Considered by most to be the Cardinals' top prospect, Reyes will be making his major league debut. He has made 19 starts for Triple-A Memphis this season, going 7-4 with a 3.44 ERA, allowing 88 hits, striking out 106 and walking 28 in 104-2/3 innings. Opponents are batting only .219 against him and he was recently tabbed in Baseball America's Best Tools survey as having the best control in the Pacific Coast League.
The 23-year-old right-hander was placed on the disabled list on June 14 and missed 19 days with a sprained AC (acromioclavicular) joint in his right shoulder, but is said to be fully recovered now. Baseball America recently said that "Reyes has been throwing his fastball in the low 90s again since coming back from his injury, and his curveball and changeup have been solid. All that's missing is a bit of sharpness, as he knocks off a little more rust with each start."
Reyes will have to be added to the 40-man roster to be called up, but he will likely be sent back down after his start. The Cardinals just need someone to make a spot-start so they can give the starting rotation an extra day of rest since the Cardinals have only one scheduled off-day during the entire month of August.
"We're thinking about how we're going to deal with these 30 games in 31 days" this month, manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for Monday's edition. "That (schedule) goes against what we're been trying to do - to periodically get our pitchers an extra day. We've been rolling over our rotation all year long, so whenever there's an off day, guys can pitch on their sixth day so that when we get into this part of August, we've got a lot of guys feeling good.
"But, with our schedule in August, we can only do that one time. So, we've been thinking of ways we can create that, and all we can do is add a starter."
Last season was Reyes' first as a pro. Reyes pitched with Chicago Cubs' ace Mark Prior in college at Southern California and remains good friends with him. Nagging elbow injuries caused him to fall in both the 2002 and 2003 drafts. He was drafted in the 13th round by Detroit in 2002, but did not sign. He did, however, sign with the Cardinals in 2003 after they took him in the 15th round, but he would not begin his professional career until 2004.
Reyes made the opening day start for high Class A Palm Beach last season, but he would make only one more start after that before going on the disabled list for two months with shoulder tendonitis. He made five more starts after coming off the disabled list before being promoted to Double-A Tennessee on July 1. From that point on, Reyes was dominant. In 12 starts for the Smokies, he went 6-2 with a 2.91 ERA, striking out 102 and walking only 13 in 74-1/3 innings while opponents hit only .230 against him.
Jason Scott can be reached at email@example.com