2013 Memphis Redbirds Starter of the Year

In a very talented field, lefty Tyler Lyons made the greatest contribution over the longest period as a starting pitcher at Triple-A this season.

This year, the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds had a revolving door of a starting rotation, with 15 different starters, including nine who made at least seven starts. To limit consideration to those who made the biggest contributions, only those with at least ten starts were considered eligible for the The Cardinal Nation Memphis Redbirds Starting Pitcher of the Year award.

Of the six candidates, three spent some time in St. Louis (Tyler Lyons, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha). Nick Additon, Scott McGregor and Boone Whiting were constants on the staff for most of the year, however, they do not measure up to the performance of the other three.

Among Lyons, Martinez and Wacha, it is a very close race statistically and any one of the three could be argued as Pitcher of the Year.

With Memphis Starts Innings ERA Hits ER/HR K/BB K/9 WHIP
Tyler Lyons 16 100 1/3 3.32 85 37/6 86/19 7.7 1.04
Carlos Martinez 13 68 2.51 54 19/3 63/27 8.3 1.19
Michael Wacha 15 85 2.65 65 25/9 73/19 7.7 0.99

However, going beyond the statistics and including observations from the park, I am naming Lyons the top Memphis contributor of the three. Martinez was cut from the race because of his lower innings-pitched today and the fact that he was pulled early in several outings.

Over his 16 starts, the southpaw Lyons often had to deal with limited run support. In seven starts, Redbirds hitters scored two runs or less and Lyons had a 0-2 record in those games. Half of his starts were quality starts. Per start, Lyons averaged a line of 6 1/3 innings, 2.3 earned runs allowed, 5.3 hits, 5.6 strikeouts and a walk.

Wacha, the 19th pick of last year's draft, had ten games out of his 15 starts when the club failed to put up more than two support runs for him. The right-hander posted a 3-2 record in those games and had seven quality starts. If you stretch his numbers out to a per-start line, Wacha averaged 5 2/3 innings, 1.7 earned runs allowed, 4.3 hits, 4.9 strikeouts and a walk.

The in-season improvement Lyons made is also worthy of noting. Three straight June losses in St. Louis did not impact the 25-year-old negatively, as he allowed only six total earned runs over his next six Memphis appearances, including five quality starts. After Wacha's mid-season St. Louis trip, the former Texas A&M Aggie had two quality starts in six games but only one win.

With the Redbirds, Lyons made a bigger impact, solidified the role for a longer period of time and therefore, earns the nod as The Cardinal Nation Memphis Redbirds Starting Pitcher of the Year. His ability to take over games with his off-speed and breaking pitches and keep hitters off-balance are a big reason why.

Looking at his total body of work for the season, Lyons' best month was July. In that month, he had four quality starts, plus was an out away from lasting six frames in another. He struck out 33 batters in 33 2/3 frames pitched with a 1.60 ERA for the month. Lyons was named TCN's system-wide and the Cardinals organization's Pitcher of the Month in recognition.

Overall, the lefty finished with a 7-2 record with Memphis and made his first eight starts in the majors this year.

Link to master article with all 2013 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that will include our selection as the Memphis Redbirds Player of the Year.

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