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One of the top young arms that fantasy baseball players were looking forward to seeing pitch this season was St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Alex Reyes. Before a spring training game started, Reyes' season has come to an end.
Reyes has a full tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and will have Tommy John surgery. He felt the pain in his elbow while throwing on Friday. The Cardinals were expected big contributions from Reyes, even if he wasn't going to throw 200 innings. He's one of the top pitching prospects in the game and was being drafted in rounds 9-12 in early 15-team leagues.
Reyes appeared in 12 games last season with the Cardinals, including five starts. He went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and a 52:23 K:BB ratio in 46 innings.
The Cardinals have Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake and Lance Lynn, who missed all of the last season due to Tommy John surgery, slated to start. Michael Wacha is coming off an awful season and has shoulder issues.
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said Wacha would be in the starting rotation if he can handle it physically. Wacha could wind up pitching out of the bullpen, but he is worth taking a shot on very late in your drafts in deeper formats depending on how he fares in the spring. I recently took Wacha in Round 30 of a 15-team draft champions league to give you an idea of his current value. This was before the Reyes news, so Wacha might be bumped up a few rounds.
Trevor Rosenthal, a former closer, will be given an opportunity to start in the spring, but the pitcher to keep on the radar and consider drafting in the final few rounds is Luke Weaver. He began 2016 in Double-A and made one start in Triple-A before being called up by the Cardinals.
Weaver, 23, appeared in nine games, including eight starts. He pitched 36.1 innings and allowed 46 hits, walked 12 and struck out 45 with a 5.70 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. It's a small sample, and seven home runs played a factor and a high 21.2 percent HR/FB ratio. Weaver, ranked as the 50th best prospect by Baseball America, also had some poor luck with a .386 BABIP and 61.8 percent strand rate.
Weaver's last two appearances made the stats appear worse. He allowed seven hits and six runs in two innings at Coors Field and in a relief appearance to end the season, Weaver allowed four hits and five runs in two-thirds of an inning. Even if Weaver begins the season at Triple-A, keep him on your radar and draft him in NL-only leagues.