2013 Palm Beach Cardinals Starter of the Year

In an unusual occurrence, our top Cardinals pitcher at the A-Advanced level repeated from 2012.

Last season, it was easy.

Left-hander Ryan Sherriff dominated the Florida State League to the tune of a 10-3 record and a 3.25 ERA in 16 starts for the 2012 Palm Beach Cardinals.

However, 2013 wasn't as kind for the Beach Birds as they only saw one hurler (Kyle Hald) start more than 16 contests.

The number of starts skewed the process of selecting The Cardinal Nation Palm Beach Starting Pitcher of the Year. With small sample sizes from three strong candidates, it was difficult to name Sam Gaviglio, Joey Cuda or Zach Petrick as the honoree.

Gaviglio recorded a 4-1 win-loss mark, but in seven starts, posted the highest ERA (2.72) of the group. Cuda dominated in his seven starts, going a perfect 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA. He struck out 29 batters in 38 2/3 innings, and received heavy consideration for the award. While Cuda carried the Beach Birds down the stretch, he spent a little over a month with the squad and therefore, was eliminated from contention.

Petrick was easily the best of the three. The righty went 3-0 with a 0.27 ERA. He struck out 32 in 33 1/3 innings and ascended to Double-A Springfield by mid-July.

The numbers were solid for all three but with less than ten starts each, it was hard to select them over guys who pitched more significant innings. So, the attention turns to four other candidates.

First, we will eliminate left-handers Hald and Tyler Melling. The two had ERAs over 4.00, Hald posted a 4.24 ERA in 136 1/2 innings, while Melling recorded a 4.93 ERA in 73 innings.

Finally, remaining are the two most deserving candidates, right-hander Kurt Heyer and Sherriff. Heyer was great, recording a 6-5 record with a 3.42 ERA. He made 14 starts, tallying a team-high six wins and logging in the second-most innings (84 1/3).

Heyer was dependable and great down the stretch, but if you come within outs of a no-hitter, you have to win the Pitcher of the Year award.

So, for the second straight season, Sherriff takes the honor. The left-hander went 4-4, winning six less and losing one more game than a season ago, but he recorded a 2.31 ERA in 13 starts.

Sherriff's last ten starts were even more impressive as he went 3-3 with 2.00 ERA. On August 3rd, he came within two outs of no-hitting the Dunedin Blue Jays. Despite missing the no-hit bid, he recorded his first professional nine-inning complete game shutout.

With all the information, the choice was easy. Sherriff is the back-to-back winner of The Cardinal Nation Pitcher of the Year award for the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Link to master article with all 2013 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that will include our selection as the Palm Beach Cardinals Player of the Year.

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