SHARE

It’s getting late in the year to invest in a one-start pitcher who you didn’t care to own until now.

But Alex Reyes is a different animal, coming off a seven-inning gem Sunday against the San Francisco Giants that I for one didn’t think possible.

It’s not that he didn’t have the upside. He was arguably the game’s top pitching prospect when he got the call in August. But he was a flawed one, having issued 4.4 walks per nine innings at Triple-A Memphis and 4.6 over his minor-league career.

What I expected in his first go-round was something like a tornado, awe-inspiring but impossible to appreciate because of its destructive wildness. Particularly with the announcement he’d be taking over for Jaime Garcia , a longtime fixture in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation, I figured his unbridled adrenaline would stamp out any semblance of command.

So imagine my shock when he delivered the outing he did, walking two over seven innings. To me, even six innings seemed like a dream. And to do it on 84 pitches? That sort of efficiency is normally reserved for the game’s elite strike-throwers — and even then, only at their best.

Alex Reyes SP / St. Louis Cardinals (2016 season)

ERA: 1.03WHIP: 1.09IP: 35BB/9: 4.6K/9: 10.3

The Cardinals have done the amazing: They’ve reeled in the tornado. And it doesn’t sound like just a happy accident either. According to MLB.com, part of the reason for Reyes’ success was his willingness to dial back his fastball a little to invite earlier contact.

“I was not afraid for them to put the ball in play,” Reyes said, “and I feel like that’s what worked today.”

Rarely is talent so electric so receptive.

Of course, it also helps explain why Reyes struck out only six despite entering the start averaging 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings, but you can live with that trade-off if it makes Reyes startable right away. And his stuff is so good that he still has the capacity for more than he showed this time out. He did record 13 swinging strikes, after all.

Particularly if you recently lost Carlos Carrasco , Jacob deGrom or Danny Salazar to injury, Reyes might be the force of nature you need.

Brandon Drury 2B/3B/OF / Arizona Diamondbacks (last 10 games)

BA: .487HR: 5AB: 39BB: 8K: 12

Still available in more than 60 percent of CBSSports.com leagues even after hitting another home run Sunday, Brandon Drury is completely locked in right now and gives you no excuse not just to add him but to start him, being eligible at so many positions. His production has pretty much eliminated the playing-time question as well.

Ryon Healy 3B / Oakland Athletics (last 13 games)

BA: .426HR: 4AB: 54BB: 4K: 9

This latest stretch has not only validated Ryon Healy ‘s power breakout at Triple-A Nashville of the heavy-hitting Pacific Coast League but has also solidified him as the Oakland Athletics ‘ long-term answer at third base. His low strikeout rate makes his .313 batting average not such a surprise either.

T.J. Rivera 2B/3B/SS / New York Mets (2016 stats)

BA: .344HR: 2OPS: .836AB: 61K: 7

Speaking of hitting for average, T.J. Rivera batted .353 in 405 at-bats at Triple-A Las Vegas this year and .324 over six minor-league seasons. The 27-year-old may not have a future as a big-league regular, but he’s playing regularly now and is a sneaky pickup in deeper leagues coming off back-to-back multi-hit games.

Mitch Haniger OF / Arizona Diamondbacks (last seven games)

BA: .409HR: 3AB: 22BB: 4K: 6

Like Rivera, Mitch Haniger may be too much of a stab in the dark for owners in standard mixed leagues, but he has gotten to play regularly with A.J. Pollock sidelined by a strained groin and shown some of the plate discipline and power that fueled his breakout at Triple-A Reno, where he hit .341 with 20 home runs and a 1.098 OPS in 261 at-bats.

Robert Gsellman SP / New York Mets (2016 season)

ERA: 3.08WHIP: 1.41IP: 26 1/3BB/9: 3.4K/9: 7.2

Judging by his 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings over six minor-league seasons and his 1.41 WHIP over five major-league appearances, Robert Gsellman isn’t anything special, but he’s the best we can do in a week lacking in quality two-start pitchers. His matchups against the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies make him a high-floor play for owners in need of volume.

Tom Murphy C / Colorado Rockies (2016 season)

BA: .320HR: 4AB: 25BB: 2K: 8

Tom Murphy is playing at most every other day, which limits his appeal to two-catcher leagues, but playing half his games at Coors Field, he could do plenty of damage in limited at-bats, as he showed Saturday with two home runs. He hit .327 with 19 home runs in 303 at-bats at Triple-A Albuquerque, including .442 with 12 home runs in his final 154 at-bats.


Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Alex Reyes takes over