TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #12: Tim Cooney

The next big left-handed pitching prospect makes a major move upward in our annual top 40.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
39 LHS 12/19/1990 6-3 195 L L 2012 3rd

School: Wake Forest University

Selected 2013 stats

PB 3 3 2.75 2.70 6 6 0 36.0 38 14 1 4 23 1.35 0.273 0.316
Spr 7 10 3.80 2.57 20 20 0 118.1 132 58 8 18 125 1.03 0.284 0.366
Total 10 13 3.56   26 26 0 154.1 170 72 9 22 148 1.11 0.281  

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (17): The community's 33rd prospect last year, Tim Cooney rose to their 17th selection for 2014.

The apparent plan was for Cooney to stay at Palm Beach for most of the 2013 season. But that changed when Springfield needed help and he was the most advanced pitcher available at the time. For the more challenging level of play at Double-A, Cooney was not fully ready, though. He learned on the fly that he could survive and continued to get better.

Consistency took time, as Cooney had a few excellent starts for Springfield but several others that were more on the other end toward rough. That all said, overall he was the best and most impressive of any Springfield starter in 2013.

Cooney's stuff, delivery, and style of pitching is very similar to the Cardinals recent MLB debuters Tyler Lyons and John Gast. They are gutsy pitch-makers who depend on poise, fastball command, and getting ahead of hitters to be successful against lineups. If they show an inability to get ahead, most often they will struggle to get hitters out.

Cooney was pretty much the horse of the Springfield staff in his 26 starts. So he should be Triple-A ready in 2014 and by 2015 could have a big-league job in hand. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (9): I have taken from Cooney's 2013 that he is staking a claim as a top 10 prospect in this system. The control artist makes the biggest year-to-year leap in the overall top 40, from 39 to 12.

Despite his strong 2012 debut in the short-season New York-Penn League, I admit that I held back last winter. Now, I am on the bandwagon, convinced that Cooney is much more than an advanced college draftee with high floor but an unknown ceiling.

Ironically, the numbers indicate that the second-ranked pitcher after Cooney's stellar system-best 6.8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio among starters is also perhaps his nearest competitor ahead in the left-handed starter pecking order, Tyler Lyons.

In truth, Lyons was next, but not that close at 4.5:1. While Cooney and Lyons were 1-2 in lowest walk rate, Cooney has an encouraging advantage in strikeouts. In fact, Cooney's 8.6 Ks per nine innings was fifth-best among all starters in the Cardinals system in 2013.

While Lyons has success at Triple-A and he experienced a taste of the majors, Cooney is a year behind. There is no reason to believe based on his talent, however, that Cooney, our Springfield Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2013, could not follow a similar path.

In the short term, it could get down to opportunity in St. Louis that may not be as prevalent in 2014 as the unusually high level we saw in 2013. Cooney's time should eventually come. In the meantime, a dominating Triple-A season would be a good near-term goal.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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