Top Prospects on the Memphis Redbirds

Posted on April 28, 2015

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redbirds

BY: CAMERON ANDREW
The weather might not have caught up yet, but spring has arrived, and along with it we welcome the return of Redbirds baseball. With spring training in full swing and the first game at AutoZone Park against the Iowa Cubs on April 9th, here are a couple of the top prospects in the Cardinals’ organization that you can expect to see on the field in the next couple weeks.

Stephen Piscotty- OF
At the end of the 2014 season, Piscotty looked bound for the majors that began in early 2015. However, it currently seems like we will be seeing Piscotty back in Memphis for the majority of the year. The Cardinals traded a bundle of prospects to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Jason Hayward. While Hayward has fallen short of expectations from when he first entered the MLB in 2009, he is still an extremely talented player that will become an everyday staple in the St. Louis outfield next to Matt Holliday and Jon Jay. With Peter Bourjous, Randal Grichuk, and Tommy Pham expected to be the other outfielders on the 25 man opening day roster, there may no longer be space for Piscotty. In AAA Memphis last year, Piscotty hit .288 in 500 at bats, hit nine home runs, and drove in 69 RBI. While these numbers aren’t bad, his average is down slightly from his 2013 campaign where he was nearly a .300 hitter. Extra at bats in AAA for at least half the season could really help Piscotty get his average up in preparation for a call up later in the year. Piscotty does not have elite power, but where he excels is in his plate vision and discipline. He is going to get on base and stay away from striking out on a consistent basis. If he continues to improve in those areas, he should put up nice numbers in Memphis this spring and summer.

Tim Cooney- LHP
Cooney had an impressive 2014 year for the Redbirds, and with a 14-6 record and a 3.47 ERA in 158 innings, along with over 25 pitching starts, he looks to be MLB ready. While Cooney improved greatly from his 2013 campaign where he struck out 119 batters, in 2014 he did give up 21 home runs, 13 more than the previous year. One of Cooney’s best assets is his ability to go deep into games. Seven out of his last 10 starts in 2014 he was able to pitch into the sixth inning. The ability to eat innings is an extremely valuable asset in the majors. In a 162 game season, keeping your bullpen fresh is a key ingredient in the continued success of a ball club. If you’re looking for an example of Cooney’s potential, take a look at his game against the Iowa Cubs on May 9th, 2014. He pitched a complete game, 1 hit shutout, and struck out seven batters. The Cubs have one of the best farm systems, with big name prospects like Arismendy Alcantara and Javi Baez held to only one hit. Like Piscotty, expect Cooney to start the year in Memphis before eventually being called up to the bigs in 2015.

Greg Garcia- IF
Garcia played 106 games for the Redbirds in 2014 and hit .272 in 382 at bats. As a shortstop, Garcia is in a tough position. Even though he is very close to being MLB ready, he is behind Jhonny Peralta, Pete Kozma, and Daniel Descalso on the depth chart. His ability to play second and third, as well as shortstop, does help him as he attempts to move up to the bigs. In two seasons in Memphis, Garcia has hit 11 home runs and driven in 75 RBI, and has an on base percentage of .367. Where is he has struggled is that in 736 total AAA at bats, he strikes out 22 percent of the time. If he could gain a little more plate discipline and cut down those strike out numbers, he will have a much better shot of getting called up. As of now, expect to see Garcia on the field for the Redbirds as an everyday player. Should an infielder in the majors go down with an injury, Garcia will be on the short list of names to be called up to play a utility role in St. Louis.

The Redbirds start the 2015 season with eight straight home games from April 8th through the 16th. Be sure to enjoy the spring with some baseball in our beautiful new and improved AutoZone Park.

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Posted in: Redbirds, Sports