St. Louis is among many teams that has trimmed down its roster Thursday. The team announced that it has optioned four players – right-handers Alex Reyes and Junior Fernandez, lefty Genesis Cabrera and catcher Andrew Knizner – to Triple-A Memphis.
Reyes, once among the highest-rated prospects in the game, is the most recognizable name in the group. Thanks in large part to a variety of injuries, the 25-year-old hasn’t been able to live up to the vast hype he generated in his younger days. As of a couple months ago, the hope was that he’d at least emerge as a quality bullpen piece this season for the Cardinals. Perhaps that will indeed happen, but he’ll have to work his way back from the minors first. Thus far, Reyes has endured his fair share of difficulty in Triple-A, including during a 2019 showing in which he stumbled to a 7.39 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 7.7 BB/9 in 28 innings.
The hard-throwing Cabrera, 23, wasn’t a great deal more successful at preventing runs than Reyes last year in Memphis, where he put up a 5.91 ERA with 9.64 K/9 and 3.55 BB/9 over 99 innings. But Cabrera, like Reyes, still counts as one of the Cardinals’ most promising young arms. Baseball America ranked Cabrera as the Cardinals’ No. 4 prospect after last season, when he totaled 20 1/3 major league innings with a 4.87 ERA and 8.41 K/9 against 4.87 BB/9.
BA also has favorable opinions of Fernandez (the Cardinals’ No. 13 prospect) and Knizner (No. 8). The 23-year-old Fernandez debuted at both the Triple-A and major league levels last season. He was especially strong in 24 1/3 frames as a member of Memphis, with which he logged a 1.48 ERA, induced grounders at a 61.7 percent clip and struck out 9.99 batters per nine with 4.07 BB/9.
Knizner batted .276/.357/.463 with 12 home runs in 280 Triple-A plate appearances a year ago, though the .226/.293/.377 line he registered in his first 58 PA in the majors fell well short. He’ll continue to remain behind Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters in the Cardinals’ pecking order at catcher.