Yesterday was the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers, and the Cardinals received some very bad news regarding one of their top prospects. After undergoing an MRI on Tuesday, pitcher Alex Reyes was diagnosed with a ruptured ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Earlier today, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced that Reyes will have Tommy John surgery to repair the damage. This means that he will miss the entire 2017 season.
This injury is a tough blow to the Cardinals. The team was counting on Reyes to be an important part of their starting rotation this year. The 22-year-old right-hander is considered by many to be one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. He has a fastball that can reach up to 100 mph. Unfortunately, pitchers who throw that hard usually end up having elbow issues at some point in their career. Reyes will now have to deal with an elbow problem very early on in his Major League career.
Reyes was called up by the Cardinals in August of last season. In five starts and seven relief appearances, he went 4-1 with an ERA of 1.57. Reyes also recorded 52 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched. His numbers were very impressive, especially for a young pitcher. The Cardinals were hoping to see what he could do in a full season in 2017. Reyes will now have to wait another year to show everyone his full potential.
Before the injury, Reyes was competing with righty Michael Wacha to be the fifth starter in the Cardinals starting rotation. Wacha struggled last season, going 7-7 with a 5.09 ERA. Now that Reyes is hurt, the job will go to him. The rest of the rotation includes Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake and Lance Lynn. Although it is still a relatively solid group of pitchers overall, Reyes could have added another dimension to this unit, particularly considering how hard he throws.
The Cardinals are known for being a team that has the ability to overcome injuries. Because of the depth of their rotation, they should be fine this season. As disappointing as the Reyes injury is, the team can still function without him. Manager Mike Matheny always seems to have his team in a good position come playoff time. Even though the Cardinals are in a tough division with the defending World Series champions Chicago Cubs, they still have a decent chance to compete for a playoff spot in 2017. They will just have to do so without one of their best prospects.