St. Louis Cardinals: Trusting in Tim Cooney


The St. Louis Cardinals should be looking within their young starting core of pitchers to fill the role as the team’s fifth starter in the rotation.

After now missing out on two high profiled free agents for the Cardinals (Jason Heyward and David Price), St. Louis needs to forget about adding another pitcher and instead look within their own system that has been their cornerstone now for so many years.  As noted from Derrick Goold‘s piece the other day, GM John Mozeliak and the Cardinals are “not nervous going into the year with having Lyons, Cooney, or Gonzales compete for that fifth spot” in the rotation.  After the late emergence of Tim Cooney last July, the Cardinals ought to refrain from the market for now.

Of course now everyone of us can remember the beating that Cooney took during his debut (which ended up sending Cooney back down to Memphis), Cooney was able to learn from his mistakes and come back a second time with the Cardinals for a short stint and pitch very productively, before having his season cut short due to appendicitis:

(FanGraphs 2015 Game Log)

After Cooney’s performance’s in 2015 for the St. Louis Cardinals, he was notable enough as the organization’s number two prospect for 2016 according to John Manuel of Baseball America, which has become quite an impressive stature for Cooney, seeing’s how he saw his prospect status slide from #6 in 2013 to #7 in 2014.

I do believe that left-hander Tim Cooney is that in the making of a Tom Glavine kind of pitcher. In no way am I saying that he is going to become that of what Glavine was as a pitcher, but the mechanics, release, and style all seem to match up to Cooney.  There are also several other young pitchers in the Cardinals minor league system that could probably fill this role as well such as Marco Gonzales, Alex Reyes, and Tyler Lyons.

However, the biggest difference that I see in Cooney from the other three lively arms is that Cooney is Major League ready and has gotten better in every start in his big league career, something that is not very consistent with these young rookies of today.  If Cooney can maintain that consistency then I think there is no doubt that Cooney should get the ball when it comes to that fifth starter.

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With the plethora of young talent the Cardinals have in their minor league system, shows that their key is development.  It can even be shown with the whole John Lackey/Jason Heyward free agency ordeal.  The Cardinals are receiving two compensation picks in the first round from the rival Cubs, which will play into their hands to where they will have the opportunity to develop and mold two very talented young ball players into major league ready ball players as the years go on. (It would have been ideal to have Heyward back in my opinion)

Cooney has the stuff and the movement to miss the bat of a major league hitter and would most likely have had a year under his belt in any other staff in the MLB, but of course being a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, there is no rush to push these young guys into the show.  Cooney has several things working on his side already, other than his nasty pitching movements. He is young and has some experience.  Cooney is only 24 and has pitched and done above the league average in his six starts at the major league level, giving him as I feel the leader when it comes down to selecting that fifth starter.

Now, I know that a big reason of why Tim has been successful is because of the man calling the signals back behind the plate. I give a big credit of most of our pitchers success to Yadier Molina, as he is a catalyst when it comes to picking apart a batter. Which is another reason why Cooney was able to place his pitches to where he need to get a swing and a miss from the batter.

Next: Rule 5 Draft Gains and Losses for the Cardinals

When it comes down to it, I really hope that the Cardinals do not go out and get another arm to add to the rotation. I honestly feel that if they were to go out and find someone in free agency, they would not only be hindering their budget, but also their young players that are major league ready.  It is time to stop talking about how good this minor league pitcher is or how much potential he may have, it is time for the Cardinals to see what they have and let their young arms give them the chance to be successful.