One of six Demon Deacons drafted to play professional ball in 2012, starting pitcher Tim Cooney may soon find himself on the fast track to the big leagues.
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Cooney, a former third round pick, as their Pitcher of the Month for April. In five starts with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, he went 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA. He struck out 28 batters while issuing just eight walks in 30.2 innings.
Back in November, Baseball America ranked the southpaw as the organization's sixth-best prospect, a jump of 19 spots from the previous season. The website also cited him as having the best control of any Cardinals' minor league pitcher.
During the 2013 season Cooney made 20 starts with Double-A Springfield, and despite posting a 7-10 record, he recorded 125 strikeouts compared to just 18 walks.
The Cardinals view Cooney as a possible call up if one of their current starters is injured. They invited him to spring training at the beginning of the season, but he did not fare well. He was cut in mid-March after yielding a 13.50 ERA in just six innings pitched. Opposing batters hit .333 against him.
Cooney left Wake Forest after his junior year, but had his best season as a Demon Deacon as a sophomore. He earned second team All-ACC honors after going 6-1 in conference play with a 2.61 ERA. His final start in a Wake Forest uniform came during the 2012 ACC Baseball Championship, when he struck out 10 Tarheels.
He was selected 117th overall in the 2012 MLB Draft, just two spots behind outfielder and San Francisco Giants prospect Mac Williamson. They were the first pair of Demon Deacon teammates picked in the top three rounds since Kyle Sleeth and Jaime D'Antona in 2003.