The Cardinal Nation May Pitcher of the Month

Kevin Siegrist is our choice as the top pitching performer across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system last month.

It would have been easy to single out the top pitching prospect in the system closest to the majors and give him this month's recognition as The Cardinal Nation's top individual mound performance across the St. Louis Cardinals system.

After all, that formula worked pretty well in April with John Gast riding his 0.00 ERA for Memphis into a big league rotation spot.

Following that model, right-hander Michael Wacha could have been our May winner, with a 2.28 ERA in four Triple-A starts prior to his arrival in St. Louis. Yet, his fly out versus ground out rate of over 2:1 caused pause.

Maybe we should look around the system a bit.

Celebrating his 25th birthday this week, left-hander Jonathan Cornelius was gifted with a promotion to Double-A Springfield for his fine work at Palm Beach. The left-hander yielded just two earned runs in 26 1/3 May innings (0.68 ERA), though his strikeouts were low at 11.

In his second season in the Midwest League, former first-round draft pick Tyrell Jenkins is showing more consistency. The right-hander posted a 2.03 ERA in May, but also issued a dozen free passes in 31 innings.

The unheralded, the relievers, usually have to take a back seat to the starters in this monthly award process. However, in May, at least three bullpenners pitched so well they have to be noticed.

On the final day of the month, Jenkins' Peoria teammate, Zach Petrick, earned a promotion to the next level, A-Advanced Palm Beach. The 23-year-old right-hander had not allowed an earned run in the MWL all month. Petrick gave up eight hits and fanned 21 in 15 1/3 Midwest League innings.

A pair of other relievers began and ended the month together – at a different level from where they started. Right-hander Michael Blazek and left-hander Kevin Siegrist opened April in Springfield's bullpen and found themselves in Memphis by month-end.

Blazek made his move via St. Louis, though the 24-year-old did not pitch in the bigs during his brief stay of four days there. Between Springfield and Memphis, Blazek yielded just one earned run in 11 2/3 innings while crafting a strikeout to walk count of 18:4.

Siegrist did even better, not yielding a run all month, like Petrick. The 23-year-old allowed a very stingy four hits in his 12 2/3 innings and struck out 20 opposing hitters. He accomplished this while seamlessly handling his first-ever move up to Triple-A. Siegrist pitched in five May games for Springfield and three for Memphis.

If Siegrist can continue this level of performance, we could be seeing the left-hander in St. Louis soon enough. Taking this all into account, we are pleased to name Kevin Siegrist as The Cardinal Nation Pitcher of the Month for May.

Here are the six aforementioned players' key stats for the month. Any of them would have been a worthy winner.

Wacha  Mem 1 0 2.28 4 4 0 23 16 6 6 2 4 19 0.42 0.190
Siegrist Sp-Mem 1 0 0.00 8 0 0 12.2 4 1 0 0 6 20   0.095
Blazek Sp-Mem 0 0 0.80 9 0 3 11.2 5 1 1 0 4 18   0.128
Cornelius PB 2 1 0.68 4 4 0 26.1 15 4 2 0 3 11 1.46 0.170
Petrick Peo 0 0 0.00 9 0 4 15.1 8 1 0 0 3 21 1.36 0.145
Jenkins Peo 4 1 2.03 5 5 0 31.0 24 9 7 2 12 20 1.69 0.211

2013 winners: The table below shows the monthly winners from earlier this season, both from The Cardinal Nation and the Cardinals organization. (Click on the players' names to be taken to the related articles.)

  Player of Month   Pitcher of Month  
2013 The Cardinal Nation Cardinals organization The Cardinal Nation Cardinals organization
April  Jamie Romak Tommy Pham John Gast John Gast
May Kolten Wong Kolten Wong Kevin Siegrist Kevin Siegrist

How did last month's selection do?

As I noted above, John Gast parlayed his April Memphis success into everyone's end objective, a spot with St. Louis. However, his time in the big-league rotation did not last long, 12 1/3 innings to be exact, before the injury big bit.

With the Cardinals, Gast went 2-0 with a 5.11 ERA prior to being placed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain that has him out indefinitely. The 24-year-old had been the unanimous April Pitcher of the Month Award winner from both the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation.

Monday afternoon update:

Siegrist also received the Cardinals organization official designation as their Pitcher of the Month for May.

Up next: Our monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings is coming this week, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

Not yet a subscriber?: Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Take advantage of our seven-day free trial.

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

© 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories