Ever since ace Adam Wainwright went down with a torn Achilles injury, ending his 2015 season early, the question all around Cardinal Nation has been: who will take his place in the rotation?
That question has finally been answered.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced on Tuesday that LHP Tim Cooney will be called up from the Memphis Redbirds (the Cardinals AAA minor league affiliate) and make his debut this Thursday in the series finale vs the Philadelphia Phillies.
Cooney, 24, was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, North Carolina).
While a member of the A- Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Pennsylvania League, Cooney had a record of 3-3 and an ERA of 3.40. In 2013, he switched between playing for the Palm Beach Cardinals (A+) and Springfield Cardinals (AA), where he accumulated a total record of 10-13, with an ERA of 2.75 and 3.80, respectively.
But it’s been his two season with the Memphis Redbirds that Cooney really has been able to breakout and show the potential the Cardinals’ organization saw when they drafted him. During the 2014 season, he went 16-7 with a 3.47 ERA while striking out 119 batters in 26 games (25 starts). In 2015 thus far, he’s gone 2-1 with an ERA of 3.63.
On Cooney, Matheny said one of Cooney’s best pitches really impressed him, and how it could be a good advantage against Philadelphia.
“I really liked how he was going about every outing he had and saw a good breaking ball.” Matheny said. “You see a lineup like (the Phillies’) with a lot of left-handed batters and his breaking ball plays there,” he added. The stats aren’t exactly top-tier, but his career is just starting up.
Meanwhile, another pitcher in the Cardinals’ minor league system, Tyler Lyons, was another option for the fifth spot, but while Cooney has shown improvement as of late, Lyons has not. It’s a deep farm system for the Cardinals organization, and now that Wainwright’s spot is filled, that question can be put to rest.