The Cardinal Nation April Player of the Month

Memphis utilityman Jamie Romak is our choice as the top position player across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system last month.

Welcome to our first monthly award of 2013 for St. Louis Cardinals minor league hitters. We recognize the top performer of the previous month across the system, whether top prospect or not.

Unlike the selection of the April Pitcher of the Month John Gast, the identity of the Player of Month was not immediately obvious. To assist in the choice, let's go to the numbers for a dozen hitters who appear on various system-wide leader boards.

Names are listed alphabetically by level. Category leaders are in bold. I felt it was important to list a variety of stats since different players contribute in different ways.

Curtis MEM 0.292 17 48 7 14 3 1 1 17 8 6 2 0.386 0.458 0.844
Romak MEM 0.333 22 69 16 23 8 1 5 15 15 18 0 0.459 0.696 1.154
O'Neill  SPR 0.333 24 78 18 26 3 0 0 3 21 4 3 0.475 0.372 0.847
Pham SPR 0.322 24 87 14 28 4 5 5 15 8 22 3 0.385 0.655 1.041
Scruggs SPR 0.224 22 76 10 17 3 0 7 17 11 33 1 0.330 0.539 0.869
Swauger SPR 0.272 24 81 11 22 3 0 4 20 7 21 1 0.333 0.457 0.790
Piscotty PMB 0.342 19 73 12 25 3 0 5 12 5 7 0 0.392 0.589 0.981
Ramsey PMB 0.357 16 56 16 20 4 2 1 6 11 11 1 0.486 0.554 1.039
Walsh PMB 0.295 26 105 11 31 5 2 2 18 10 26 1 0.357 0.438 0.795
Walton PEO 0.344 17 61 5 21 3 2 0 6 4 13 1 0.379 0.459 0.838
Wilson PEO 0.260 21 77 9 20 4 1 5 18 6 13 2 0.318 0.532 0.851
Wisdom PEO 0.229 21 83 17 19 5 0 6 15 9 23 1 0.304 0.506 0.810

At the far right, three of the 12 had OPS's of over 1.000. That is one bottom line indication of a strong offensive performance. The three are Memphis' Jamie Romak, Springfield's Tommy Pham and James Ramsey of Palm Beach.

Despite also leading the system in batting average and on-base percentage, Ramsey played in just 16 games before being sidelined 10 days ago with a hamstring injury. That takes him out of consideration.

Pham has overcome such injury-driven adversity that he would be a popular choice. His OPS was second among this group and his speed is evident by his system-best five triples and three stolen bases.

Coincidentally, Romak and Pham have the same home run and RBI counts, at five and 15, respectively. They also have the same number of extra-base hits at 14. However, Romak struck out less, drew almost twice as many walks, scored more runs, had a higher batting average, on-base percentage, slugging and of course, OPS.

While Pham plays a premium position defensively, centerfield, and plays it well, Romak is a baseball version of a Swiss Army knife, keeping his offensive numbers high while moving all around the diamond. The versatile utilityman started five games at first base, two at third, two in left field, 10 in right and one at designated hitter and committed just one error.

In the Pacific Coast League, Romak ranks fourth in slugging percentage, is tied for fifth in extra-base hits, is seventh in on-base percentage, and tied for 10th in doubles. On April 8 vs. New Orleans, the 27-year-old tied four others for the Memphis all-time record for most home runs in a game with three.

Taking that all into account, Jamie Romak is The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for April.

Honorable mentions

Romak, Pham and Ramsey were not the only standout hitters across the Cardinals system last month, though many of them did not have high totals across the board.

Jermaine Curtis received much attention for his initial call up to the majors. 17 RBI in 17 games for Memphis is a good indication why as well as a reminder that the infielder can produce when called upon.

Mike O'Neill was our Player of the Month in both July and August last season, an impressive performance. With him, you know what you get – a high batting average and many walks, leading to a system-high OBP, but little pop in the bat. O'Neill also crossed home most often and is adding the stolen base to his game.

Springfield teammates Xavier Scruggs (seven home runs) and outfielder Chris Swauger (20 RBI) led the system in a pair of important offensive categories. Unfortunately, the big first baseman also whiffed 33 times in 76 at-bats.

Palm Beach outfielder Stephen Piscotty was just below the top three, coming in fourth in OPS across the system while his teammate Colin Walsh and Peoria's Jacob Wilson drove in 18 runs each.

Jordan Walton compiled a .344 batting average for Peoria before going into the DL. Fellow Chief Patrick Wisdom was at the other end of the spectrum, with a low batting average, but nice power and RBI production along with a runs scored total just one short of O'Neill.

Previous winners: Click on the highlighted links to be taken to earlier articles about the monthly selections by both The Cardinal Nation and the Cardinals organization.

Player of Month   Pitcher of Month  
2013 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization The Cardinal Nation Cards organization
April  Jamie Romak   John Gast  

Coming this weekend: Our monthly update to the Cardinals prospect rankings from one through 40 along with the explanation why, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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