Cardinals righty Alex Reyes has decided to have Tommy John surgery, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. The unfortunate outcome seemed likely after it emerged yesterday that Reyes was under evaluation; as Good further reports today, Reyes was diagnosed with a full tear of his ulnar collateral ligament after reporting pain during a throwing session on Friday.
With the news, it’s clear that the 22-year-old Reyes will miss all of the 2017 season. He’ll likely aim to return to action early in the 2018 campaign, assuming that his rehabilitation program proceeds smoothly. It’s a long road, and not without it’s risks, but many other pitchers have successfully found their way back.
For the organization, losing Reyes will tell in the short and the long term, even if he is able to return to full strength. He likely would have been an important contributor to the 2017 club as it attempts the tall task of dethroning the rival Cubs. And the club will lose not only the chance to further develop the prized righty but also a year or more of his service time (which will run while he’s on the DL).
Reyes was seen as one of the game’s top prospects entering the 2016 season, though his timeline was impacted somewhat due to the fact that he opened the year on the restricted list due to a suspension for marijuana use. Still, he earned his way up to the majors in time for a 46-inning debut, and only raised his profile along the way.
While it was obviously a short sample, Reyes followed through on the hype by allowing just eight earned runs (good for a 1.57 ERA) on only 33 base hits. He also racked up a strong 10.2 K/9 against a suboptimal 4.5 BB/9, showing both his upside and need for further refinements.
Just as importantly, the youthful hurler exhibited the electric stuff that put him on the map. He averaged over 96 mph with both his four-seam and two-seam fastballs, which he went to with over 60% of his deliveries to the plate while also working in a change and curve. Unfortunately, that propensity for the hard stuff, combined with his young age and prior UCL damage, meant that Reyes carried several of the TJ risk factors identified by the statistical study of MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum.
With Reyes out, the Cards will not only lose a fair bit of upside from the staff — even if he wasn’t a regular in the rotation, he might’ve dominated from the pen — but will open camp with less depth than had been hoped. The ability of Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn to bounce back from their own health issues will now be all the more important, and the club will need to hope that 40-man prospects Luke Weaver, John Gant, and Mike Mayers can continue to make strides. Southpaw Marco Gonzales could enter the picture, too, if he’s able to make it all the way back from his own TJ procedure, and Goold notes that former closer Trevor Rosenthal will have a chance to show this spring that he can transition to a starting role.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Well this sucks
Huge loss for baseball this year. Wish him well and a full recovery.
How many Cardinals pitchers is that in the past say, 5 5-6 years?
Too many. Waino missed two years, Carpenter missed two years, Garcia missed two maybe three I think, Lynn missed last year, now Reyes. Not to mention Wacha’s injuries
Its kind of “the norm” now. Just about every pitcher is getting it down now-a-days and I guess the silver lining is he is getting it out of they way now at a young age? Its unfortunate that the recovery time is so long.. bad break for the Cardinals but hey, they did win the World Series without Wainwright for a full season in 2011.
I wouldn’t say he’s “getting it out of the way” as it’s no guarantee that TJ is a one-and-done procedure for a pitchers career.
If it was something where a TJS ligament was gonna gonna fix the problem forever, then I’d agree somewhat, but these ligaments have a shelf life before they wear out, in most cases. Having it this early just opens him up to a higher risk of needing it in the future.
TJS this early significantly increases the chances of a second one which has a markedly lower success rate.
It very well could fix the problem forever.. thats why they have the surgery. It does have a high success rate. In fact its so common now that young pitchers are actually getting it done before they have issues. Dont believe me? Look it up.
It’s more ‘normal’ with some teams than others … think there might something to the player development style and strategy here? (God forbid one question ‘the cardinals way’)…
Yeah it could, or it couldn’t, like the people who it hasn’t done that for. The number one predictor for future injury is past injury.
Are you talking about the rangers guy getting preemptive surgery? Which the Rangers’ front office apparently don’t back.
While the rate of pitchers getting Tommy John surgeries in recent years has skyrocketed, no one has decided to do a preemptive surgery. It doesn’t sound like the Rangers organization is backing this either.
“Our players are expected to keep their bodies in good condition,” said Rangers GM, Jon Daniels. “And we can only control what they do and don’t do with their bodies to a limited degree. We’re talking with Matt, and we hope to talk some sense into him.”
Next time you cut and paste word for word on another article – you might want to add quotations. Example:
“Are you talking about the rangers guy getting preemptive surgery? Which the Rangers’ front office apparently don’t back.
While the rate of pitchers getting Tommy John surgeries in recent years has skyrocketed, no one has decided to do a preemptive surgery. It doesn’t sound like the Rangers organization is backing this either.”
And yes there has been more than one in the minors and even high school.. not necessarily in the MLB
Not all of those missed years were TJS, you know.
Who will replace him in the rotation?
I think he was going to battle for a spot with Wacha so probably him.
I don’t think there would even be a battle. Now its most likely Wacha, which I completely disagree with.
Yeah there was no battle. The unofficial rotation was Martinez, Wainwright, Reyes, Lynn and Leake. Wacha will more than likely slide back in, but that’s still 3 starters on innings limit with one less depth piece.
What innings limits? Reyes himself was the only one who was going to have an innings limit.
Well, Weaver too, but he’s still not likely to crack the rotation right away, anyway.
Wacha or Weaver
best to get it over with now, than down the road.
Except those that have this done multiple times.
Not how it works
He probably meant that it’s better to do it now than go the rehab/PRP injection route that rarely seems to work.
Bad karma hitting the Cards
Does this exhaust his rookie status?
Determining rookie status:
A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).
I think, since he will be on the DL, he wont
He will. Greg Bird exhausted his rookie status last year and he didn’t exceed 130 Ab’s.
You can get the year back by him playing 65 games in the minors in say 2018.
Umm you do know that Bird had 157 ABs in 2015 right? So that’s the reason why he exceeded the rookie status.
The simple way to answer this question is no he does not exhaust rookie status. He accumulated less than the max 50 ip and also only collected 24 days on the active roster before sept, expansion of rosters. Which is what @chester just explained.
Is what Maness did not an option? Or not something they want to explore with him?
That’s what I was thinking as well, I thought a partial tear was a good candidate for this new surgery. (FYI, Mitch Harris also had the new procedure done)
Must be too big a tear, or too experimental at this stage, because thats the first thing I thought of
Do you want to risk his career?
Maness was too old and marginal a player to wait out a TJ. He might not have gotten another shot.
Might as well just get Reyes’ TJ over with, pretty much every young pitcher seems to need it.
We’ll probably start seeing pre-emptive TJ surgeries soon.
Unless they can extend the expected shelf life on TJ surgery and 100% success rate then there is too big an ethical issue to have pre emptive TJ. But yes your assessment on TJ and Reyes, I 100% agree.
It’s addressed in the Goold article that I linked to. He’s not a candidate for the alternate procedure.
I don’t think a lot of people recognize the overall success rate of TJ is still not even in the 90th percentile. That’s a huge risk
Too bad, get well soon
Wainwright Martinez Leake Lynn Wacha/Weaver most likely
All staffs go through this. All of baseball goes through this…big issues I remember recently with the Marlins, braves, yankees, rangers, Mets. Heck the Mets have 4 out of their 5 who went through it with Thor probably about to burst plus multiple others in the minors each year. It’s an epidemic in baseball. I personally feel you have to expect one missed year with each young pitcher during their first few years in the big leagues. Chances are so high now, especially since the art of pitching has changed from being a magician and painting corners and off speed to trying to through the hardest in baseball where people’s sliders now are faster than most pitchers fastball just 10 years ago. Sucks a lot for Reyes, but he will bounce back and with this behind him hopefully he can have a long and successful career.
Sure all staffs will experience this, but it seem the Cards have just been hit with it a ton these same setbacks in the past decade, kind of like the Mets as you said.. Carpenter, Garcia, Wainwright, Lynn, Gonzales, Duke, Reyes all have required TJ in the past the decade, and all were major pieces or prospects.
Darn it darn it I was so excited to see him this season; get better
Hello Doug Fister?
I really REALLY hope its weaver over wacha.
Well in a perfect world we’d trade for quintana, without expending reyes, but that’s quite the long shot.
It’s really a matter now of punting the season. Reyes won’t be back until next year, and even then he’s on an innings limit. The Cards were barely in the conversation with the Cubs with Reyes, they’ve certainly fallen beyond any reasonable expectation to compete using Wacha.
The White Sox could afford to wait on Reyes. I’d check in to see if they’d still be interested. After all, that’s four years of control on Quintana – who’s already really good and would probably benefit from a move to the NL.
Wtf? Punt the season? Seriously? The cards have a huge uphill climb trying to catch Cubs and this no doubt makes it harder. But the drop off from rookie Reyes with big time innings limit to wacha/ weaver is enough to quit on the season? Games are played on the field not on paper. Anything can happen over a season and I would still put cards well in the wild card hunt, even with Reyes out. Cards do not punt, especially not after first day of spring training. Lost waino and carpenter and won WS and pennant in two different years. They were what we hoped Reyes to eventually become. Aces. So they will be fine, rally behind this loss and compete all year long like cardinals always do.
I’d argue the Cards only real hope was Reyes coming out like gangbusters and pitching a Cy Young quality season. They’re so far from the Cubs it’s not worth discussing without him.
Small sample size but Reyes had 52 k in 46 innings throws 101 mph and 1.57 e.r.a. So they would be punting if wacha is his replacement. He was #1 prospect in all of baseball
Yeah but that’s from a last season standpoint. There were SO many issues at the start of the season, and with what little changes have been done have added a lot of certainty. Outfield is known, and defensively far better, no more defensive albatrosses in left. The only unknown on the diamond is who is starting 3rd, and last year every position seemed to be a guessing game. Plus regardless of with or without reyes, the rotation is improved by replacing garcia with lynn, most likely. Reyes was to knock out the wacha factor which would have been a large boost but now we’re back to him or weaver.
I still see a better season than last, just not a whole lot better, with maybe some wild card possibilities. Cubs got a bit weaker (seems to be the consensus at least), and the others in the division haven’t really improved much. So hopefully with the more solid defense, we’ll pull maybe a 90 season or so.
They’re tied for first with reds, brewers, pirates, Cubs in central. Games are played on the field not on paper. Besides they could finish 20 games back of Cubs and still win it all. Without Reyes they still will atleast contend for wildcard and then it’s a crapshoot and whoevers hot in October wins it all.
I see what you’re doing, troll.
Really?! Wacha has a high track record of success and now has renewed health, while Weaver has yet to prove that’s he even an MLB level pitcher. The job is practically already Wacha’s now.
Thats the thing though, his medical is really really shaky.
I follow the Cards pretty well, but I never heard before that Reyes already had a damaged UCL as far back as 2013.
Was their sole strategy to pitch him ( besides limiting his output, I assume) and hope for the best?
I see no notes in past articles of platelet treatments, strengthening regimens, stem cells, et al.
Seems odd to know that he’s had a damaged ligament for years.
It’s the nature of pitching. Most likely they discovered a smaller tear in exit or ST physicals that they were keeping their eye on. Almost all SPs have a tear in there it’s just the nature of the business. It’s the extent of the tear that’s the issue. A UCL is a ticking time bomb.
Many pitchers continue pitching through small tears. Not all are well publicized, especially when they occur before a player achieves a high profile.
Thanks for the response. Blue_ and Jeff. I know that some pitchers possess minor shredding and “small tears”. Just wondering if the Cards/Reyes used ancillary treatments to help prevent what just happened.
Or maybe they did, but they kept such info well hidden, to keep the player’s or prospect’s value elevated.
It always boils down to “Can’t have enough pitching” !
Don’t follow the Cards extremely closely, can someone explained to me what happened to Wacha? Seems like he really fell of a cliff from 2015 to 2016. Was it purely his health or was it a combination of health and performance?
Wacha had issues with a stress reaction in his throwing shoulder. Making it hard to throw at full strength. I think Brandon McCarthy of the Dodgers has pitched through something similar, if not the same thing. And because this happened, Wacha’s velocity dipped a bit and his consistency on his off-speed stuff has also declined.
But that’s the thing though, according to some of the articles I’ve seen, his velocity on things like the cutter is actually higher than normal, and the rest is on par. I think its a mixture of getting off with the stress reaction, then never regaining the performance factor.
Not familiar with the Cards roster and their MLB ready pitching, so does anyone know if this means they are going to look for SP? I know the Rays have some options available for #5 competition. They are looking for MLB ready/near ready lefty mashers. There a possible match?
I think Wacha and Weaver will fight it out for the No. 5 spot, with John Gant filling in a bullpen role (probably taking Wacha’s slot).
And Trevor Rosenthal is being stretched this Spring to be a starter, so he may surprise.
I think if the Cards make a move it’s only if Wacha or Lynn have troubles or injuries early on.
Otherwise, the Cards likely won’t make a move until the summer trading deadline.
Thanks. Sounds like they have some options for #5 type production, but never good to see a young arm like that hurt.
Welcome to the big-league rotation, Mr. Weaver.
Go forth and conquer.
Please, just not Wacha.
You mean the now healthy Mr. Wacha. Weaver will get his chance after some more seasoning in AAA.
I don’t want to say they would be better off if this happened 2 weeks earlier but if it did I could have seen them signing Wood to fill the hole but he had already agreed with the Royals but I think the Cards will be alright
Since Reyes has options remaining, can they not option him and put him on the Minor League DL so that he doesn’t lose a year of service time?
My friend and I were just discussing this. Great point. And I think they CAN do it.
No they lose that appeal if they tried. Plus they probably would like the extra roster spot.
Nope, he’s stuck on the Major League DL after finishing last season on the MLB roster. The same thing once happened with Jaime Garcia.
So how does this work? I’m sure it’s been covered before, but Reyes was listed as the #1 prospect in the game by a few outlets, however at face value, the surgery entire removes him from that group. I would imagine all prospects behind move up a spot. I can’t remember the last time this happened to the #1 prospect in the game.
Who says he was #1? #1 Pitching Prospect, yes, but everything I’ve seen lists him at about #4 or #5 overall.
I wonder if the number of cardinals players tearing their UCL has anything to do with their player development? It seems like they churn out young flame throwers every year, maybe they’re rushing these guys?
Reminds you of the fragility of professional athletes. And gives you perspective when they finally get to negotiate a free agent or extension contract. Reyes may never get that chance.
This is an example of precisely why Rick Hahn should not trade Jose Quintana for anything less than premium value. The odds that a productive and durable pitcher like “Q” would physically break down in comparison to another starter on each of the 29 other MLB clubs is miniscule.
Alex Reyes was expected to be a significant contributor to the Cardinals rotation and is now lost for the 2017 season. It’s pretty much a guarantee that other pitchers will also succumb to injury during spring training and over the early months of the regular season. As long as Quintana continues to do what he’s done since becoming a fixture in the White Sox rotation since 2012, including never missing a starting assignment, his value will grow. Desperation, especially from contending teams, will continue to escalate as the summer trade deadline approaches and the White Sox are almost assured of have all the leverage with their asset, even in the event a couple of other top of the rotation starters become available.
You seem to have assurances that Quintana won’t get injured. Durability is not a guarantee; look at Wainwright for example.
If I were a competing GM, I’d be wary of selling the farm to count on the lasting health of one guy’s arm.
FWIW, whatever the White Sox do for training is the best in baseball from the perspective of preventative medicine. They suffer fewer DL stints than anyone else, especially in the rotation.
Quintana is a control specialist, not a fireballer. He’s got a motion that doesn’t cause a lot of stress on his joints. If he were to suffer an injury, it would probably need to be accidental (like falling down the stairs). He’s not a good candidate to get hurt, especially when weighed against starters across the league (which is why the original post makes a ton of sense).
Thanks, and good to know how good you consider the WS training and all, but it doesn’t negate what I wrote.
I wasn’t specifying Quintana with “one guy’s arm”. I meant any pitcher, fireballer or not, Pale Hoser or not.
BTW, speaking of pitchers and prospective arm injury, I held my breath (figuratively, just for clarity) whenever Chris Sale pitched for the White Sox.
Well, you shouldn’t have. The White Sox training staff and pitching staff are the best in the business when it comes to this stuff.
Now that Sale’s away from that, feel free to hold your breath.
I see. So let’s segue into Sale. If Sale gets an arm injury with the Red Sox, you’ll say it’s because of the Red Sox training staff not being as good as the vaunted WS staff and the haloed Coop. Not because of Sale’s inverted W / unnatural delivery, or the wear on his arm.
Or maybe he used a scissors too vigorously, and the Pale Hosers saw an arm injury coming and got rid of him.
BTW, excuse me for not taking your word for it; but please show us all, in a quantifiable manner, how the WS injury-prevention regimen leaves the others in the dust. Many thanks.
Nobody can predict the human body. There are pitchers who throw ugly and experts say he is going to blow his arm out soon and never does. Other pitcher they say he has perfect mechanics and will never blow his arm out and does. It’s a crap shoot with pitchers .
Thanks for reiterating a concern that was already addressed in my comment. Then again, perhaps you actually believe that the odds of a durable pitcher like “Q” getting hurt are better than the other 145 starting pitchers who will be in the rotations of the 29 MLB clubs come opening day.
It might only take one significant injury to a contenders starting rotation in order for the desperation factor to manifest itself and for the White Sox to maximize their return on Quintana.
The upside to this, and there’s always an upside if you look hard enough, is it gives wacha and weaver chance to prove themselves and potentially gain value. Wacha has to prove his health and weaver his worth. We’ll see. The one who stands the most to lose on this is Reyes. #1 prospect to surgery and unknown future has to be a bitter pill for him to swallow. Right at the cusp of greatness. Hope he can have full recovery and success in future.
I don’t trust wacha enough for a starting role, would much prefer weaver. I actually hope rosenthal might be able to be a decent starter. He had a really good early multi-inning game last season, hoping he’d repeat that.
Since Dave Duncan left, there sure has been a lot of Cardinals having Tommy John surgery. Tommy John surgery and an abundance of sore arms and shoulder problems. What’s going on????
Dave Duncan was the man
Oh well. Maybe he can make a run at 2018 NL Rookie of the Year instead.