement. The 11/5 break features sharp, biting drop. Command was an issue though as Reyes struggled to throw the pitch for strikes. It was as inconsistent as his fastball in that regard. At times, the pitch got loopy, with the movement becoming less sharp and more predictable in flight.
Reyes’ change-up is not the weapon his first two pitches are, but I am comfortable to project it will become a league-average third pitch. He only threw the pitch eight times, mostly in the 83-86 mph range (and one 78-mph outlier). He maintained the same 3/4 slot from his fastball delivery and I wasn’t able to detect a major reduction in arm speed. More telling were the batters’ reactions. With some sink and similar arm speed, Reyes earned three called strikes where hitters lunged awkwardly forward before checking their swings.
There is no sense discussing command at this point with Reyes as that won’t become relevant until he can get the ball over the plate consistently. It’s safe to say he will throw more strikes moving forward as his delivery was clean and relatively consistent. With innings, the release point issues should also improve.
In 2013, Reyes allowed one home run in 58 1/3 innings. This portends to something else Sunday – plenty of weak contact. His pitches are difficult to barrel. Wisconsin scuffled throughout, even though it had at least two base runners in four of their five innings against Reyes. He gave up just three hits, the best of which was a solid opposite-field single by Johnny Davis. Later, Michael Ratterree had a quiet single. And Steven Halcomb legged out a “hustle” double on a soft flair into the right field gap. No loud contact. Moreover, most of Wisconsin’s foul balls were of the weak, tip variety.
Psychologically, Reyes impressed by maintaining composure and getting out of his self-created jams. After putting runners on, he let his stuff do the talking and doused rallies every inning. He put out three fires with strikeouts, one with an infield pop-up and another with a soft dribbler to 2nd base that induced a double play. As Reyes matures, he’ll learn to maintain focus from the start of an inning to its completion.
The Cardinals have been spot on when it comes to identifying and developing pitching talent in recent years. Mike Newman sent a text to a scouting contact in the same division as St. Louis with Reyes’ velocities. The information was met with a sarcastic, “Great, another good arm for the Cardinals.” If Reyes fulfills his ceiling, he’s a number two starter. If the command doesn’t improve to solid average, his explosive stuff screams high leverage reliever. He has years before needing to make that decision though.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Number 2 Starter On First Division Team Fastball 50 70 Curveball 40 60 Changeup 35 50 Control 30 50 Command 30 50
Owning Alex Reyes
In fantasy leagues with deep farm systems like Reality Fantasy Baseball (85-man rosters), Alex Reyes is a must-own asset. In leagues with smaller minor league rosters and FAAB auctions, it makes sense to add him now before Reyes’ value explodes. With pitchers like him, it’s strike early or miss out entirely. ROTOscouting recommends the former.
9 Apr 2014 / Bob Usselman / 10
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