How do you possibly improve on a historic season? That’s going to be the question all summer long in Memphis, where the reigning Pacific Coast League champs have arguably an even stronger roster. The Redbirds will have to navigate the hitter friendly confines with a revolving door of pitchers, with as many as seven this month ready for the call to St. Louis.
It has never been harder to pinpoint the strength of a team, however, since at seemingly every position there is big league talent. Carson Kelly, Tyler O’Neill, and very recently demoted Jack Flaherty are simply an injury away from joining the Cardinals. That takes nothing away from the likes of Luke Voit, Oscar Mercado, or Austin Gomber who shouldn’t have to wait long to make their own impact.
Patrick Wisdom and Adolis Garcia basically have nothing left to prove at the AAA level but must navigate the tougher road to a promotion given that the 40-man roster is well, congested. Newcomer Max Schrock won’t have to wait long in order to put himself on the map either, but still faces the same obstacles in order to see the Arch this year.
For the safe money, though, keep your eyes on a pair of big league hurlers currently stuck in limbo. John Gant takes over the Opening Day start honors and will look to keep the momentum going after an impressive March. He still won’t be the first in-season promotion as that distinction should go to John Brebbia, the bad-luck reliever who was set to be in St. Louis before losing out to a 102 MPH option.
No matter where you look, the talent just keeps showing up on a Memphis roster that can’t help but make opponents shake their heads. And that is before phenom Alex Reyes makes his rehab appearances and possibly the last of his minor league stints. The only remaining questions will be around the trade deadline, where the front office has to decide a few things moving forward.
Now is the time to enjoy the best a AAA club can offer. There won’t be another roster quite like it, as Memphis will be rocking all summer no matter who comes and goes.