By Rob Rains

For the sixth consecutive year, is spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve counting down the top seven stories of the year in St. Louis sports. The number one story will be revealed on Dec. 31.

The story which ranked sixth on our list occurred in February, just as the Cardinals were reporting to spring training and had a major impact on the team’s fortunes all season. Alex Reyes, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, suffered an injury to his elbow which required Tommy John surgery and forced him to miss the 2017 season.

As soon as Reyes arrived in Jupiter, Fla., he told the Cardinals’ medical officials that something was wrong with his elbow, an injury he suffered during an off-season workout. The Cardinals had expected Reyes to begin the season in the bullpen but anticipated him moving into the starting rotation at some point during the year.

Here is the story we published in February when the extent of Reyes’ injury was revealed:

Reyes spent the season in St. Louis, working out and rehabbing his elbow and was able to resume throwing before the end of September. The Cardinals expect him to be ready for the start of spring training, but likely will use him out of the bullpen early in the season as a way to build up his arm strength and also control the number of innings he will pitch next season.

On Monday we revealed the story which ranked as the seventh biggest sports story of the year in St. Louis – the decision by city voters to reject a public financing proposal for a stadium for a Major League Soccer team.

The proposal would have allocated $60 million from a business use tax to help fund the 22,000-seat stadium, which would have been built downtown and likely would have led MLS to award an expansion franchise to the city.

Supporters of the proposal blamed the defeat on a higher than expected voter turnout. The measure lost by about 3,300 votes out of approximately 60,000 votes, the most in an April election in the city in decades, according to political officials. Voters in St. Louis County were not eligible to cast ballots on the proposal.

In November MLS announced four finalists for two expansion franchises, not including St. Louis, and the first of those franchises was awarded to Nashville earlier this month.

On Wednesday we will reveal the story which ranked fifth on our list of the top stories of the year in St. Louis sports.