ST. LOUIS -- A potential future ace and the projected heir to perhaps the best catcher in franchise history will get an opportunity to shine among the Minors' best Sunday when a pair of Cardinals prospects participate in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Right-hander Alex Reyes and catcher Carson Kelly were selected to represent the organization in Sunday's showcase game, which will air live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. CT at Petco Park in San Diego. Reyes is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Cardinals' top prospect. Kelly is listed at No. 13.
Though he was born and raised in New Jersey, Reyes, because he was signed out of the Dominican Republic, will play for the World Team. Kelly, the Cardinals' second-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, is on the U.S. roster. This will be the first All-Star Futures appearance for both players.
Reyes was chosen for the showcase game last summer but had to pull out due to an arm injury. Since returning from a drug suspension in May, he has posted a 4.35 ERA and 2-1 record in nine starts with Triple-A Memphis. He has struck out 61 in 41 1/3 innings.
"[I'm] anxious to watch because his stuff has looked really good," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Reyes. "All the development people have really liked where he is. We really like where he is. His stuff is maturing as well as him individually."
San Diego may be one of the few remaining stops Reyes makes before joining the big league roster. Though the Cardinals don't have a hole to fill in the rotation, their bullpen could use some reinforcement. Reyes, who flaunts a high-90s fastball and devastating curveball, could be as dynamic an addition to the 'pen as St. Louis could get on the trade market. And, of course, the Cards wouldn't have to give any talent up to add him.
Kelly won't be making his Major League debut in 2016, but his breakout offensive season with Double-A Springfield gives the Cardinals optimism that Kelly isn't too far away. The converted catcher has a .287/.338/.403 slash line in 64 games with Double-A Springfield this season.
It's a significant uptick in production for Kelly, who struggled in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League a year ago.
"Being able to change positions and then be rewarded for the work that he's put in, there are just a lot of things that he's doing well," Matheny said of Kelly, who will turn 22 four days after the Futures Game. "We could tell last year was one of those aberrations. He can hit. It's just the Florida State League is a tough one to put up numbers. He's having a great season in Springfield this year."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.