St. Louis Cardinals: Opening Night for Memphis Redbirds

Photo credit: Dr. Michael D. Miles, Memphis, TN, 2016
Photo credit: Dr. Michael D. Miles, Memphis, TN, 2016 /

I’m sitting here in the media suite ready to watch the Memphis Redbirds, AAA-affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, kick off their 2016 season on an absolutely beautiful night.

After a frustrating three games by our St. Louis Cardinals, I am so thrilled to sit in the comfy confines at AutoZone Park to watch the Memphis Redbirds kick off their 2016 season.  Some leading questions in my head: will these Redbirds produce offensively where the Cardinals have not yet?  Will the arms here in Memphis hold the opponents better than their big brothers?

Let’s get to the lead-in.  Tonight at 7:05pm, the Redbirds will toss out the first pitch of the 2016 season facing the AAA-affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.  Climbing the mound for Memphis is Deck McGuire.  McGuire will be facing Zach Davies.

Deck McGuire

McGuire was the 11th overall draft pick of the 2010 draft after playing college ball for Georgia Tech (went 28-7 in 45 starts with a 3.29 ERA).  In the 2010 draft, McGuire was drafted by the Blue Jays.  In the most recent season, Deck pitched in the Dodgers organization splitting time between AA and AAA.  For the Dodgers, Deck started the season going 4-0 posting a 1.33 ERA across 27 innings.

At the end of the 2015 season, Deck appeared in the Pacific Coast League playoffs where he tossed five innings and recorded seven strikeouts.  This tied the highest total by any Dodgers pitcher in their post season.

In Spring for the Cardinals, Deck appeared in two games, struck out one batter, surrendered four hits and two runs.  His spring ERA before he was reassigned to minor league camp finished at 2.25.  This, his 6th professional season may well be his break-out year.

Fun fact: in my one-on-one interview with Deck on Media Day, I asked this hurler if he could pick one superpower between the options of flight or invisibility, which would he choose?  His answer: flight so that he could quickly make the trips without airport and plane difficulties.

Zach Davies

Davies enters this season ranked as the number twelve prospect in the Brewers organization (according to Baseball America).  This is down from his 2015 ranking as the number six prospect in the Orioles organization.  He was acquired by the Brewers in July of 2015 when the team traded the Gerardo Parra to Baltimore.

In 2015, Davies made six starts going 3-2 with a 3.71 ERA.  Of even more interest, Davies held opposing batters to a .211 batting average.

Starting Lineup

Memphis lineup looks like this tonight:

More from St Louis Cardinals Prospects

Dean Anna, 2B

Jacob Wilson, 3B

Carlos Peguero, RF

Anthony Garcia, LF

Jonathan Rodriguez, 1B

Charlie Tilson, CF

Mike Ohlman, C

Alex Mejia, SS

Deck McGuire, P

Players to Watch

Interesting names to see tonight and as the AAA season progresses are Mike Ohlman (see my gushing write-up here), Miguel Socolovich, Sam Tuivailala, Matthew Williams, Jacob Wilson, Patrick Wisdom, Charlie Tilson, Anthony Garcia, and Carlos Peguero.

I look forward to posting exciting things about each of these names later tonight.  Stay tuned for an update at the conclusion of the game for my thoughts on what I see.

Next: The Good, Bad and Ugly from Pittsburgh

Fingers crossed that these birds can take flight where their MLB counterparts are having difficulties.  Memphis is an outstanding place, Dean Anna praised this as the best stadium to hit in (to him), and the time is ripe for fun, exciting, and productive baseball.  Go Redbirds!