So, I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m just gonna throw out the reason why right off the bat: I’m selfish and lazy. That’s what mid-August baseball talk is all about!
As part of my rebuilding efforts in the REL – well, I should say, my main anchor in my rebuilding efforts – I got Alex Reyes to hopefully be my staff stopper. I mean, have you SEEN the Brewers rotation?! Yikes. With some control issues and a pretty bad ERA in AAA, I wasn’t too surprised to see a fantastic arm like Reyes get the call-up anyway as a bullpener. This had been speculated upon all season – the Cards did this with their major prospects in Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez – so we’re not getting a big shock. And with Reyes called up at the same time as Luke Weaver, it appears they might piggyback each other for the foreseeable future. But Reyes clearly, CLEARLY looks like a dominant starter that’s about ready. After seeing his debut inning last Thursday night where he hit 101 twice, I’ve been eagerly awaiting an encore. Here’s how Reyes looked in his 2nd-4th career MLB innings Saturday afternoon at Wrigley:
Fifth Inning: After 4 innings of 2-run ball from Weaver, Reyes takes over and his first pitch is a sinking 95 MPH two-seamer tailing just low to Dexter Fowler, 1-0. 96 four-seamer is fouled off, love this clean and easy delivery, then drops this 78 MPH curveball to make it 1-2.
Whewwwww. Then 97 on the hands is dribbled to the right side of the infield, and squirts through first and second for a single. Wow, that was crazy unlucky – getting BABIPed early! Fastball on the outer black at 96 is fouled off his foot by Kris Bryant, 98 absolutely paints the outside corner 0-2, then holy crap! 88 MPH change-up that has a whiffle ball wrinkle to it:
3-pitch strikeout, two heaters then that?! 97 is low and in to Anthony Rizzo, 97 on the outside edge fouled off, 97 again on the outer third is fouled again, then an 87 MPH change-up has Rizzo digging down and reaching for it with a soft liner, with Jedd Gyorko nabbing it on a dive for the second out. It wasn’t hit too hard, but credit Gyorko for the help there. 97 a little inside to Ben Zobrist, 97 a little outside, 97 low and in dribbled foul, 96 in the upper third fouled back, hanging change-up at 87 stays high, but Fowler was running and is gunned down by Yadier Molina for the third out. An unlucky hit is all that reaches, but thank that Cards D!
Sixth Inning: So Zobrist is back up, and takes a hanging curve outside 0-1. 97 paints the inside corner 1-1, 99 (!!!) is inside 2-1, 97 paints the low outside black, then 100 barely misses low, 3-2.
Yup, 100 MPH and barely missed! Then 97 at the letters is hit to center, but right to Randall Grichuk for the first out. 99 barely misses the outside corner to Addison Russell and Yadi has a few words for the ump, 98 is well outside 2-0, 98 on the outside black fouled off, 99 a little high and outside 3-1, then 98 sails high for a walk. All pitches 98-99 though, dayum. 98 well inside to Jason Heyward, 96 right in there, 96 on the outside black is poked foul to left, 98 climbs the ladder high, then 96 MPH is lined to third on the shift, and Russell got too far from first and is doubled up to end the inning.
Seventh Inning: Back out for the 7th and Reyes starts Willson Contreras with a 98 MPH fastball in there, 0-1. Fastball misses outside, 98 on the outer black barely misses and Contreras barely holds up, 98 a little further out 3-1, 96 just blows Contreras away taking a home run swing, 99 up high gets barely fouled back, Reyes hits 100 again on the low outside black but it’s spoiled, 98 again out there fouled away, then an 89 MPH change-up baffles Contreras for his second strikeout:
Pedro Baez takes a 99 MPH fastball for a strike, 99 bareeeeeely misses, 98 misses again, 99 gets a huge hack and it’s fouled back, then 100 tails right into the zone for a clear strike 3 taking. 100 MPH! And since I was lazy and didn’t pick a “real” starter, let’s link a 5th GIF:
Matt Szczur fouls off a 99 MPH fastball, huge curveball at 77 drops into the top of the zone 0-2, 100 MPH misses a little high and outside, 99 climbs the ladder high 2-2, then a 97 MPH fastball is bounced routinely to short, and another scoreless inning from Reyes. And through those 3 innings, the Cardinals would take the lead, and give Reyes his first Major League win.
Final Line: W 3.0 IP 51 Pitches (30 Strikes) 0 ER 1 Hit 1 Walk 3 K Gamescore: n/a Gamescore+: n/a
Final Analysis: “Ohhhhhh, Alex Reyes, I’m in love!” Man, this guy looks absolutely unbelievable. He’s got a nice smooth and compact delivery, and I think we see the control improve leaps and bounds from what we’ve seen in the Minors. It reminds me a little bit of Matt Harvey who had meh control in the PCL, only to come up and have great control in a pitcher’s park.
If you’ve followed Alex Reyes at all, you’ve heard all about the fastball. He hit 101 in the Futures Game and looked dominant in that display, and has had unreal K rates all through the Minors. He was anywhere from 96-100 in this outing, loosening up to mainly 98-100 as his outing went on. But with epic heat comes epic responsibility. And unlike someone like Nathan Eovaldi or Yordano Ventura, Reyes has two plus, consistent off-speed pitches. The hammer curve at 78ish MPH we only saw as a pitch for strikes, which is crazy to see for a 21-year-old. He didn’t really use it as his out pitch, but from the scouting report, he can bury it to try and get chases. But I was really impressed with the change-up. 87-89 MPH with a nasty wrinkle to it to keep hitters honest. And to stay honest on a 100 MPH fastball?! Cue the excitement.
Since I play in a dyno NL-only, I kinda have let my biases go to the wayside. I have to embrace the 14 other teams and not hate all the Cardinals like I used to. But hey, even the Cardinals fans hate the Cardinals! Despite feeling dirty about it, I crawled some of the Cardinals beat, and I don’t see many rumors or outcry that it should be Reyes starting over Weaver. So I left him out of my ranks for now, but I wanted to put everyone on Reyes high-alert. Should the Cards have another injury or make that swap with Weaver, I’d almost venture Reyes is must-own. He got banned for smoking ganja the first 50 games, but that might be a blessing as it has kept his innings down to only 69.1 across AAA and 4 in the MLB. There’s absolutely no reason why he wouldn’t be able to be in the rotation the rest of the season if they want to go that route. Flag him where you can.
Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto, green for risers, red for fallers)
Dropped Out: Michael Wacha, STL (DL, shoulde with that scap issue, hope he can get that sorted out), Taijuan Walker, SEA (awful in his first start getting demoted, I just don’t think you can rely on anything from him this year), Adam Conley, MIA (DL, finger, it’s probably only a minimum stay, but with only 1.5 months left, it’s too big a chunk of time. No more celebrating teammate HRs for you, Adam!), Brandon McCarthy, LAD (DL, hip), James Shields, CHW (yeah, yeah, yeah, he was like 97 last week, so not like that was a terrible rank)
- Ugh, well while Reyes looks like the Cards ace sooner than later, I just have no clue what to do with Waino or C-Mart. Both are still pitching decently (well, not so much for Waino, his last two have been dreadful), but I’m hard-pressed to move them down too much. I just had to a little though…
- Things seem to be going a lot better than I expected for Clayton Kershaw, who is throwing again without issue. If he’s back by September, he could have a huge finish for those who were able to stash.
- Former boyfriend of mine Carlos Rodon is looking a little better after his short Dl stint with the wrist issue, so I would give him a look in good streaming opportunities the next few turns, and if all goes well the next 2-3 start, maybe he can finish 2016 strong like he did 2015.
- A little light on the additional notes, but it felt like most of the moves this week were fairly self-explanatory. Or maybe I’m going insane in my own head like the dude from Pi!
You guys as excited for Reyes as I am? And what parts of my ranks are a “travesty” this week? Shoot your thoughts below, and happy pitching Razzball Nation!