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Does Alex Reyes Make Sense for the Twins?

Ted Wiedmann



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The St. Louis Cardinals non-tendered their once top prospect; since then, there has been little news regarding Alex Reyes. The former all-star has seen a lack of reported interest so far in free agency and could be a fit for any team looking for relief help, meaning every team. There are several reasons to and not to sign Alex Reyes. I want to examine his current outlook to see if he is a fit for the Minnesota Twins. 

Feature Image Via Jeff Curry - USA Today Sports 

The first thing you notice about Alex Reyes when you look at his career is injuries, injuries, injuries. And more injuries. Health has not been a blessing Reyes’ has received in his career and was likely the reason the Cardinals gave up on him. Reyes crossed the 20-inning threshold just twice in his career, in 2016 and 2021. Most recently, he missed all of 2022 due to a shoulder injury. His injuries prior to 2021 didn’t seem to impact his stuff much, but every injury is different. It is unknown whether or not he can be the same pitcher he was two years ago. Given his health track record, it is more likely he doesn’t pitch at all than he gives you innings, and it is very valid that teams are concerned about this. 

The other major concern with Alex Reyes is his control. His raw stuff can compare with the best in baseball but where it’s going is a different story. In his lone full season in 2021, he had the second-highest BB% and second-highest BB/9 in all of baseball. He also had 10 wild pitches in 2021, which would have ranked fifth among qualified starting pitchers. Alex Reyes, a reliever, pitched over 100 fewer innings than his counterparts in that category. His command issues track back to his early minor league days, so it’s likely this problem never goes away. 

So what about the good stuff? He walks everyone, and we have one season to base our entire case to bring him in; what’s the upside? As mentioned before, Reyes was an all-star in 2021, and for good reason. According to Baseball Savant, he was 95th percentile in xBA, 94th percentile in xSLG, 91st percentile in Barrel%, 95th percentile in whiff%, and 87th percentile in K%. Reyes is effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters as well. Versus lefties, he had a .155 batting average against and a 26.9% K%; versus righties, he had a .195 batting average against and a 33.1 K%. He served as the Cardinals’ primary closer and recorded 29 saves for a team that won 90 games.

His fastball routinely crests triple digits, but I want to focus on his best pitch, his slider. Reyes has maybe the best slider in all of baseball. In 2021, among pitchers with 100 PA against, his slider generated the lowest RV/100 (run value per 100 pitches*) in all of baseball at -3.8, just ahead of Jacob deGrom. It finished top ten in batting average against (3rd .089), SLG against (9th .222), wOBA against (7th .196), swing and miss% (2nd 55.8%), and K% (2nd 56.9%). This is one of the most devastating pitches in all of baseball. 

Alex Reyes is about as big of a risk as you can take on a player. With his persistent command issues and colossal injury history, this could blow up as much as any reliever signing could (shoutout Joel Zumaya). Fortunately, Reyes isn’t set to make much, his arbitration projection, according to MLB Trade Rumors, was just under three million, so a one-year deal for two to three million would make sense. If the Twins were to pull this off, they would likely have a second-year option attached to it. Reyes might have the best stuff out of any Twins reliever, including Jhoan Duran. If Alex Reyes can stay healthy, he could be one of the most dominant relievers in Major League Baseball. 


*Run Value: http://tangotiger.com/index.php/site/article/run-values-by-pitch-count






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Interesting idea.

What SHOULD happen is a signing by a team not expected to contend and then use him for a trade to someone needing pen help, IF he's healthy and productive again.

The 40 man is really crowded for the Twins right now. Other than maybe Pagan, I can't think of any obvious drop candidate to take a ML flier on Reyes. I'd much rather sign a more known arm such as Fulmer and offer Reyes a invite on a milb if nobody steps up.

However, I do want to remind that once things get rolling, the Twins have 3 probably 60 day IL candidates. So if a reliever like Reyes was still sitting there late, that changes the entire thought process about taking that flier.

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I've been wanting this for a LONG time.  He's affordable and the stuff is electric.  It's worth a gamble to start him in low leverage situations and see how things play out.  Who would you rather the Twins spend money on, Pagan or Reyes?  To me, it's 100% Reyes.  

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Thanks Ted for laying this out for us. Myself I wouldn’t take a ticket on him, if he was a SP I’d dial him back and see what he has. But since he is a RP there’s not much dialing back you can do. So his injury risk is too high for me to put him on the 40 man roster.

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If they can get him on a minor league contract or when the 40-man opens up he may be worth a short.

My big concern would be that the Twins run him out there even if he starts blowing up like they did with Pagan last year and Colume two years ago.  Do we trust that the team would cut ties early?

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I’d love to take a flier on this kid.  Worse case, the Pohlads burn some pocket change.  Best case is another hammer at the back end of the bullpen.

This is the way to dredge out a high-end reliever of you don’t want to pay the big bucks for it.  I don’t see how waiving the white flag on a guy like this and running out some AAAA schlub is a better option in any way (unless he’s a locker room cancer).  If he gets hurt, you still get the schlub.

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Not sure it’s allowed or not but can you sign a guy to a minor league deal and in the case of making the big league roster you make a large few million dollar deal?  

would let the twins keep the 40 man spot until guys can be put in 60 day IL and if he is healthy can make a significant impact in the bullpen.

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I'm guessing he and other teams are all playing the waiting game. He doesn't want a minor-league "prove it" deal, teams he wants to go to are tight on their 40-man rosters right now, and the money will be better if someone has a significant injury in spring training. If he's training properly then it wouldn't take that long to get a reliever ready to go for game action, so he can wait without any real harm.

He's an interesting flyer. I'd probably be ok gambling on the upside if it meant dumping Pagan, whom can't be trusted in any kind of high leverage situation anyways.

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