Results tagged ‘ Jason Motte ’

2014 Memphis Pitching Staff – Predictions & Input


Since the last post about predictions for the Redbirds roster concerning the 2014 season, St. Louis has optioned five players to minor league camp. A majority of moves have featured more pitchers than position players. It is pitching that remains one of the strongholds in the St. Louis system though and entering the season, things are panning out well.

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The starting rotation in Memphis should see a few newcomers in Tim Cooney and Angel Castro, with Zach Petrick (pictured above) having an outside chance. Both Cooney and Petrick had successful 2013 campaigns, as the tandem finished as teammates at Double-A Springfield. Cooney led all St. Louis minor league players in strikeouts (148) and was tied for the top spot in wins (10). Petrick was right behind Cooney in strikeouts (122), finishing third, but bested all others in ERA (1.99). He also earned the St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award after the season. The pair as a whole have tremendous upside entering only their third professional seasons. If one of them is optioned to start with Double-A, then expect Boone Whiting to fill their spot. Castro was signed in the offseason after spending 2013 with Triple-A Albuquerque in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization. He started 19 games and recorded a 3.48 ERA in 116.1 innings of work. The Dominican Republic-native will be expected to log important innings for Memphis.

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Tyler Lyons (pictured above) and Scott McGregor are projected to fill the final two spots in the rotation. Lyons made his Major League debut in 2013 pitching 53 innings with a 4.75 ERA. If the big league club has any injuries in the starting personnel, Lyons will more than likely be the first to see action with St. Louis again. McGregor, the pitcher who tied Cooney with 10 wins last season, started eight games with Springfield and 17 with Memphis. While his combined ERA landed at 4.06 in 2013, McGregor will look to improve in his first full season at Triple-A.

The St. Louis bullpen does have some questions, which poses uncertainty to trickle down to Memphis. Things should sort out once a few players return from injuries though. With Jaime Garcia going down at the opening of spring training and Jason Motte not appearing to be at full health, it keeps the door open for either Joe Kelly or Carlos Martinez to plug the gap in the starting rotation and the other to fill a bullpen spot. That still leaves one spot in the bullpen though which some see Keith Butler filling. Butler, who made his debut with the Cardinals in 2013, would likely remain with St. Louis until Motte can make a return. The rest of the projected relievers in Memphis are familiar to most.

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Sam Freeman (pictured above), Lee Stoppelman, Jorge Rondon, Eric Fornataro, and Nick Greenwood are foreseen as finding their way to Triple-A. Stoppelman saw three games with Memphis in 2013, his first time above the Double-A level. He showed poise last season, posting a 1.50 ERA in 55 games combined between three levels. Rondon had a good season as a Redbird in 2013 (51 G, 3.06 ERA), while Greenwood and Fornataro seek to bounce back from tough campaigns. Finally, after hurling a franchise-record 25.2 consecutive shutout innings by a reliever, Freeman found success in both Memphis and St. Louis. The lefty was 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA at Triple-A and 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in St. Louis. If the St. Louis bullpen did not already have two lefties locked into it, Freeman would probably be on the Opening Day roster for the Cardinals, although he does still have a chance if St. Louis does not mind having three left-handers. The last spot in the Memphis ‘pen, an opening most thought Jose Almarante would fill before getting stuck in the Dominican with visa issues, seems to be a wait-and-see issue. If the Cardinals are looking internally to fill the void, it could be Heath Wyatt, simply because of the solid year he put together in 2013 between Advanced-A Palm Beach and Springfield. However, they do have a few players that could wind up on the trade block  and provide them with another arm.

With the moves yesterday, St. Louis is down to 34 roster players and seven non-roster invitees left in Major League camp. The key to pitching is keeping arms healthy, which is what the organization is focusing on heading into Opening Day.

Twitter Talk – Grapefruit Play


Our favorite time of the week has returned for a third installment. With Grapefruit League play getting fired up, there is plenty of action around Twitter to keep fans entertained. Below is a few of our favorite tweets that went out within the last week or so.

Jason Motte has been very active with fans in his return journey from an injury last year.

Tyrell Jenkins even coordinated his sandals with the stripes in his socks

Marco Gonzalez lets us know that baseball is not done right without a bag of sunflower seeds.

Kolten Wong and Xavier Scruggs discussed Wong’s impressive sliding grab on Tuesday.

St.  Louis Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold said the diving catch was not the only thing Wong did that impressed on Tuesday.

The 2013 National League Championship Series MVP Michael Wacha made a few cards worth a lot of money with his autograph.

Infielder Patrick Wisdom was snapped doing a “little pregame bubble work.”

The Cardinals had some fun with PGA golfer Rickie Fowler on Tuesday. Fowler even had his own bat made and took some batting practice

One of the Cardinals top prospects, Rob Kaminsky, captured a special moment.

Remember that the exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Memphis Redbirds is just 15 days away! Tickets go on sale this Saturday, March 15th.

Twitter Talk – Let the Games Begin


Spring Training is a few days old and all those invited to Major League camp have reported. Drills are in full swing and the team has started to take live batting practice. Here’s the weekly Twitter Talk update on word around camp.

Players make sure to have some fun before the season starts. Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter play a game of ping pong.

Jason Motte appreciated the support after the Cardinals’ Twitter account posted a picture of his beard.

Outfielder Randal Grichuk enjoyed his first day in Cardinals’ camp.

Mike O’Neill tried to get clever on Twitter during Valentine’s Day.

Infielder Xavier Scruggs enjoys a good tune now and then.

It’s not everyday you refer to a kitchen appliance as “the Bugatti of blenders.”

The funny things that happen when pitchers get together.

Even the players keep tabs on when ESPN shows up to camp.

What To Know About Bobblehead #9


9jm.jpgBats: Right    Throws: Right
Born: June 22, 1982 at Port Huron, MI
Selected in the 19th round of the 2003 draft.

Before Motte was a full-time Cardinal, the Iona-product could be found under the lights of AutoZone Park. Motte donned the Redbirds jersey in 2004 and 2008, but had two completely different roles each season.

In 2004, Motte made his Triple-A debut as a catcher and hit .200 (1×5) in three games for the ‘Birds. In the following seasons, Motte spent time working on his plate discipline at the Single-A and Double-A levels and eventually shifted his focus to pitching in the summer of 2006.

motte7.jpgThe right-handed reliever made his return to Memphis in 2008 to establish a 4-3-9 record with a 3.24 ERA over 63 appearances. He led all PCL relief pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings, averaging 14.85.

He finished the ’08 season by making his major league debut in St. Louis. The then 26-year-old helped the Cardinals close-out their season by twirling 16 strikeouts over 11 innings for a 0.82 ERA.

motte3.jpgArrive early to Tuesday August 18th’s Redbirds game against the Fresno Grizzlies, because the first 1,500 fans will receive a Jason Motte bobblehead. Gates open at 6:00 P.M.

*Thanks again to Allison Rhoades for digging up that Motte pic in the middle.

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