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Alex Reyes

Sport: Baseball

Born: August 24, 1994

Town: Elizabeth

Alexander Reyes was born August 24, 1994 in Elizabeth. He was the youngest of three brothers. Alex was a standout in youth league baseball and by the time he was a junior at Elizabeth High School he was throwing his fastball in the mid to high 90s. With the family struggling to make ends meet, they were unable to send Alex to tryouts for the top travel teams or for elite-level tournaments.

Fearing that he might end up as a low-level draft choice, Dignora and Tomas sent their son to live with his grandmother in the Dominican Republic. He was much more likely to attract the attention of scouts in the DR and, because the MLB draft did not extend to that country, he would be available to the highest bidder as a free agent. Alex moved in the idle of his senior year. One year later, in late 2012, he signed a $950,000 deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ranked among the 100 Top Prospects in the minors, Alex played his first year of pro ball in the Appalachian League and worked his way up the Cards’ farm system. His breakout year was 2015, when he pitched in the Futures Game and struck out 162 batters in just over 100 innings. The team sent Alex to the Arizona Fall League for further seasoning, but he tested positive for marijuana and was suspended for 50 games.

Alex was reinstated in May of 2016 and played most of the year with the Cardinals’ AAA club in Memphis. He started the Futures Game and fanned four batters. Alex was called up to the big club in August. Pitching in relief, he earned his first win against the Cubs and his first save against the Phillies.

After five scoreless relief appearances, Alex was handed the ball for his first start. He pitched well against the Oakland A’s but got into a jam in the 5th inning and was relieved by Zach Duke. He struck out 7 in his next start, against the Reds, and recorded another relief win with 4-plus innings of scoreless relief in a victory over the Cubs. The Cards, fighting for a playoff spot, continued to run Alex out as both a starter and reliever. He finished the year 4–1, with 52 strikeouts and a 1.57 ERA in 46 innings.

Alex touched triple-digits with his lively fastball as a rookie, but also demonstrated a lack of command at times, averaging a walk every other inning. His curveball also drew raves. Alex’s greatest asset was his stinginess when it comes to the home run ball. In a game dominated by sluggers, he was not a pitcher who encouraged big swings. However, his big-league career took an unexpected detour at the start of Spring Training in 2017. Alex suffered a partial tear of his UCL and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.

When Alex returned to the field in 2018, he was a strikeout machine while building himself back up in the minors. However, a lat injury suffered in his return to the majors ended his comeback season in June. After spending most of 2019 in the minors, Alex joined the Cardinals for the Covid-shortened 2020 season. He performed well, using his explosive fastball and sharp curve to dispose of enemy batters, although control was still an issue.

In 2021, the Cardinals named Alex their closer. At age 26, his 6’4” frame had filled out to 220 pounds and he overpowered hitters in the opening months of the season. He did not yield his first earned run until May 8 and had not blown a save heading into June. Although walks and wild pitches continued to make things interesting, Alex finally fulfilled the immense potential he had shown a half-decade earlier.


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