One can look at Alexander Reyes’ situation in at least two different ways.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospect and one of the best young pitchers in the minor leagues has everything going for him, including a blazing fastball and impressive strikeout totals at every level through Double-A. With continued development and no major setbacks, the right-hander could become the top of the rotation replacement for Adam Wainwright one day.
The other side of the coin is valid concern about the judgment of a 21-year-old who seems to have not taken seriously his first positive drug test before being caught a second time with marijuana in his blood stream. To make matters worse, Reyes was suspended the very day before he was scheduled to start in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game before a national television audience.
In the bigger picture, the 50-game timeout that ensued was not only embarrassing for Reyes and the Cardinals organization, it took him out of the pitching plans for St. Louis for at least the first half of the 2016 season and likely longer.
To his credit, Reyes wrote a letter of apology, but it does not change the situation. Seemingly unlimited talent is not enough alone to make it.
In 2016, Reyes will be able to participate in spring training and extended spring training, but will not be allowed to take the field in official action until around Memorial Day.
Instead of going to spring camp to compete for a spot in the Triple-A Memphis rotation, my guess is that Reyes will be returned to Double-A after his suspension ends to demonstrate he is back up to speed.
Over the long haul, the impact of this incident will be minimized – if Reyes uses it in a positive manner and removes concerns about his maturity and judgment. It is entirely up to him.
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