Reyes steps into Cards' rotation for Leake

Reyes steps into Cards' rotation for Leake

ST. LOUIS -- Top prospect Alex Reyes will make his first Major League start on Saturday when he fills in for Mike Leake, who has been diagnosed with shingles. Manager Mike Matheny announced the starter switch after the Cardinals' 3-1 victory over Oakland on Friday.

Until now, Reyes has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since being promoted to the Majors on Aug. 9. He's been impressive, too. Over 9 1/3 innings in relief, Reyes has held opponents to five hits and no runs. He's struck out 13 and walked four.

He will have had three days of rest since his last appearance, one in which he threw 33 pitches over 2 1/3 innings.

Reyes, 21, was bypassed for a starting job earlier this month when Michael Wacha landed on the disabled list. That was in part due to concerns about his efficiency and workload, but also because the Cardinals valued what he could offer out of the 'pen.

In 14 starts with Triple-A Memphis this season, Reyes went 2-3 with a 5.23 ERA and 1.454 WHIP. Though he averaged 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings, Reyes was often hampered by a lack of efficiency and lapses in command. Nevertheless, his repertoire -- highlighted by a fastball that can reach triple digits, a curveball and changeup -- makes him one of the franchise's most hyped prospects in years.

Reyes ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Cardinals' No. 1 prospect and as the eighth-best prospect in baseball.

Leake, who is 9-9 with a 4.56 ERA, had not previously missed a start this season.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for 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.