As we embark on our trip through the Cardinals' minor league system, it only seems appropriate that we start with the players who are no longer on my list.
Each ranking and rating-system does things differently. It's why you'll see Tyler O'Neill on one list and not the other. It's why I'll almost certainly never have Jonathan Machado on one of my lists but another outlet might have him in their top 25. We all have our methods of operating, and we all view prospects differently.
What I usually do is, I eliminate anyone that has cashed out their major league service clock. While other outlets focus on 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched as their limits, I also eliminate anyone that has spent 45 non-September days on the active major league roster. That's because that is how the Major League rules work. Those are the three numbers, the three baselines if you will, that eliminate a player from the Rookie Of The Year Award.
I'll dig a little deeper into each of the four "Graduates" and why they are off of the list in each individual write-up. With that in mind, I also should say that I hate writing about the same guys over and over again, especially if they've made a major league debut or have been on the 40-man for multiple years. So, that's why I've decided to eliminate some of these players from my Dirty Thirty-Five (D35).
As compared to the individual write-ups that will rollout over the next month and a half, this article and the article about the prospects that just missed out on the D35 will not be as intense. They are more of a "snapshot", if you will.
That's enough explanation, I believe. Let's get to the list!
Graduate #1: Alex Reyes - Right-Handed pitcher.
It's pretty simple with Reyes and why he isn't on the Dirty Thirty-Five; all that he needs to do is record one more out at the major league level to exhaust his rookie eligibility. He is literally teetering on the 50 innings-pitched precipice. That's the first reason why he isn't on the list.
The second reason is, the guy made his major league debut in 2016. That's two full seasons ago. Since then, he's suffered two season-ending injuries. More importantly, for the sake of these articles, everything that can be said or be written about him has already been said or written. There isn't any information that I can give you that you don't already have. That isn't any fun for me and It completely negates what I view as the reason for these lists of prospects: To provide the audience with information that they aren't getting anywhere else.
That being said, the rundown with Reyes is simple: If he's healthy he'll be a top 20 pitcher in baseball. He has the raw stuff of Noah Syndergaard without the consistently exhibited command. That is, until he made his major league debut out of the bullpen. He then displayed the same type of needed-command while marching his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2018. That was the best that I have ever seen Reyes pitch, and I've been fortunate enough to have seen Reyes look "elite" countless times at the minor league level prior to his rehab in 2018. There was one change that I notice during his rehab and it was that he was altering, delaying-or-speeding up, his wind-up to alter the timing of hitters. This is such an advanced technique that few pitchers can master and it seemed like it was second nature to him.
Other than that, he throws three pitches that are well-above average with the potential to be the rare "plus plus" type of pitches in a fastball, curve, and change. His success will be determined by how he rebounds from a surgery that involved partially reattaching his right "lat" to a bone and ahhhhhhhhhhhhh that sounds awful. Anyway, here's another .gif of him because he's magic.