Mixing Fantasy and Reality: Reyes, Weaver, Bundy, and House

Cardinals Pitcher Call-Ups: Reyes and Weaver

The Cardinals called up Alex Reyes and he made his first major league appearance for the Cardinals bullpen last light. Reyes is a talent pitcher and here is some comparable pitchers with similar grades to his 2016 Baseball America prospect grade.

Alex Reyes Comps
Name Year Reporting Publication Fastball Curveball Changeup/splitter Control/Command
Alex Reyes 2016 BA 80 65 50 45
Tyler Glasnow 2015 MLB 75 60 50 45
Tyler Glasnow 2016 MLB 75 60 50 45
Tyler Glasnow 2015 BA 80 60 50 50
Tyler Kolek 2015 BA 80 60 45 45
Michael Foltynewicz 2015 MLB 80 55 50 45
Archie Bradley 2014 BA 70 60 50 45
Alex Reyes 2016 MLB 70 60 50 45
Sean Newcomb 2016 MLB 70 60 50 45
Aaron Sanchez 2015 MLB 70 65 55 45
Touki Toussaint 2014 MLB 70 65 55 45
Archie Bradly 2014 MLB 70 65 50 50
Lance Mccullers 2014 MLB 70 65 45 45
Robert Stephenson 2015 MLB 70 70 50 45
Joe Ross 2014 MLB 80 65 55 55
Lucas Giolito 2014 MLB 80 65 55 55
Reynaldo Lopez 2015 BA 80 55 45 45

The list is dominated by hard throwers with good curve balls which describes Reyes.

Moving onto his Triple-A production this year, the 21-year-old has been a strikeout machine with 12.8 K/9, but he has some issues with walks (4.4 BB/9). Last night he averaged 99 mph with his fastball and was 98 mph in the Arizona Fall League last year. Besides the fastball, he has an above average curve ball. He is a talented pitcher and should be a top 20 pitcher for years to come if his change up is serviceable.

But to put it simply, all the talent doesn’t really matter this season. Reyes will not be useful in most leagues since he will be relegated to the bullpen and is currently not in line for Saves. In redraft leagues, let others fight over him. In keeper leagues, understand his value is limited this season. Now, if I was a non-contender in a keeper league, I would look to see if one of the contenders has Reyes and would try to pick him up for a piece which could help them win a championship.

Luke Weaver is the pitcher owners should be targeting this season instead of Reyes. To start with, here are some comparables for Weaver using MLB.com’s 2016 grades.

Luke Weaver Comps
Name Year Reporting Publication Fastball Curveball Slider Changeup/splitter Control/Command
Luke Weaver 2016 MLB 60 45 45 60 55
Aaron Blair 2016 BA 55 50 45 60 50
Brian Johnson 2015 BA 55 50 50 55 50
Matt Wisler 2015 MLB 60 50 55 60 55
Jack Flaherty 2016 MLB 55 45 55 60 55
Trevor May 2014 MLB 60 50 45 55 45
Zach Davies 2014 MLB 50 50 40 60 55
Andrew Sopko 2016 2080 55 50 45 50 55
Tim Cooney 2014 MLB 50 45 40 55 55
Marco Gonzalez 2014 MLB 50 50 45 60 60
Mike Wright 2014 MLB 60 40 50 50 55
Chad Billingsley 2003 MLB Scouting Reports 65 55 50 55 60
Kenta Maeda 2016 2080 55 50 55 55 60
Daniel Norris 2014 MLB 60 55 50 60 45

The list of pitchers doesn’t bring a ton of excitement to Weaver’s debut on Saturday. The key when looking at these grades is if he can get his curve or slider to be his third league-average pitch. Weaver has been extremely productive in Double-A posting a 1.40 ERA and 10.4 K/9, but a pitcher can dominate the minors with just two pitches. If viewing his start on Saturday, watch to see how his curve and slider work. If he can’t get them going, he may struggle the second or third time through the order.

As for fantasy, I think he is worth a stash in all leagues to see how he performs. I think he could be in the Cardinals’ rotation until the season end because he has only thrown 83 innings this year after throwing 124 IP last year so workload may not be an issue.

Dylan Bundy: Quick Look

I have been intrigued on how Dylan Bundy looks since moving to the Orioles rotation in mid-July. With his injuries and starting the season in the bullpen, I wanted to get an idea of what to expect from him as a starter. For the game, I picked his last start on August 7. Here are my thoughts:

  • His fastball was at 92-97 mph with sink at the lower velocities. He had good command of this pitch and seemed to constantly hit is spots with it. This will help him get ahead of hitters who are looking for a pitch in the middle of the plate. His fastball seems to have a couple different movements and I would not be surprised if he has a four-seam fastball and a slower two-seamer.
  • His split-change was at 85-87 mph also with plus late sink. This pitch was the best pitch he threw.
  • His final pitch is a classic 12-6 curve at 77-80 mph which he used as a chase pitch for called strikes.
  • As with any pitcher, when he hung the curve or change, they got crushed.
  • If he throws like he did during this game next year, he is going to be a strikeout machine.

For next season, I like the possible production from him and he could be a top-20 to 40 pitcher …. if he stays healthy which is a huge if. I think he will be more valuable in shallow leagues where the replacement level is higher. In deeper leagues, he may end up a wasted pick if he goes back on the DL again for the season. Right now I would put a 140 IP, 9 K/9, and a 3.50 ERA on him for a 2017 projection.

T.J. House: Back in the majors

Going into last season, I had a huge crush on T.J. House after he put up some great numbers at the end of 2014. I bragged him up over the offseason and picked him up where ever I could. Right out of the gate of the 2015 season, House stunk it up and ended up the DL with an injury.

The biggest key I took away from my House love affair, for non-prospect who break out, any kink in their armor will probably make them unplayable. In House’s case, his velocity lost 2 mph from the previous season. There was no way he could keep up his 2014 production with a batting-practice fastball.

His return to the majors is only to the Indians bullpen and his fastball, which he should throw harder from the bullpen, only sits at 90 mph. He is unplayable in all leagues right now, but I will always remember the bond we shared that one offseason.

We hoped you liked reading Mixing Fantasy and Reality: Reyes, Weaver, Bundy, and House by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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What is the explanation for Bundy’s splits between bullpen and rotation? He’s been better in just about every way as a starter. Just more arm strength as the season went on? More rest between reps? familiarity?