The Memphis Redbirds Could be Flying on to St. Louis

Posted on May 27, 2015

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BY: CAMERON ANDREW

The Redbirds are off to a rough start with a current record of 6-13.  While additions to AutoZone Park have created a wonderful environment to watch baseball games, the actual play of our Memphis team has been sloppy and inconsistent thus far.

Yet despite the poor record, a few individuals are putting up nice numbers through the first month of the season, and with the injury bug hitting St. Louis right now we could see some of our Redbirds headed to the bigs before too long.

Tim Cooney- SP
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I wrote about Cooney before the start of the season, expecting him to build off of a nice 2014 campaign.  He’s done that so far this year in three starts for the Birds.  He is 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA, only slightly higher than his 3.47 from 2014.  What I was most impressed by about Cooney was his ability to eat innings away in an efficient fashion.  Thus far, he has pitched 17.1 innings, good for second on the team, only trailing fellow starting pitcher Zach Petrick by a third of an inning, who currently has one more start than Cooney. He averaged 6.1 innings pitched per game in 2014 and is just below that pace this year.  Cooney pitched a gem in his first start of the year against the Iowa Cubs, a team who boasted some of the top prospects in baseball with players Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, who are both now in the majors.  Cooney went for six innings with one run ball as the Redbirds got the win.

St. Louis may now be in need of another starting pitcher as ace Adam Wainwright is out for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles.  The Cardinals are off to a great start and sit at 12-5, 1st in the central division.  Losing the star pitcher on a team that has been in the very middle of the pack offensively is really going to hurt the Cardinals as a whole.

What Cooney would bring to the table is his inning eating. If he could average six innings per start, he would put the Cardinals in a position to be successful every five days.  They don’t need Cooney to come in and be a dominant force.  The Cards need him to come in a quietly get the job done with the rest of the excellent pitching staff, which is currently leading the MLB in ERA at 2.24. In addition, the Cooney has only given up nine HRs in 152.2 innings pitched, overpowering his opponents. If St. Louis does not decided to make a move and bring in an arm outside of the organization, I would expect that Cooney’s name would be at the top of the list to get called up in the next week.

Ed Easley- C

Easley is off to a nice start for the Redbird this year.  Currently hitting .255, his average is good for 3rd on the team of hitters, having over 30 at bats. While he is not near his 2014 average of .296, hopefully he will settle into a rhythm at the plate, and with that we should see his average rise.  Easley was called up the beginning of April when Cardinals backup catcher, Tony Cruz, was put on paternity leave.  However, he was sent back down to the Redbirds shortly there after.

St. Louis Cardinals’ starting all-star catcher is currently out with an injury after taking a foul tip directly on the knee.  Molina is one of the best in the majors offensively and defensively, and the Cards certainly hope this injury heals quickly and he is only listed as day-to-day.  However, should the injury bother Molina for an extended period of time, Easley could be an option for the Cardinals to pull up to St. Louis.

Along with Tony Cruz, the Cards have Cody Stanley currently on their MLB roster as a backup for Molina while he recovers.  Stanley has only had one AB thus far in his MLB career, which occurred on April 26th when he got a hit. While one at bat is far too little to base anything off of, Cruz has started four games behind the plate for the Cards and has only hit .214 while striking out three times in 14 at bats.  Should Molina’s knee injury be a bit more pesky than initially thought and the backup catchers continue to leave a lot to be desired offensively, Easley could be headed back St. Louis shortly.

Honorable Mention

Xavier Scruggs- 1B

If anyone of the Redbirds deserves the call up based of their play alone, its Scruggs.  Hitting .273, he is leading the team with four HRs and 13 RBI.  With the Cardinals struggling to put up numbers offensively, it seems as though they would want a hitter with some raw power.  Scruggs hit 21 HRs in 2014 while batting .286, and drove in 87 RBI for the Redbirds.  However, with no shortage of talented infielders at the MLB level, the Cards are not currently looking to call anyone up from their minors.  Should the injury bug find its way to Matt Adams or Mark Reynolds, Scruggs could get the call.  However, with both players healthy, Scruggs will have to continue to grow in his performance in the minors.  Should the Cards offense continue to struggle to drive in runs, they could look to productive players in their farm system, but I do not see Scruggs getting the call in the near future.

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Posted in: Redbirds, Sports