St. Louis Cardinals: Preseason Memphis Roster Prediction
Everyone knows that AAA is the level where players learn to either start or fill bullpen positions and often these roles swap with speed– sometimes even in the midst of games. Everyone also knows that AAA is the level in which major league pitchers rehab. These things add a touch of complication to creating a starting rotation for Memphis.
Having said that, there are additional complications in the form of two pitchers who I have included in this rotation simply based on the fact that their performance in spring training may have them breaking camp in the major league squad. I feel that Memphis is a better starting point for them this season (save those options after all).
#1 SP Marco Gonzales
Marco is one of the two pitchers who may break camp with the Cardinals. I am worried that if he breaks camp with the big club that he will find his spot in the pen and I feel he has much better worth as a starting pitcher. With that said, Memphis would be a better starting spot for 2016 for him and Memphis can certainly use him.
Should Memphis find prime luck and have Marco starting the rotation, he instantly becomes the number one starter which will also help him build into the 2017 starting rotation for St. Louis as a number four or better slot.
#2 SP Tim Cooney
Cooney is the second pitcher who may break camp with the Cardinals. Like Marco above, I feel that the organization gets far better and deeper use out of Cooney reserving him in Memphis and saving the options. Should injury befall the big club, either Cooney or Gonzales can easily ship up and serve well.
Cooney, also like Marco, is one heck of a pitcher. 2016 would be a great season for Memphis to once again hold the PCL title and a rotation with Gonzales and Cooney at the top two slots is one that will be tough to beat in the AAA-level.
#3 SP Luke Weaver
The organization is very high on Weaver right now, and rightfully so. Weaver commands a 2.24 ERA after two seasons of minor league appearances. Bragging about that does not, however, excuse the fact that he has not appeared any higher than high-A. Is he good enough to jump to AAA? It certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see him break spring training with Memphis on a very short leash (but one that could well explode with celebration).
#4 SP Arturo Reyes
Arturo Reyes is not yet a popular name. 2016, I feel, will be the year this changes. In his career, Arturo commands a 3.39 ERA across three seasons in the minors. A full season with Memphis and with the Memphis pitching staff will certainly help him become a pitcher-of-tomorrow.
A few things to note about Arturo: 2015 was shortened due to injury (will 2016 see similar issues?), Arturo should focus on pitching deeper into games, and Arturo must work on his pitching with runners on base (his ERA balloons with ducks on the pond). These are all things that can be mastered in Memphis.
#5 SP Alex Reyes
Please don’t burn me at the stake for this suggestion, but when Reyes returns from his suspension, I feel that he will shore-up the Memphis rotation. I placed him at number five only due to the suspension limiting his starting time.
That said, I am very excited for Reyes and can easily see him leading this rotation as the number one or two starter when Gonzales or Cooney are called up or traded. Reyes’ 3.80 ERA could really help Memphis and a full season with the Redbirds could well see this ERA quickly lower.
Until Reyes returns from his suspension, don’t be surprised if Jeremy Hefner fills this fifth spot.