Just like The Cardinal Nation’s Memphis Redbirds Reliever of the Year Award race, the Starter of the Year was a tight one.
Nick Greenwood led the group in wins, Tim Cooney led the team in ERA before succumbing to injury in July and Zach Petrick topped the group in innings pitched; but there was one starter who excelled in every aspect of the game in Memphis’ rotation: Tyler Lyons.
Although he only pitched in half as many games as the rest of the starters on the roster (16 games) due to his stints with St. Louis, Lyons posted an efficient ERA (3.14), led the squad in complete games (two) and finished second on the team in wins (nine).
As was the case for Memphis starters as a group, Lyons began the season slowly. His first outing included two walks, four earned runs on seven hits including two homers in four innings on April 12 vs. Iowa.
The 27-year-old then turned it on, earning wins in three of his next four starts to drop his ERA down to 2.64. That included a seven hit, two run and 12 strikeout performance May 21 at Sacramento. He was then named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the period of June 1-7 after tossing 13 shutout innings at Salt Lake City and Iowa.
April was his only average month as the lefty’s ERA never rose above 3.60 from May to August. In total, Lyons fanned 96 and walked 13 in 94 2/3 innings, while posting a 1.24 WHIP and 3.14 ERA. He closed two games and had one shutout.
Aside from his accomplishments in Memphis, Lyons was also one of the most called-upon pitchers on the Redbirds roster to St. Louis with five call-ups). In 17 games (eight starts), Lyons finished the regular season 3-1 with a 3.75 ERA during duty with St. Louis.
Two other Memphis starters deserved additional attention in The Cardinal Nation’s Starter of the Year consideration: Greenwood and Cooney.
Greenwood led the team and the Pacific Coast League in wins (13), finishing just one win shy of Cooney’s franchise record 14 wins during 2015. On the other hand, his ERA was too high (5.79), his strikeout rate was low (4.2 per nine innings compared to Lyons’ 9.1) and he led the team in runs allowed (83).
Cooney was definitely considered for the Starter of the Year and possibly would have won it for the second consecutive season had he not suffered from appendicitis in late July. When healthy, the lefty was on fire on the mound, posting 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 14 starts.
Congratulations to the Cardinal Nation’s 2015 Memphis Redbirds Starting Pitcher of the Year, Tyler Lyons.
Link to master article with all 2015 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that includes our selections as the Memphis Redbirds Relief Pitcher and Player of the Year.
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