All I can say is, "It is about time", as the 21-year-old has been the most impressive reliever in the entire St. Louis Cardinals system this season. In fact, Mulligan took home our Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month award for April and the Cardinals agreed, bestowing the same recognition on behalf of the organization upon him.
The California native continues to dominate no matter the situation. Mulligan has pitched the last two times out in non-save situations for the Midwest League Bandits. He added 1 2/3 more scoreless innings on Sunday on top of two shutout frames on Friday.
The former catcher is in just his first full season on the mound, but has converted all nine of his save opportunities and earned two wins while posting a 0.45 ERA through his first 17 appearances. That works out to just one earned run in 2009!
Perhaps even more impressive is that Mulligan did not allow a hit in 13 of those 17 outings. The hard-throwing righty with multiple arm angles has registered 36 strikeouts while allowing just eight hits and walking five in 20 innings of work this season.
Mulligan is an equal opportunity hammer as opposing hitters are struggling against him no matter which side of the plate they hit from. Lefties have a collective .120 average while right-handers have managed just a .111 batting average this season when Casey is on the hill.
Originally taken in the 22nd round of the 2006 draft, Mulligan actually pitched well at Palm Beach last season, appearing in 37 games there in addition to three games with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. His combined ERA was 3.03 as he fanned 44 and walked 18 in 38 2/3 innings in 2008.
Yet, Mulligan was assigned to a lower level, Quad Cities, to open this season. To his credit, he didn't sulk, instead taking it out on now-relieved Midwest League batters. They have to be relieved now that he has been promoted.
To assert that Mulligan is ready to return to the A-Advanced level seems so unnecessary that I am not going to say it again. His results speak for themselves.
Congratulations to Mulligan and a warning is hereby being issued to Florida State League hitters. Look out because Casey is back!
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
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