Alex Reyes and Luke Weaver (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Alex Reyes is up, Michael Wacha is out, Brayan Pena is moved to the 60-day DL and Luke Weaver is on the way.

The St. Louis Cardinals have brought their top prospect, right-handed pitcher Alex Reyes, to the majors for the first time. Starting pitcher Michael Wacha has been placed on the disabled list and catcher Brayan Pena has been moved to the 60-day disabled list. In addition, Luke Weaver will be following Reyes, to start in Wacha’s place on Saturday.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced prior to tonight’s (Tuesday’s) game that they have purchased the contract of rookie right-handed pitcher Alex Reyes from Memphis (AAA) and placed right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha (right shoulder inflammation) on the 15-day disabled list.  To make room for Reyes on the team’s 40-man Major League roster, the team transferred catcher Brayan Pena (left knee inflammation) from the 15-day D.L. to the 60-day D.L.

Reyes, 21, cited by many as one of the top prospects in baseball, will be making his Major League debut after having compiled 69 professional starts since signing as a non-drafted free-agent by the Cardinals on February 3, 2012.

The 6-3, 175-pound Reyes, who was signed out of Elizabeth (N.J.) High School, is of Dominican descent and last month started for the World Team at the MLB Futures Game in San Diego during All-Star Week.  Reyes fanned four batters in his 1.2 innings of work in the Futures Game.

Since beginning his 2016 campaign on May 22, Reyes has posted a 2-3 mark with a 4.96 ERA in 14 starts (65.1 IP) for Memphis, striking out 93.  

Reyes, who shared Cardinals Minor League co-Pitcher of the Year honors in 2015, was also named to the Rising Stars team after participating in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League last year.

Reyes is 20-21 with a 3.50 ERA in 69 career minor league starts, fanning 449 in 334.1 innings pitched.   He has been assigned uniform no. 61.

Wacha, who made his 23rd start last night, is 7-7 with a 4.45 ERA this season in 131.1 innings pitched.


Brian Walton’s take

With the news that a rotation spot is open, my take is, “Why not?” The main question is whether the talented youngster can come out firing bullets or if he will struggle to throw strikes and what role he will play for St. Louis.

Of late, Reyes had seem to hit a wall in his endeavor to go deeper into games as a starter. Though the results were better last time out, Reyes has not been eye-popping as a Triple-A starter. The 21-year-old last pitched Saturday night, with his next turn as a starter scheduled on Thursday.

Either way, it should be fun to watch Reyes the big-leaguer and it offers a shot of adrenaline to a languishing Cardinals squad that has lost four of its last seven games - to last-place teams.

The last Cardinal to wear number 61 was non-roster reliever Juan Gonzalez, released from the Memphis roster last Saturday. Seth Maness sported 61 from 2013 to 2015 before changing to 43 this season.

Memphis will be a player short until Reyes’ roster replacement is named.

Wacha is the first member of St. Louis’ 2016 rotation to go onto the disabled list. No word yet on how long he will be out. Other starting options on the current roster include Tyler Lyons, Jerome Williams and Matt Bowman.

Update: Reyes to Pen, Weaver to Rotation

Tuesday afternoon, general manager John Mozeliak said that Reyes will work out of the bullpen and in a major surprise, that the club will be promoting right-hander Luke Weaver to start in Wacha’s place on Saturday in Chicago.
Weaver, the first of St. Louis’ two first-round picks in the 2014 draft, had just been moved up to Triple-A Memphis last week. Saturday will be the former Florida State star's normal turn after he tossed six shutout innings on just two singles Monday night in his Redbirds debut.

After a late start to the season due to a hand injury suffered in spring training, Weaver logged a 1.40 ERA in a dozen Double-A stats, with 88 strikeouts against just 10 walks in 77 innings.

With Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney out for the season due to injury, Reyes and Weaver have stepped up to be the system’s top prospects closest to being ready for St. Louis. The two pitched together in the Arizona Fall League in 2015 (see above photo).

On the other hand, Mike Mayers, who made one start on July 24, is being passed over as are Lyons and the other aforementioned starting options already on the roster.

Before Weaver is activated on Saturday, the Cardinals will need to make both 25-man and 40-man roster moves to accommodate his addition.

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