Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes suspended for 50 games
Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes, who was projected to crack the Major League roster at some point in 2016, will have that arrival delayed after being hit with a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Reyes, in a statement provided to MLB.com, acknowledged that the positive test was triggered by marijuana usage.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and apologize for disappointing my family, fans, teammates and the St. Louis Cardinals organization,” Reyes said in the statement. “I acknowledge my inappropriate behavior and will accept the consequences. Baseball is my passion, and I will do everything in my power to put this behind me and move forward.”
The suspension begins immediately, meaning that Reyes’ time in the Arizona Fall League comes to an abrupt end. He was scheduled to start in the AFL’s Rising Stars game on Saturday but instead headed back to the Dominican Republic to begin his offseason. Because the suspension does include games that Reyes’ club has remaining in the AFL season, he will miss only the first 40 games of the 2016 season.
Nevertheless, Reyes’ absence next April/May will hinder his development and hurt the Cardinals’ pitching depth. While Reyes was not expected to compete for a Major League roster spot in Spring Training, he was viewed as a candidate for a midseason summons.
Speaking of Reyes just three weeks ago, general manager John Mozeliak said: “He’s going to be knocking on the door next year. How soon really depends on need and opportunity at the Major League level.”
What was never in question is Reyes’ talent. This year, Reyes, 21, made 13 starts in High-A before earning a midseason promotion to Double-A, where he posted a 3.63 ERA. Over the full season, Reyes recorded a 2.49 ERA, 151 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .197 batting average in 101 1/3 innings. He missed the July All-Star Futures Game due shoulder fatigue, but returned without issue later in the month.
He continued to shine in the AFL, striking out 12 and allowing one run in his first three outings (11 2/3 innings) before allowing five runs in a 3 1/3-inning start on Monday. Reyes walked 10 in his four starts combined.
The Cardinals signed Reyes for $950,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, shortly after Reyes established residency on the island after playing high school baseball at Elizabeth (N.J.) High. By moving out of the United States, Reyes could sign as a free agent and was not constrained by amateur draft spending rules.
Reyes becomes the second Cardinals player suspended under baseball’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in the last two months. In September, catcher Cody Stanley was handed an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. It marked Stanley’s second PED-related suspension. He was with the Major League team as a backup catcher at the time the suspension was announced.
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