Top Cards prospect Reyes attends rookie program

Diaz, Garcia and Tilson also attend seminars in DC

Top Cards prospect Reyes attends rookie program

ST. LOUIS -- Top prospect Alex Reyes was among four Cardinals Minor Leaguers to participate in the Rookie Career Development Program, held each January in Washington. This year's seminars were also attended by shortstop Aledmys Diaz, outfielder Anthony Garcia and center fielder Charlie Tilson.

The Players Association and Major League Baseball host the annual four-day gathering to bring a select group of top prospects together to get to know each other and learn about life in the big leagues.

During his stay, Reyes sat down with MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo to discuss his participation in the program and his anticipation for the year ahead.

"I kind of just took it in and was very humbled for them to give me this opportunity to be here, around this group of guys," Reyes said. "There is a bunch of talent in the room. It shows [the Cardinals] are interested in me and want me to progress off the field. It's just exciting."

It has been a tumultuous offseason for Reyes, who many projected to be a contributor at the big league level in 2016. But that was before a November announcement that Reyes had received a 50-game suspension after testing positive a second time for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Reyes, in a statement, later acknowledged that the positive test was triggered by marijuana use.

Reyes began serving his suspension in the Arizona Fall League, but will miss the first six weeks of the Minor League season in 2016.

Nevertheless, he enters the season ranked atop the Cardinals' prospect list, per MLB Pipeline, and with an opportunity to still make an impact in St. Louis before the end of the season. Reyes, 21, split the 2015 season between high Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield last season. Combined, he posted a 3.02 ERA over 101 1/3 innings while striking out 151 and walking 49.

He made four starts in the AFL before being sent home.

"It's a crazy jump going from A-ball to Double-A and the Fall League," Reyes said. "The game goes by quicker. You learn that the players there are there to work, they're there to win. Everybody is working very hard. It's a very humbling experience."

The Cardinals have not announced whether Reyes will be invited to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster player. It would have been a given had the suspension not muddied the right-hander's 2016 outlook.

"I'm working extremely hard this offseason, getting ready for whatever the opportunity brings," Reyes said. "Being a part of that [Major League] club is something I look forward to. They're a great group of guys. They're always winning."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.