The Cardinal Nation August Pitcher of Month

Palm Beach right-hander Joey Cuda is our choice as the top pitching performer across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system last month.

Looking at the top results of St. Louis Cardinals minor league starting pitchers in the month of August could lead to a summary of "Palm Beach and everyone else."

Of the nine starters system-wide who threw at least 15 innings logged ERAs below 2.00 during the month, four of them are from the A-Advanced Cardinals. A fifth fell just two innings short of qualification.

Just one of the nine had an ERA under 1.00, however. This made the process of selecting The Cardinal Nation's Pitcher of the Month for August fairly straightforward.

Joey Cuda PB 0.79 22.2 2 4 17 18 0 4 0.95
Ian McKinney GCL 1.00 18.0 2 3 11 16 0 8 1.06
Nick Petree SC 1.19 22.2 3 3 16 14 1 4 0.90
Kurt Heyer PB 1.47 30.2 5 7 23 17 1 6 0.96
Marco Gonzales PB 1.62 16.2 3 3 10 13 1 5 0.93
Arturo Reyes SC 1.73 26.0 5 8 22 18 1 9 1.19
Ramon Santos DSL  1.74 20.2 4 7 15 18 1 2 0.84
Michael Holback JC 1.80 15.0 3 4 11 23 0 6 1.13
Ryan Sherriff PB 1.87 33.2 7 8 23 14 2 3 0.78

The August winner is Palm Beach right-hander Joey Cuda.

The 23-year-old has only made seven starts in the Florida State League since his late-July promotion from Peoria, but did not take long to get acclimated. Across his five August outings, Cuda yielded no runs in four, for a 0.79 ERA. He allowed less than one baserunner per inning and forged a stellar 18-to-4 strikeout to walk count in 22 2/3 frames.

Among the honorable mentions are Cuda's Palm Beach rotation-mates - Kurt Heyer, Marco Gonzales and Ryan Sherriff. Though his total innings fell short, Sam Gaviglio's numbers were also eye-popping in his two FSL starts since coming off the disabled list.

Each of the Cardinals four short-season clubs are represented by the other five starting pitchers above.

Perhaps the most impressive is the 1.00 August ERA logged by lefty Ian McKinney of the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. Pitching for a Florida high school just three months ago, the fifth-round draft pick will be heading to the instructional league this fall.

Other standouts include 2013 draftees Nick Petree (9th) and Arturo Reyes (40th) at State College, Michael Holback (25th) from Johnson City and Ramon Santos from the Dominican Summer League.

Congratulations to Joey Cuda, The Cardinal Nation/ August Pitcher of the Month.

Other honorable mentions

The exceptionally high bar of a 2.00 ERA or better left behind a number of sub-3.00 ERA starters who would normally be right in the mix. They include Springfield's Jonathan Cornelius and Will Anderson of Johnson City at 2.16; Blake McKnight (2.43) and Dailyn Martinez (2.76), also from JC; Kevin Herget (2.36), Willy Paulino (2.39) and Jimmy Reed (2.55) at State College, and Silfredo Garcia (2.61) and Chris Perry (2.89) from Peoria, among others.

The relievers

Bullpenners should always be properly recognized in these awards. In August alone, eight relievers threw at least ten innings with an ERA under 1.00.

Two were almost perfect, not allowing an earned run. Johnson City's Fernando Baez may appear on Cardinals prospect lists this fall and submariner Dixon Llorens of Peoria has been a standout all summer long.

Baez' teammates Norge Paredes and Brandon Lee also made the top eight, along with Jacob Booden and Andrew Pierce of State College, Jay Voss of Peoria and Palm Beach's Ronnie Shaban.

Their stats follow.

Fernando Baez JC 0.00 14.2 0 0 3 19 0 9 0.85
Dixon Llorens Peo 0.00 14.0 0 0 6 21 0 4 0.71
Jacob Booden SC 0.64 14.0 1 1 12 20 0 5 1.21
Andrew Pierce SC 0.64 14.0 1 2 11 9 0 1 0.86
Norge Paredes JC 0.68 13.1 1 2 10 13 1 10 1.53
Brandon Lee JC 0.79 11.1 1 3 8 6 0 4 1.08
Jay Voss Peo 0.82 11.0 1 1 8 10 0 5 1.18
Ronnie Shaban PB 0.90 10.0 1 2 6 7 0 3 0.90

Other stingy relievers in August (ERA's between 1.00 and 2.00) include Keith Butler and Lee Stoppelman of Memphis, Springfield's Dean Kiekhefer, Brady Adamek and Joey Donofrio of Peoria, Victor DeLeon and Mitch Harris of State College and Johnson City's Anderson Gerdel.

How did July's top pitcher fare in August?

The Cardinal Nation and the St. Louis Cardinals organization agreed that left-hander Tyler Lyons was the system's top hurler in July. The 25-year-old had an uneven August, however.

Sandwiched around a stint with St. Louis, Lyons made three appearances for Memphis, logging a 5.40 ERA. With the Cardinals, he fared better. In seven innings, Lyons allowed four runs, but just one earned. Temporarily assigned to Springfield, the former Oklahoma State star should be back with St. Louis for the remainder of the season.

Prior winners

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

  Player of Month   Pitcher of Month  
2013 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization The Cardinal Nation Cards organization
April  Jamie Romak Tommy Pham John Gast John Gast
May Kolten Wong Kolten Wong Kevin Siegrist Kevin Siegrist
June Anthony Garcia Anthony Garcia Carlos Martinez Carlos Martinez
July Jonathan Rodriguez Jonathan Rodriguez Tyler Lyons Tyler Lyons
Aug Greg Garcia   Joey Cuda  

Up next

Our final monthly in-season update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings is coming next, 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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