The “Stash” List: Is The Cardinals’ Alex Reyes Worth Stashing Or Should He Be Ignored?

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With Michael Wacha being moved to the bullpen there had been a lot of chatter about Alex Reyes and the potential for him to step into the vacated rotation spot (though instead it’s Genesis Cabrera getting the call). While the opportunity isn’t coming yet, you know it’s just a matter of time before his time comes.  A lot of the speculation was likely due to his recent strong start while at Triple-A, throwing 40 of 70 pitches for strikes and posting the following line:

5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K

Reyes was doing an elite job of generating groundballs, with 7 compared to just 1 fly ball.  The big key is going to be his control, something he’s struggled with both in the minors this season (11 BB over 15.1 IP overall) and throughout his Major League career (5.26 BB/9 over 53.0 IP).  You can argue that being yo-yoed between the bullpen and the rotation has been part of the problem, but even working his way up through the minors that has always been an issue.

He also hasn’t generally been an elite groundball pitcher, like he showed in his most recent outing, as he owns a minor league career 0.88 GO/AO (0.66 in the Majors).  So there’s the risk of poor control and home run issues?  Strikeouts or not (and he does bring swing and miss stuff), that’s not a combination that anyone should be targeting.

Just further complicating things is the question as to how many innings the Cardinals will let the 24-year old (he’ll turn 25 in August) throw:

  • 2015 – 101.1 IP
  • 2016 – 111.1 IP
  • 2017 – 0.0 IP
  • 2018 – 27.0 IP

So in normal circumstances we’d be looking at around 140-150 innings limit, but including this season he’s worked 45.1 innings over the past 2+ years.  Could the Cardinals limit him even further?  It’s possible, and that just further clouds the upside for the remainder of 2019.

The question now facing fantasy owners is how to value him when the time does come.  Here are some to consider:

  • Joey Lucchesi – Don’t Drop – Lucchesi’s 4.25 ERA isn’t impressive, but he’s shown the skills (9.33 K/9, 2.29 BB/9 and 50.0% groundball rate) while suffering from poor luck (68.8% strand rate)
  • Jon Gray – Don’t Drop – A 4.62 ERA is somewhat ugly, and the “Coors Effect” does hang over him, but his 9.85 K/9, 3.43 BB/9 (and he’s generally been better than that) and 48.4% groundball rate without an innings limit gives him a little bit more perceived upside for this season
  • Griffin Canning – Droppable – He’s been great since debuting and does bring elite control, but he pitches in the American League and has already shown the home run issues we feared (1.71 HR/9, 39.1% groundball rate)

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

6 COMMENTS

  1. Good morning Prof!
    Would you pick up Alvarez or Reyes with one vacant slot for potential? I’m pretty balanced on pitching and hitting. It’s a 12 team redraft standard.
    Thanks!

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