Eureka! The Memphis Redbirds Have Been a Major League Team All Along

The Cardinal farm system is home to a ton of exciting youth. Some young guns have already made an impact this season and are key components to St. Louis’ second half playoff push. This is part one of a two part series where I will highlight the players who have made MLB debuts this year for St. Louis. This installment will focus on position players, with pitchers to come later.

All stats as of 8/30/18

Yairo Muñoz

Photo via Cardsblog

MLB Debut: March 29, 2018

Last December, the Cardinals acquired Muñoz from the A’s, along with Max Schrock (currently the 11th prospect in the Cardinal system), for Stephen Piscotty. The trade was executed to allow Piscotty to be closer to his ailing mother.

Yairo is a defensive jack of all trades as he has logged playing time at positions 4-9 in the field, During this defensive carousel of a season, Muñoz has spent the most time at SS. A significant portion of his appearances there occurred during the stint where Paul DeJong was on the DL for a hand injury. Yairo struggled on defense early on, but has come a long way. While the DRS metric is unfavorable for him – he is flat to negative at all positions – he has settled in and has only committed 1 error since the end of June in 297 innings of work. He doesn’t appear to have the range of an elite defender, but his strong arm allows for him to partially make up for his limited mobility.   

At the plate, Muñoz started off slow, but has proven to be a solid late in the lineup hitter. He is slashing .275/.341/.414 while doing most of his damage in the 7th slot, where he has 12 RBIs and half of his 6 home runs. His versatility and consistency has been huge for the Cardinals this year as they have battled through some serious struggles.

MORE: Cardinals acquire Matt Adams from Nationals, bolster roster for playoff push

Tyler O’Neill 

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MLB Debut: April 19th, 2018 

Tyler O’Neill joined the Cardinal program in July of 2017 via a swap with the Mariners, where the Cardinals sent Marco Gonzalez to the Northwest. Before recently becoming a mainstay in the Cardinal lineup, O’Neill blistered the Pacific Coast League with 26 hr in 64 games. This helped him earn a startling OPS of 1.078 at AAA Memphis.

The injuries to Dexter Fowler and Marcell Ozuna have opened up some playing time in the previously congested Cardinal outfield. Tyler has made the most of his time in the bigs with impressive power and defense. His main downfall at the plate is his feast or famine approach, where he essentially strikes out if he doesn’t smash a homer. He currently strikes out around 40% of the time. That is an area I am sure that he could grow in; if not, the Cardinals will have to make a decision on if his power is worth all the whiffs (yes it is).

In his 37 games and 100 PA, O’Neill is slashing .269/.300/.527 with a wRC+ of 118. He has amassed 7 home runs and 17 RBIs during this short time. If you are a Cardinal fan, it is really hard to not get excited about the youthful combination of Harrison Bader and O’Neill as the backbone for the future of the outfield. The combination of speed and power between the two make for an exciting duo.

Fun fact: Tyler’s father was a Mr. Canada body builder in the 70’s. That apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Speaking of trees, his forearms are bigger than most. I would give them a Matt Holliday comp easily.  

MORE: Mike Matheny out as manager of St. Louis Cardinals; the end of an era.

Adolis Garcia

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MLB Debut:  August 8th, 2018

This speedy Cuban outfielder was signed by the Cardinals in early 2017. He has a solid arm and decent power that he has shown at the AAA level.

This Cardinals prospect started off the season ranked in the top 15 in the org by some blogs, but is currently not listed in the top 30 prospects by rankings.

He has played a few games in St. Louis this month due to the aforementioned injuries, but has yet to earn consistent playing time. 

This season he played 112 games at AAA Memphis, helping to lead them to their second PCL championship in a row. He hit .256/.281/.500 with 22 home runs and 71 RBIs in Memphis and owns a wRC+ of only 95. On the bright side, Garcia’s ISO is .244 and he is hitting a much higher percentage of fly balls than last year, currently sitting at a GB/FB ratio of .69.   

It remains to be seen if Garcia will be the third wheel in this already exciting young outfield. He certainly has the raw tools for the job, but will he be able to capitalize on the short windows of opportunity?

Patrick Wisdom

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MLB Debut: August 12, 2018

Patrick Wisdom has been a diligent minor league player ever since the Cardinals drafted him in 2012. He has climbed the baseball ladder one painful rung at a time. Wisdom has been playing AAA in Memphis ever since 2016. Over the three seasons there, he improved his batting average by over 50 points and in 2017 smashed 31 home runs. During his 2018 campaign in Memphis, Wisdom put forward his best foot, slashing .288/.363/.480.

In his limited time in St. Louis, he has amassed 4 hits, including 2 that he earned in his first appearance. Later in the month he even smashed his first major league home run.

With Jedd Gyorko on the DL short term, Wisdom might get to see the field a little more in St. Louis. He clearly has a very capable arm and could log some reps late in games that are run aways in order to keep Matt Carpenter fresh for the long month of September.


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{Header Image: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images}

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