How the Dodgers Bullpen Looks with Addition of Alex Reyes

Former Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes sat on the market for virtually all of the winter after being let go by St. Louis last fall, but it looks like he’s found a new home. Reyes has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Dodgers, a move that could give Los Angeles another weapon for the bullpen. The 28-year-old has had an erratic career thus far. But, Reyes has also displayed electric stuff on the mound.

Related: Diamondbacks Bring Back Andrew Chafin, as Lefty Comes Off Market

A Look at Reyes

Former Cardinals RHP Alex Reyes was one of the team’s top pitching prospects for years. A New Jersey native who made his MLB debut in 2016. Reyes was at one point poised to be a future ace for the Cardinals. In his first taste of the Majors, Reyes flashed impressive stuff, and went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA. The right-hander struck out 52 over 46 innings back as a 21-year-old in 2016.

Injuries and command troubles, though, derailed his chances of sticking as a starter. Healthy again in 2020, Reyes found success in a bullpen role. The right-hander posted a 3.20 ERA over 19.2 innings in the abbreviated 2020 season. The following season, the Cardinals put Reyes in the closer’s role, a move that worked out well at first. In the first half of the 2021 season, Reyes struck out 54 over 41.1 IP (11.8 K/9), and notched 20 saves and a tidy 1.52 ERA. That stat line awarded Reyes with an All-Star nomination. The second half, though, proved to be a different story. The ex-Cardinal owned a 5.52 ERA in the second half, as he gave up 19 earned runs over 31 innings.

In terms of pure stuff, it’s hard to deny that Reyes doesn’t possess the stuff to be a late-inning reliever. The new Dodger sported a hard fastball that can hit the upper-90s and blow away hitters. Additionally, the righty owns a slider and a changeup that he used sporadically. The slider proved to be a dangerous hook — when Reyes had command of it.

Reyes’ batted ball metrics were impressive in 2021, but the walks were not. The righty walked 52 over 72.1 innings, something that’s been a theme throughout his career. Still, there’s a lot of potential with Reyes for obvious reasons.

One piece of info to note on Reyes is that the righty missed all of 2022 due to a damaged labrum in his right shoulder. Reyes did have surgery on his shoulder in the spring of 2022, and rehab for that injury will keep him out for at least a part of this season. While he will not be ready to start 2023 on the active roster, reports suggest that Reyes could make back onto a MLB mound before the 2023 All-Star Game.

What it Means

With Reyes now headed to Los Angeles, here’s a look at how the Dodgers bullpen could shake out for 2023 once Reyes returns:

LHP Victor Gonzalez and RHP Phil Bickford are the Dodgers’ other options, as either or could begin the season in Los Angeles. RHP J.P. Feyereisen, acquired from the Rays this winter, is set to miss all of 2023.

Left-handers Caleb Ferguson and Alex Vesia proved to be valuable last season for LA, particularly Vesia. Even though the 26-year-old did get in trouble at times with walks, Vesia owned a very impressive 2.15 ERA and struck out 79 batters over 54.1 innings.

As far as the right-handers are concerned, Daniel Hudson pitched well before tearing an ACL in one of his knees last summer. If ready to go, Hudson is set to rejoin a pen that will return Brusdar Graterol and Evan Phillips. Graterol did his job in 2022 yet again, as he induced quite a bit of weak contact and grounders for the Dodgers with his sinker. Phillips, meanwhile, broke out for the Dodgers in 2022. After a decent trial in 2021, Phillips recorded an impressive 1.14 ERA over 63 IP and struck out 77 batters. Armed with a very good slider and cutter, the 27-year-old will look to repeat his strong 2022 campaign.

The Dodgers do have a number of solid weapons in the pen, but one more can’t hurt. Reyes’ control problems are well-documented, but the former top prospect does boast impressive stuff when healthy. Don’t expect Reyes in the late-innings often, but the righty could be a nice middle reliever for Los Angeles in 2023.

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