Palm Beach Cardinals 2010 Starter of the Year

Kevin Thomas did not start the season in the Palm Beach rotation but established himself as one of the top pitchers in the Florida State League.

The Cardinal Nation/ Palm Beach Cardinals Pitcher of the Year did not start the season in the rotation. Kevin Thomas began 2010 in the team's bullpen before being asked to step up into the rotation.

Once he moved into a starter's role, the 2008 33rd round choice flourished. Thomas finished the season with a record of 10-2 and a 2.27 ERA. His win total was the fifth best in the Florida State League while his ERA would have been the top mark had he pitched enough innings to qualify.

Overall, Thomas tossed 107 innings while striking out 94 and walking 38. Even though he pitched more than 100 innings, the right-hander did not yield a single home run. Thomas posted a groundball-to-fly ball ratio of better than 2-to-1 while holding FSL hitters to a .238 average.

He finished with an FIP of 2.65 while giving up a .309 BABIP. Thomas struck out batters at a rate of 7.91/9 while yielding walks at a rate of 3.2/9.

During a stretch in which the Cardinals put themselves into contention in August, the former Stephen F. Austin product went 4-1 with a 1.18 ERA while striking out 36 in 38 innings. For his efforts, Thomas was named the St. Louis Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Month.

To finish the season, Thomas was promoted to bolster Springfield's playoff roster. He reportedly works his fastball at 90-92 with it reaching 94 on occasion.

Congratulations to Kevin Thomas!

Honorable Mention

It was an up-and-down year for starter Arquimedes Nieto. Among league qualifiers, he led the Cardinals with a 3.44 ERA while posting nine victories. Nieto also saw action at Double-A Springfield where the opposition knocked him around for 5.30 ERA while finishing with a 1-3 record.

On the season, the 21-year-old threw 115 innings at Palm Beach while fanning 75 and walking 39. He posted an FIP of 3.75 in 20 starts.

Deryk Hooker might have started the season at the Quad Cities but he pitched like he had been in the Florida State League before. For Palm Beach, the right-hander posted an ERA of 3.27 while striking out 39 in 41 1/3 innings.

After getting roughed up in his second outing for the Cardinals, he settled in to post a 3-1 record and a 2.48 ERA in his next five starts.

Hooker definitely saved his best for last. During his last start on September 1, the 21-year-old struck out nine and gave up only three hits in seven shutout innings. He finished the season with an FIP of 2.55 while at Palm Beach while not allowing a home run.

While seeing only limited action during his first three years in the system, Brett Zawacki threw a career high 108 innings in 2010. That workload was more than his first three season inning total combined.

The right-hander finished with a record of 7-5 and a 3.82 ERA. Zawacki posted a FIP of 3.89 and a very good BB/9 rate of 2.66.

Note: Link to article with all award winners across the system as well as 2010 team recaps, exclusively for subscribers!

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