Looking back at the Cardinals' 10 most disappointing prospects of the past decade

Many St. Louis Cardinals fans have a propensity to overhype prospects. These 10 players indicate that it's often best to keep expectations measured.
St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles
St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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9. Tim Cooney

The 117th overall pick in the 2012 draft, left-handed pitcher Tim Cooney was considered a polished product out of Wake Forest who could rise quickly through the Cardinals' system on the strength of his control: In 2012 and 2013, his first two minor league seasons, Cooney walked only 1.3 batters per nine innings. He received minor league All-Star nods in 2013 and 2015.

Cooney was having an excellent season with Triple-A Memphis in 2015, holding a 2.74 ERA, when injuries in the Cardinals rotation necessitated Cooney's services in the major leagues. He was knocked around in his first start, going 2.1 innings and surrendering seven hits and three runs, but he was able to right the ship in his next five starts, ultimately holding a 3.16 ERA. His season was cut short after a bout with appendicitis.

Baseball America was high on Cooney after his promising 2015 season, ranking him second on the Cardinals top 30 prospects list. Unfortunately, Cooney would miss all of 2016 with a shoulder injury suffered in Spring Training, and the Cleveland Indians claimed him off waivers after the season.

Injuries bit Cooney again at the beginning of 2017, and he pitched only three innings with Cleveland's Rookie League affiliate before being granted free agency after the season and never latching on with another team.

Before injuries derailed his career, Cooney had the upside of a No. 4 starter in the Cardinals rotation. He pursued higher education after his time in baseball and graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business in 2020.