The St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, Memphis Redbirds are champions of the entire AAA level. Our editors look back and share their perspectives as followers of the final-game teams.
In a game that can only be described as a shellacking, the Memphis Redbirds defeated the Durham Bulls 14-4. This feat speaks volumes to the depth in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system, especially considering how many of the key players are calling Busch Stadium home at this point in the season.
To help analyze this Redbird team, I’ve enlisted the help of Dr. Miles. He is our resident Memphis native and has been able to watch this special group all season. As for my part, I was lucky enough to be an intern with the Toledo Mud Hens and watch most of the International League teams in person, so I will be analyzing the Bulls.
Dr. Miles’ Memphis take
I’m the lucky one here since I get to cover the Memphis Redbirds and the spell-bound Stubby Clapp. This luck is two-fold: (1) the Redbirds won it all, and (2) the Memphis squad was just awesome this season (and last season too).
Memphis was amazing and fun to watch all season. While the St. Louis Cardinals were often floundering through the season, the Redbirds were flat running away with their division of the Pacific Coast League.
If you didn’t know, the Memphis Redbirds closed the season with an astounding win count of 90 games. Combined with a great 2017, the Redbirds won a total of 187 games. If you are keeping score at home, this meant that the 2017 Redbirds won 97 games– some 7 additional games over the 2018 campaign.
Even with this in mind, the 2018 Redbirds slammed the door shut when they couldn’t in 2017. This was helped, in large part, by players who are currently contributing to the St. Louis Cardinals. These included the likes of John Brebbia, Patrick Wisdom, and now Giovanny Gallegos. These players- and others- helped the Memphis team bring a trophy to the Bluff City.
From the onset of the season, the Redbirds brought with them incredible promise. They had just come off of a season as PCL Champs with a great deal of returning players. Alex Mejia and Wilfredo Tovar were returning. Carson Kelly was returning. And supportive roles held by Andrew Knitzner, Justin Williams, and Tommy Edman waiting in the wings in AA. These guys were promoted and made great impact.
To me, Randy Arozarena, Adolis Garcia (now with the St. Louis Cardinals and was there to the tune of missing the AAA playoffs), and Rangel Ravelo were the big guns for Memphis. For the St. Louis Cardinals’ faithful, add these names to your radar as we move into the offseason and the start of spring training 2019.
All-in-all, the Memphis Redbirds were a great team and were often a better team than was the St. Louis Cardinals. The Redbirds, thanks to their greatness, won it all and this is what the St. Louis Cardinals must admire and envy.
Durham Bulls, and the International League
It is important for me to mention that I truly believe Memphis was the best Triple-A team this season. That crown in rightfully earned. Keep that in mind as I break down the IL opponent they embarrassed.
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Durham played their way to this game, and they are a talented group. However, they were not the best team in the International League. The beauty of baseball is that the most talented team does not always get to fight for the trophy.
By regular season record, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs can be considered the best team. They were a very powerful team with the ability to hit the long ball early and often. That team did not even make the Governor’s Cup after losing to Scranton Wilkes/Barre.
So, the Bulls took down the Mud Hens in the semi finals, and went on to win the Governor’s Cup. The St. Louis Cardinals took Nick Williams, one of Durham’s top players, in the Tommy Pham trade. That does not mean there were not some good talent on the team.
The likes of Austin Meadows and Kean Wong were written into the lineup card. There were even some veterans of big games like Rob Refsnyder. It was a team built to win, just as they did throughout the playoffs.
Fortunately for the St. Louis Cardinals faithful, the Bulls did not play up to their potential. To be honest, from what I saw, even if they were at their best it wouldn’t have been enough for the talent in Memphis.
From all of us at Redbird Rants, congratulations to the Memphis Redbirds for their championship. They were a fantastic team all year, and no group of players more talented at the Triple-A level.