The Cardinal Nation June Pitcher of the Month

After a troublesome beginning to 2011, Memphis' P.J. Walters found his groove during the month of June.

It has been a rough 2011 for P.J. Walters. The right-hander failed to crack the Top 20 in The Cardinal Nation prospect rankings after being a staple in previous years. In fact, Walters did not make this author's top 40. The 26-year-old was optioned out of major league spring training after having made it through only one round of cuts. At the end of May, he was outrighted and removed from the 40-man roster. After the first two months of the season, Walters had an ERA over five and a sub-.500 record.


Then, it changed. The old Walters returned. In June, he has been a steady force on the mound at Memphis. During the month, he has a record of 4-1 with an ERA of 2.10. In his five starts, Walters averaged almost seven innings per outing and completed his first game of the season. The 2006 draft pick has averaged almost a strikeout an inning while posting a strikeout to walk rate of 34-to-8. After allowing six home runs in May, Walters has seen only one of his pitches fly over the wall in June.

On June 11, Walters reached double digits in strikeouts in a seven-inning win over New Orleans. He followed that up with a nine strikeout affair again against New Orleans.

His complete game occurred in his only loss of the month. On June 27, he went six innings (seven-inning game) allowing only two runs. Unfortunately, his teammates could manage only one run on the road at Oklahoma City.

For his efforts, I congratulate P.J. Walters for being the Cardinal Nation Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June.

Honorable Mention

Brandon Dickson went 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA for Memphis. In 37.2 innings, "Cotton" has 25 strikeouts while walking only four. It is being rumored that the long, lanky right-hander will be called up to St. Louis to replace Ryan Franklin.

The Cardinals' number one prospect just continues to produce. Since being promoted to Double-A, Shelby Miller has a record of 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA. In 32 innings, he has racked up 33 strikeouts while allowing only eight free passes. The Texan has allowed only 26 hits while allowing a .224 batting average against for Springfield.

The "Phenom" Carlos Martinez has nothing but impressed since joining Quad Cities. The 19-year-old is 2-0 with 22 strikeouts in 17 June innings. Totally dominant with a 0.53 ERA and a .172 batting average against, Martinez will make his next appearance at Palm Beach.

To limit his innings, Jordan Swagerty has moved from the Palm Beach rotation to the bullpen. Before his move, Swagerty was one of the best starters in the system. The former Arizona State Sun Devil went 1-1 with a miniscule ERA in four appearances including three starts. In 17.2 innings, he has 16 strikeouts while walking only two. In his first relief job, he struck out two in a shutout inning.

Boone Whiting moved from the Quad Cities bullpen this month and has shown that he belongs in the rotation. The 21-year-old has racked up 28 strikeouts while walking only four in 25 innings. He has allowed an ERA of 2.88 while holding the opposition to a .163 average.

Zack Russell struggled during the first part of the season but seems to have righted the ship. The right-hander posted a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 1.57 with Quad Cities. In 23 innings, he has 21 strikeouts while walking 10.

In three starts, Pat Daugherty has 14 strikeouts in 11 innings at Batavia. He has a record of 1-1 with an ERA of 1.64 with a .250 batting average against.

Previous 2011 winners

Player of Month   Pitcher of Month  
2011 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization The Cardinal Nation Cards organization
April  Alex Castellanos Ryan Jackson Jordan Swagerty Swagerty
May Andrew Brown Brown Shelby Miller Kevin Thomas
June P.J. Walters  

Coming Friday: The Cardinal Nation June Player of the Month will be highlighted here. The Cardinals organization selections for their top June pitcher and player will soon be announced as well.

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