The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers have a healthy playoff rivalry. The Cardinals eliminated the Dodgers in 2013 and 2014, the first two seasons of L.A.’s four-year reign over the NL West.
St. Louis missed the postseason last year, but the two remain enemies and both are projected to be serious competitors for postseason spots in 2017.
St. Louis’ hopes just took a massive dent on its first day at camp. The 22-year-old Alex Reyes, who is largely considered the team’s future ace, requires Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2017 season. It sidelines one of the game’s brightest young arms until 2018 spring training at the earliest.
Alex Reyes, after review, will have a Tommy John surgery, #cardinals affirm. Paletta will do surgery here in Jupiter.
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) February 15, 2017
Reyes was expected to take on a significant role on the 2017 Cardinals. The top prospect pitched in 12 games (five starts) in 2016, going 4-1 and registering a 1.57 ERA. He struck-out 52 batters after fanning 93 across 14 minor league starts.
Jaime Garcia was traded to Atlanta in the offseason, so Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and Mike Leake will need to step up to make up for the Reyes loss. The injury could impact what’s expected to be a close NL wild card race.
The Cardinals appear weaker than usual on paper, and missing the playoffs is such a rare occurrence it’s hard to peg how St. Louis will stack up this spring. One thing is certain: The Reyes injury doesn’t help.