School: Gonzaga University
Selected 2015 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (34): Arturo Reyes began receiving support in the community vote in the early 30’s. Those votes ended up being enough to get him slotted into the top prospects list at #34.
SoonerinNC must have made quite the impact with his concise post noting that Reyes had a great year with his upper-90’s heater until he bombed at Triple-A Memphis. BobReed noted that Reyes received several primo scouting reports from Baseball Prospectus this year as well. - Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore (26): The odds are slim enough for a 20th round draft pick to reach the majors, but a 40th round pick already at Triple-A with the potential to start every fifth day is a diamond in the rough.
With the same initials as the organization's top overall prospect, Alex Reyes, Arturo just finished his third professional season and is one step away from cracking the big league door after advancing steadily over the last three years. In his most recent work, the Gonzaga product was named TCN's Springfield Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year.
Reyes showed an ability to maintain mid-90s velocity this past summer, often topping as high as 97 mph. He also has a nice tight slider as a swing and miss pitch, decent change-up he throws in any count, and mental approach he credits for much of his success. Mechanically, Reyes gains deception from a short 3/4 arm slot and is very fluid and sound as he uses very little wasted movements both from the windup and stretch.
However, scouts and prospect writers I've spoken with differ on Reyes. Obviously, he has given the Cardinals more value than a 40th rounder, but his secondary pitches do not present enough upside. As a result, some project him in the range of a 4th-5th starter to middle relief or swingman-spot starter. The most positive feedback was the potential to be a mid-rotation starter if everything comes together.
"Reyes looks like a ten-year vet while on the mound," Baseball Prospectus prospect team member Colin Young told me.
2016 will be the most important development year of Reyes' career as he is on the cusp of the majors but could also stall out. However, at every level, he has been consistent and has proven to make adjustments. I have no doubt he will respond after being hit around through his first go-around of the Pacific Coast League.
Brian Walton (36): Despite all the focus on Reyes having overcome being the 1,205th player selected in his draft, it is easy to overlook how rapid his rise in the system has been.
Signed in 2013, he was placed at Johnson City, a lower level than many college players - but remember that he was a 40th-rounder, one pick away from being a non-drafted free agent. Reyes performed well in the Appalachian League, posting a 2.08 ERA.
The next season, he caught up, spending all of 2014 at Peoria, where he was a durable performer, recognized as a Midwest League All-Star. Reyes placed in the top 10 in the Cardinals system in ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched and batting average against, yet he did not make our Top 40 one year ago.
After just three starts in 2015, Reyes blew through Palm Beach, usually a good developmental stop for pitchers. By May 1, the Cardinals challenged him at Double-A Springfield. It proved to be a good decision, as Reyes was named both a mid-season and post-season Texas League All-Star and picked up the organization’s Pitcher of the Month award for June.
When I asked Cardinals minor league pitching coordinator Tim Leveque which pitchers in the system stood out in terms of progress made in 2015, Reyes was one of three names mentioned.
“He started in Palm Beach and did really well as a starter,” Leveque said. “He made that transition to Double-A and was able to transition into that level, which was a positive. He is a guy who then had an opportunity to pitch in Memphis. He had a good year. He was a guy who was able to jump two levels, which is a good sign, and was able to learn something at each level he was at and be able to make progress.”
Leveque suggests that approach as well as refinement of his offerings were behind Reyes’ 2015 success.
“He became more proficient with his pitches,” the coach said. “He is a guy who has an assortment of pitches. In terms of command, attacking the strike zone – between Palm Beach and Springfield - that was something that was able to help him a lot with his approach and his ability to attack the strike zone. When his stuff is on, he has the ability to miss some bats.”
Proven to be a durable performer, Reyes pitched 122 2/3 innings in his first full season in 2014 and increased that to 139 in 2015. That is something the organization values.
“He didn’t miss any starts this year, which is a good thing,” Leveque said. “So he was able to compile innings and go to the post every time.”
On the downside, Reyes is not physically imposing and seems to not yet possess a refined Major League starter’s repertoire. His strength is his fastball, yet he is not a strikeout pitcher. Given that and the considerable competition for rotation spots in St. Louis, I consider a relief role more likely for him in the future.
While middle relievers and set up men are important for any team, in rankings like these, unless I see clear big-league closer potential, I generally place others ahead.
Our 2016 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.
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