Alex Reyes is the guy that’s going to be the difference maker on my points league teams this season. Well, except in any league where any of my opponents read this post. If I’m thinking outside of my “points league box”, he has the potential to make a difference in all fantasy formats this season. I see him as a mid-season sleeper that’s going to take up a roster spot for at least one or two before you have a chance to see if holding him will pay any dividends. This is a risk I am willing to take, and is one I’m recommending to the rest of you.

Let’s take a look at the possible scenarios, starting with the worst case scenario. You draft him. He then occupies a roster spot and when he comes back he pitches out of the bullpen with mediocre results. I guess getting re-injured would actually be the worst case, but I’m going to ignore that possibility since injuries are unpredictable. Unless the player’s name is Grady Sizemore, Troy Tulowitzki or David Wright. So what then? If your roster has enough room, you stash him. If not, you drop him in redraft leagues.

Let’s not forget that Reyes was the top pitching prospect in all of baseball just one year ago and he’s only 23 years young. I realize he’s coming off of the dreaded Tommy John Surgery, but at this point that surgery has become an exact science.

It is anticipated that Reyes will return around May 1st. That would be approximately fifteen months after surgery. From what I’ve read he’s about fifteen pounds slimmer and eager to get back in the game. If my math is correct he’s lost one pound per month while on the disabled list. While he’s not throwing at one hundred percent yet he will be headed to Jupiter in the coming days to begin preparing for Spring Training and the 2018 season. In case you were uncertain, that’s Jupiter, Florida, not the planet. His days of going to Jupiter planet (getting high) are long behind him.

Rumor has it that he could very likely be headed to the bullpen when he returns to St. Louis. While this might make sense to initially control his workload, Reyes is a starter.

But let’s just say he’s stuck pitching out of the pen. Luke Gregerson has been named the Cardinals closer for 2018. I believe the phrase “as of today” was included in the statement. If that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is. Gregerson did have 31 saves for the Astros back in 2015, but has since relinquished the closer role to Ken Giles. When he initially signed he was expected to be the setup man, the role he’s had most recently in Houston. Last season he gave up 13 home runs in just 61 innings. his home run to fly ball ratio was 23.6 percent. Not exactly ideal for the ninth inning pitcher.

Enter Alex Reyes. If he’s coming out of the bullpen, why can’t it be in the ninth? He is a strikeout pitcher that doesn’t give up home runs. Would it be so bad if you ended up with the Cardinals closer?

But as I said, Reyes is a starter. What does the Cards rotation look like for the coming season? Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Luke Weaver. The only two I feel good about are CarMart and Weaver. Wainwright’s recent injury history is enough to keep me away. Did I mention he just had arthroscopic on his right elbow. Wacha is a wild card. Lastly we have Miles Mikolas who spent the last three season pitching in Japan. He has a total of 91.1 Major League innings under his belt, the last coming back in 2014. The most interesting thing about him is his nickname “The Lizard King” which was given to him after eating a lizard in the bullpen in a 2011 Arizona Fall League game. Wait, I lied. His best feature is his mustache.

I’d like to take a quick look at Alex’s 46-inning stint in the Majors back in 2016 when he went 4-1 with a 1.57 earned run average and 52 strikeouts. That’s 10.17 K/9, but he did walk 23 batters. That’s a walk every other inning. Not exactly comforting. Even though that’s in line with his minor league numbers I expect the walks to come down. It will have to. He allowed just one home run in those 46 innings.

Translating this performance to points, Reyes totaled 141 points over 46 innings. That’s 3.06 points per inning pitched. However, I’d like to take a look at his performance as a starter. He started five games that season. His first two starts were a little shaky as he gave up 13 hits, 5 walks and 4 earned runs over 11 innings. He did strikeout 12 and walked away with a 1-0 record, beating the Cubs who lost a league low 58 games. Over his five starts Reyes pitched 28.2 innings. He allowed 25 hits, 7 earned runs and 13 walks. He struck out 29 and had a 2-0 record and a 2.19 ERA. His WHIP was high at 1.32, but so was his strand rate. Reyes averaged 15.996 points per start over these five starts.

To put that into perspective let’s look where that would rank amongst 2017 starting pitchers. Corey Kluber set the bar with 24.76 points per start, following by Chris Sale (22.46), Max Scherzer (22.03), Clayton Kershaw (21.7) and Stephen Strasburg (19.92). Ervin Santana, who had a great season, finished with 15.93 points per start. Jimmy Nelson was at 16.13. So Reyes would fall somewhere between. I realize it’s a small sample size, but that’s the sample he’s given us. For shits and giggles here are a few other notables. Justin Verlander (16.76), Yu Darvish (14.9), Chris Archer (14.64) and Aaron Nola (15.7).

Narrowing our focus to St. Louis, here’s how Reyes compares. Luke Weaver (16.1, 10 starts), Carlos Martinez (15.75, 32 starts), Michael Wacha (12.3, 30 starts) and Adam Wainwright (10.69, 23 starts). As for the Lizard King, he’s buried in Paris.

My prediction is that Reyes will be starting games before seasons end and he could very well be the push you need in the second half of the season. Move over Felix, there’s a new king in town!

 
  1. cmutimmah says:
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    This is a late round stash at best though. The chances of someone drafting this guy and holding him is very slim, especially without a guaranteed role.

    It’s great to have this thought this early, but I’m not taking him until the last round, and even then only in leagues with multiple DL slots.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @cmutimmah: In redraft leagues I mostly agree. I wouldn’t wait until the last round. I like his potential upside.

  2. adam says:
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    Interesting article, I drafted Reyes last year in my keeper auction draft for $1 knowing full well he would ride the DL all season but have the option to keep him for multiple years going forward. With that I can keep him for up to 4 years. First year at price I paid, but for any years after I have to add $5. So for example if I keep him for 3 years he would $11 each of the 3 years. I’m thinking 3 years is the magic number? Thoughts? Also keep in mind we only auction for starting positions and all keepers take starting positions. Bench is filled by snake draft.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @adam: I did the same. I grabbed him for a dollar and stashed him on the DL. Sucked losing a DL spot all season, especially with the 10-day causing more DL visits, but I hope it will be worth it.

      I think he has the chance to provide value late this season and definitely next season. I think he will be a hot commodity in 2019 drafts.

      So if you keep him this year his price will be $1, but you will have to use a starting roster spot on him?

      • adam says:
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        @malamoney:

        If I keep him this year for three years he will cost me $11 in 2018,2019 and 2020. IMO he is worth the stash especially considering I sold big last year for keepers. If I extend all of the guys below I will have a solid core for the next 4 years. 2018 might be loser for the Cap is 260 every years.

        Ian Happ $14.00
        Turner $16.00
        Acuna $16.00
        Kopech $16.00
        Reyes $16.00
        Syndergaard $16.00

  3. sport says:
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    Thanks for the write up. It was an interesting read. So where are you grabbing him in regular 12 team redrafts? 200? 225?

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @sport: Thanks. That sounds about right. Somewhere around rounds 16-18 make sense. This is one area where ADP will help. I never like to draft a guy too early (even if I really want him). Drafting too early erases some (or a lot) the player’s value. I need to get an idea of when most others are drafting him to have an idea of about when I’d likely have to grab him to get him.

      The problem will be that a lot of leagues will have that one owner that takes him in the 14th or 15ht round…

      • Matt says:
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        @malamoney: And I’m that one owner. Only a fool lets Reyes slide to rounds 16-18.

  4. charles says:
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    Salary Cap Keeper League – I have the option of keeping Reyes from 1-4 years at 125-200% his current (league minimum) price ($5 in a $1000 cap league – 10 teams).
    Would you roll the dice and go all out 4 years at $10 per?
    You can drop keepers for a x2 cap hit, so $20 if kept for 4 yrs

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @charles: Just so I can get a gauge. How much are the following players in your league?

      Kershaw, Verlander, Strasburg, Carlos Martinez and James Paxton.

      • charles says:
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        @malamoney: @malamoney:
        2017 Prices:
        Kershaw- 210
        Verlander – 185
        Strasburg – 125
        Martinez was a keeper at a low price of $27 as was Paxton at $7
        Top pitching is at a premium in this league

        • malamoney

          malamoney says:
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          @charles: I’d probably keep him for the four years…

          • charles says:
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            @malamoney:
            Thanks. Used your editable points projection excel sheet last year and won for the 2nd straight year. Look forward to the release of this years!

            • malamoney

              malamoney says:
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              @charles: That’s awesome. I’ll start working on it soon.

  5. Jekuthiel says:
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    I was excited to see your column when I checked in today. Thanks for another great write up and I look forward to more in the days/weeks/months ahead.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Jekuthiel: Thanks man. Any requested topics?

      • Mike Dev says:
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        @malamoney: Hoping for a post from you about players that are specifically much more valuable in points leagues as opposed to roto.

      • El Marco says:
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        @malamoney:
        Most consistent players in points league last year?

        • malamoney

          malamoney says:
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          @El Marco: Is that a question or request for a post?

          • El Marco says:
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            @malamoney:
            That was an idea for a post. Something I’m trying to figure out myself

      • Jekuthiel says:
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        @malamoney: I’ve been trying to figure out how to state my idea for a topic. The simplest way is to say an article on draft strategies for points leagues, with a focus on how much weight do you give to each tier of hitters, SPs, and RPs?

        For instance first tier SP are premium, but first tier RP may be worth only 3 tier batters. When at a draft to you prioritize different tiers of each category?

        Thank you for your engagement and sharing your expertise! It is what makes Razzball great.

  6. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Real interesting. Speaking of injured pitchers, does anyone know where Urias went? Or is he just buried under the 18 lefty SPs in LA?

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: Tough call with his should injury. He’s another awesome young arm, but the guy I’m look at in LA is Buehler…

  7. Hugman says:
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    Re: the closer idea, the last time the Cards used someone they knew would eventually be a starter for certain as their closer was 2006 with Adam Wainwright, and all Cards and Mets fans remember how well that worked out. I could easily see the Cardinals having that thought in mind.

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Hugman: yep, as a STL local i lost a lot of money trying to leverage other STL’s fandom in what was at the time a pretty heavy NYM series favorite. during game 7 i was at the kind of bar where if NYM won (and possibly even if not) and any of the rabid fans there knew i was betting NYM i might’ve had serious health problems. at the same time a really drunk friend of mine with a big mouth was there and for a little bit i was quite worried he’d do something stupid as F like yell out how much money i just won had NYM won that game.

  8. Chucky says:
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    Reyes or Castillo? Reyes pitches in a better ballpark, with a better defense and just a better all round ball club. Castillo is this year’s darling. With starting pitching going at a premium, Reyes as a mid teens draft slot might end up being a more value oriented pick than Castillo who probably goes in round 8-9 to someone looking to speculate on the hype.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Chucky: I’d rather have Castillo in 2018. He’s guaranteed a spot in the rotation. I think even when you factor in the ADP, Castillo wins. But we will have to wait a few weeks until we have some actual draft stats to confirm.

      As best you will get a handful of starts from Reyes later in the season. You will get a season full from Castillo. That fact should outweigh the ADP variance.

    • Matt says:
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      @Chucky: Better do more research . Castillo is going regularly in rounds 6-7.

  9. Ronald says:
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    I have Miguel Sano in a keeper league. How long do you think he will be suspended?

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Ronald: Beats me. That’s tough to call. What are the keeper rules?

  10. Mickey Maloney says:
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    Curious what your preferred host site is for H2H Points League? We used espn last year and it was adequate, but nothing exciting. Looking at Fantrax this year. Any advice? Thanks!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Mickey Maloney: @Mickey Maloney: One of my leagues is on ESPN and the other is CBS. I’m not a fan of either as they are both limited to what you can do outside the box. Fantrax seems to have a lot of functionality, but they clearly didn’t employ a UX expert to help design the interface. I can’t stand navigating that site…

      • Mickey Maloney says:
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        @malamoney: Thanks! Good intel. What are your preferred roster and scoring settings?

        • malamoney

          malamoney says:
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          @Mickey Maloney: In the leagues I run, I have a rather unique scoring system. After lots of research I have found this yields a very balanced result between hitters and pitchers.

          Hitting Categories:
          1B (+1), 2B (+2), 3B (+3), HR (+5), Run (+1), RBI (+1), Hit (+1.5), Stolen Base (+1), Walk (+1.5), Caught Stealing (-1), Strikeout (-1.5), Hit By Pitch (+0.5)

          Pitching Categories:
          Inning Pitched (+3), Strikeout (+1.5), Walk (-1.5), Hit Allowed (-1), Earned Run (-1), Win (+5), Loss (-5), Save (+7), Blown Save (-3), Wild Pitch (-1), Hit Batsman (-1), Pickoff (+1)

          • Mickey Maloney says:
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            @malamoney: Thanks. Determining the scoring is difficult!

  11. swaggerjackers says:
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    You mentioned it in response to a previous comment but the 10 day DL pretty much wrecked the concept of drafting a DL stash. Way too many guys get placed on the DL during the season to have known injured guys burning up a spot. At one point last season I think I had McCullers, Duffy, Paxton, Synder (keeper league) and Cueto all on the DL at the same time. No way I can afford to stash a guy like Reyes.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @swaggerjackers: @swaggerjackers: This is true. The 10-DL is really forcing leagues to consider adding another DL spot. I will be doing a write up on this topic soon…

  12. Ronald says:
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    I have the following keepers.

    $61 Goldschmidt x 3 years
    $17 Upton x 3 years
    $1 Polanco x 2 years
    $1 Arcia x 3 years
    $1 Luis Castillo x 3 years or 5 years
    $1 Miguel Sano x 1 year
    $4 Jon Gray x 3 years
    $1 Felipe Rivero x 3 years
    $1 Brad Hand x 3 years
    $1 Brent Honeywell x 3 years
    $23 Hosmer
    $ 1 Chris Devenski x 3 years

    I can keep five players plus a rookie keeper. I can keep Polanco or Castillo as a rookie. I’ll have to drop Polanco if I keep Castillo as a rookie.

    I placed 2nd last year and won money. I traded good keepers like Devers to maintain my standing last year.

    My plan right now is to keep Castillo, Honeywell, Rivero, Hand, Polanco and Sano or Gray.
    I’d like to keep my pitching intact and spend money on offense. I have a risky strategy. I’d like to redraft Goldy, get Trout and Arenado or Machado. I had almost 50% roster turnover last year. I prefer to get known commodities, then find value on the back end.

    12 team league, auction draft, 5 keepers plus 1 rookie keeper, we get credit for quality starts, saves/holds and OPS.

    I don’t normally keep closers, but I feel that my teams strength lies there.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Ronald: Sorry for the delayed response.

      Just to confirm, this is a points league right? If so, what is the scoring system? How many auction dollars do you get?

      • Ronald says:
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        Points league, $260 draft dollars.

        • malamoney

          malamoney says:
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          @Ronald: Probably Castillo, Honeywell, Gray, Hand, Rivera and I guess Sano. I’m not a fan of keeping closers, but you can walk away with two medium tier closers for a grand total of $2. That’s not a bad deal. For a buck you kinda got to keep Sano, but keep an eye on the sexual assault allegations and a potential suspension since he’s only a one year keeper. I’m not sold you that you have to keep Polanco. I’m a Jon Gray fan so at that price I’d be keeping him. Love Goldschmidt, but not at that price.

  13. Coco Crisp Afro says:
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    Great read. Agree with the majority of the article. Thanks. Got a trade offer I want to run by you guys. It’s a H2H, categories, Dynasty league. Franklin Perez/1st Round 9th pick for David Price. (We have a yearly rookie draft in Feb.) Thanks. Which side wins the trade and by how much? Thanks.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Coco Crisp Afro: Thanks. I’m not very fluent on Perez, but here is what I will say. I used to be a big proponent of David Price, but since his recent injuries I have steered clear of him at nearly all costs. I’d have to get a very deep discount to own him.

      What caliber of player do you expect to be available at the 9th pick?

      • Coco Crisp Afro says:
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        @malamoney: Not much. It’s a rookie first year draft. What you said about Price I exactly what I was thinking. Thanks for the confirmation sir.

  14. Jose says:
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    Coming into 2017 I had a Scoresheet team that was going to have a rotation of :
    1- Keshaw
    2- Fernandez
    3- Scherzer
    4- Reyes
    5- Urias

    We lost Fenandez (RIP), in September of 2016, in February of 2017 Reyes had TJ surgery and some time in May Urias had shoulder surgey. I left that league because it was dead, there was NO trading going on at all.

    I have a new team that is similar. I have Reyes, Urias and Buehler all hopefully getting rotation spots in the second half, just in time for the Pennant drive.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Jose: The future of your staff is quite bright!

  15. El Marco says:
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    Trying to develop a metric that uses BB/K and HR per AB. Haven’t quite gotten there but love those metrics for points leagues. Any thoughts?

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @El Marco: It depends on the points rewards/deducted for those stats. And the rest of the stat categories that count. I care more about points per plate appearance than at bat. I value plate appearance way more than at bat. Since nearly every league awards points for walk, which does not count as an at bat, at bats is pretty much pointless…

      • El Marco says:
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        @malamoney: thanks!

  16. Packers says:
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    Good read, Malamoney.
    Having never played in a points league before what are your thoughts on the NFBC cutline leagues as far as the scoring favoring either Hitters, Base Stealers, SP’s or Closer’s.? It’s a weekly league scoring, no trades, Only two FAAB periods, optimal scoring of your 42 man roster. The draft means everything pretty much. Do you draft a balanced team, zig while others zag…..Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    HR 6pts. Win 6 pts.
    SB 5pts. Save 5 pts.
    Hit 4 pts. IP 3pts
    Run and RBI’ 2pts. Hit or walk allowed -1 pt.
    At Bat – 1 pt. ER – 1 pt.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Packers: Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve never played the NFBC cutline league. I would probably be much more conservative in the draft. Lower risk players. Also, I think making sure I had sufficient position eligibility would be a goal. Multi-position players would definitely get a bump in my pre-draft rankings.

      I hate leagues that don’t penalize for strikeouts, but when that’s the case I’d make sure I took the strikeout artists off my do not draft list.

  17. Better Call Limehouse says:
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    yeah it’s pretty rare now that somebody doesn’t come back good from TJ. in fact i’m getting to the gaining in popularity idea that you WANT your prospects to have gotten their 1st TJ over with already before they really start producing at the major league level. now of course if a prospect DOESN’T show production after getting this and stays hurt, well that’s not good. some evidence that these guys will often need this surgery about every 7-9 years or so from maybe age 17 on. or at least there is a high degree of likelihood of it. reyes is still a top 3 SP in pretty much any top prospect list.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Better Call Limehouse: I took in with my first pick (9th overall) in a mock prospects draft with some other “experts”…

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