This article is part of our Minor League Barometer series.
The St. Louis Cardinals are surprisingly struggling to begin the season, but there's a pitcher at Triple-A that could provide the necessary spark. That would be Alex Reyes, the 21-year-old flamethrower who missed the beginning of the year due to a marijuana suspension. Reyes has filthy strikeout stuff. Not only does he have a blazing fastball, but his off-speed offerings are dynamic, particularly his curveball and changeup. He fanned over 13 batters per nine innings between High-A and Double-A in 2015. Reyes has not missed a beat since returning from suspension. Through three starts, a span of 15 innings, Reyes has a 1.80 ERA and 26:7 K:BB. The Cardinals could promote Reyes as a shutdown reliever, a la Carlos Martinez. Or they might be better served simply waiting until the inevitable injuries to Adam Wainwright or Jaime Garcia. Either way, Reyes is a phenom with an extremely bright future, as long as he stays on the field and staves off any command issues
Who else is bringing the heat? Here's the latest edition of the Minor League Barometer.
Willson Contreras, C, CHC – The Cubs have the best record in baseball right now, and as such there is little reason to rock the boat when it comes to the composition of the big league roster. That being said, Miguel Montero is batting just .205 as the starting catcher, and career backup David Ross has been cutting into Montero's starts as a result. Kyle Schwarber