For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
Player: Tim Cooney
Season stats: 1-0, 3.16 ERA, 6 games, 31.1 IP, 28 H, 3 HR, 10 BB, 29 K, 1.213 WHIP, 3.58 FIP, 0.7 bWAR
Overall grade: B-
Positives: Made a strong second impression, putting together a 2.58 ERA in five starts after getting his second call-up to St. Louis….was competitive against the other two Central powers, giving up a total of four runs in 10.1 innings to Chicago and Pittsburgh combined….limited right-handers to a .223 BAA against, though all three homers came from righties….went 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 88.2 innings at Memphis, with a WHIP under .900.
Negatives: His first start was terrible, allowing seven hits and three runs to the Phillies in 2.1 innings….appendicitis kept him from being able to be a September call-up, which I realize isn’t his fault but still, it’s not a positive thing….lefties had a .764 OPS against him, fueled by a .400 OBP….batters hit .350 with an .800 OPS on his first pitch, numbers that moved to .500 and 1.200 on a 1-0 count (though that was just 10 plate appearances)….pitchers went 3 for 8 against him.
Overview: With the depth of pitching in St. Louis, it tends to make you wonder just how Cooney fits in. Even before any moves might be made, the rotation would be full if the club picks up Jaime Garcia‘s option. You have folks like Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales who can take the fifth spot as well if Garcia is let go. Still, Cooney hasn’t let that be much of a factor for him. Cooney has never seemed to be one of those exciting prospects like Shelby Miller or Michael Wacha, but he continues to pitch well enough to stay in the conversation. His second trip around AAA was still very strong as noted above and he’s still young for Memphis at 24.
It’s also interesting that he shook that terrible Philadelphia perception so quickly. There didn’t seem to be much complaining or angst when he was recalled in July and folks were often taking his side in the Cooney/Tyler Lyons discussion. (To be fair, not here of course, as we never go against the Patron Pitcher when we can help it.) Sometimes seeing a disaster like the first start could have easily gotten people to sour on him, but I guess there was enough goodwill from the minors to mitigate that somewhat.
Outlook: Cooney still doesn’t seem to be in line for a regular spot in the St. Louis rotation, given how full it is. It would seem that he’ll spend another year as an insurance policy in Memphis, unless he gets another team interested enough to try to swing a trade. With Alex Reyes coming up, it might be best for his long-term prospects if he moved, but nobody is agitating for that.