Closer- Sam Tuivailala
Before even discussing a thing, let us note that Tuivailala has the greatest chance of making the big roster of any of the potential bullpen pitchers in Memphis. With that out of the way, let us also recognize what could become a genius closer in the way of Tuivailala.
Sam has decent experience in the majors already (3.07 ERA in 2015, 14.2 IP) but even better stuff in AAA (1.60 ERA in 2015, 45.0 IP). To add to this, Sam commands a devastating 96+ MPH fastball which indicates that with another year of service, Tuivailala could well be the replacement to Trevor Rosenthal after the 2016 campaign or if/should a suitor be found for Rosey.
Setup- Miguel Socolovich
Like Tui before him, Socolovich also has major league experience with St. Louis. On paper it appears that Socolovich’s time with the Cardinals in 2015 was a success (1.82 ERA in 46 IP), batters were able to hit .227 off of him with a .282 BABIP. This indicates that the small sample size of 46 innings might not be enough- yet- to have him break camp with the Cardinals.
In AAA, Socolovich appeared in 32.2 innings with Memphis in 2015 and posted a 2.48 ERA. So why not have him close? While he is impressive, Socolovich’s fastball, coming in at 90-91 MPH, just doesn’t have the zip or pop of Tuivailala’s fastball. Having said this, however, either of these two can close for Memphis should one “ride the shuttle.”
Long Relief- Mitch Harris
I like navy man Mitch Harris and wish him great success. I feel that he can contribute, and has certainly shown this, and would love to see him stretched out in 2016. This would help his value and would certainly come in handy in St. Louis this season as well.
A quick look at Harris: in 2015, Harris pitched 27 innings in the majors posting a 3.67 ERA, and he pitched 26.2 innings for Memphis posting a 3.38 ERA. Carrying good-to-great stuff, Harris would be a great long relief candidate for both squads.
Memphis has many other interesting pitchers who will occupy their pen in 2016. These include Jeremy Hefner (a candidate to fill a starting rotation spot should someone above board the shuttle), Tyler Waldron, and Deck McGuire. Look for these names throughout this season.
Next: Bonus-STL Lineup