Our choice is the only pitching award repeater this season at the same level he earned the recognition last year. Brandon Dickson is The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Memphis Redbirds Starting Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season.
One change in 2011 was that the 26-year-old showed well in major league camp this spring and made his MLB debut with St. Louis on July 2. He was asked to rejoin the Major League club in September, as well.
"The exposure in big league camp helped him a lot confidence-wise," Redbirds pitching coach Blaise Ilsley explained. "He had kind of a bumpy start then turned it on and got a shot up here (to St. Louis) mid-season."
The initial transition back into the Memphis rotation was not smooth, however.
"When he came back, he struggled initially until we got him back in his routine," Ilsley recalled. "He had a really good August."
Dickson finished very strongly as the Redbirds chased Omaha in the Pacific Coast League American North Division. He went 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in six August starts. Dickson's strikeout to walk ratio was 33 to 5.
His pitching coach respects what Dickson brings to the table.
"He is a solid individual," Ilsley said. "He doesn't have overwhelming stuff. He throws strikes and has movement on his pitches. He was a very solid starter for us."
In his 25 starts for Memphis, Dickson was the staff workhorse, logging a team-high 157 1/3 innings pitched. Though he only won eight games, he often lacked offensive support as evidenced by his solid ERA of 3.95. Dickson struck out a Memphis-best 124. He kept runners of the bases as evidenced by his WHIP of 1.28, lowest among Redbirds starters by a considerable margin.
For his solid work in Memphis' rotation, Dickson receives our recognition as The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Memphis Redbirds Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2011.
The group pitched well overall, as the Memphis staff took the Pacific Coast League ERA title.
At just 22 years of age and possessing an explosive fastball, Maikel Cleto may have the highest ceiling of any Redbirds starter. In a weird season, he actually leapt over Memphis the first time, joining the team only after being sent down from St. Louis. In 13 Triple-A starts, Cleto struck out 66 but walked 43 in 71 1/3 innings. His ERA was 4.29.
Lance Lynn was the organization's Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and finished the regular season on St. Louis' 60-day disabled list before his surprise NLCS activation. In between, he solidified his major league future, pitching well out of the Cardinals bullpen after a dozen starts for the Redbirds. With Memphis, Lynn picked up seven wins, just one off the team lead, while posting a 3.84 ERA and fanning 64 in 75 innings.
Lefty Nick Additon spilt his time between Springfield and Memphis and posted a decent 4.48 ERA in 16 starts with the Redbirds. The 23-year-old fanned 74 but walked 36 in 90 1/3 innings while in a starting role.
Veteran Adam Ottavino pitched well in stretches, but overall, posted a 4.85 ERA in his 26 appearances.
After making 17 starts for the Redbirds this season and a total of 78 over the last four seasons, P.J. Walters was traded to Toronto in the Colby Rasmus deal. He logged a 4.27 ERA in 2011 while with Memphis.
After pitching the Arizona Fall League last year, Brian Broderick was selected by the Washington Nationals in the Rule 5 draft. He made the MLB club to open the season, but after being returned to the Cardinals organization, the right-hander soon moved into the rotation. Broderick had a 5.40 ERA in 15 starts.
Note: Link to article with links to all articles about previous award winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming announcements as well as 2011 team recaps, much of it exclusively for The Cardinal Nation subscribers.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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