Outfielder Anthony Ray was clearly the most improved player from the start of the season to the end. The 2013 36th-rounder from a Chicago area high school was on fire for the last few weeks of the season. In his final 10 games, the 18-year-old had six multi-hit games, batted .345 and stole five of his six bases for the season. Unfortunately, he had hit next to nothing before that, finishing at .233.
Until he broke his finger at first base in early August trying to make a catch of an infielder's throw too close to the runner, Jake Stone was the team's top run producer. Even after going four for his last 28 before being shut down because of the injury, Stone led the team in extra-base hits and was second in RBI and OPS, and third in hits. But after going 3-for-4 against the Nationals on Aug. 3 with a triple and his first home run, the 22-year-old's season effectively ended.
The right-handed hitter from the Dominican led the team in total bases, was second in doubles and tied for the runs scored lead. Medina showed a very patient eye at the plate, with a team-best 19 walks against just 20 strikeouts in a GCL Cards-high 177 at-bats.
For those accomplishments, Rafael Medina is The Cardinal Nation's choice as the 2013 Gulf Coast League Cardinals Player of the Year.
Following are the 17 non-rehabbing-from-higher-levels position players that had at least 50 at-bats for the 2013 GCL Cardinals. They are listed in descending batting average order.
|GCL Cards hitters||AB||R||H||2B||3B||HR||RBI||BB||SO||SB||AVG||OBP||SLG||OPS|
Other honorable mentions
Though catchers Luis Cruz and Jose Gomez were the only .300 hitters on the club, they barely reached the 50 at-bat level. Cruz, 20, showed significantly more pop. His season started late because of a shoulder injury and ended prematurely due to a concussion, however.
Speedy shortstop Oscar Mercado, the Cards' second-round draft pick, paced the club with a dozen stolen bases in 16 tries and was second on the club with four triples. However, the 18-year-old batted just .209 overall.
Eighth-rounder Chris Rivera, another prep shortstop, hit a team-best five home runs, but limped home with a line of .195/.255/.353/.609.
In his first taste of ball in the US, 19-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Leobaldo Pina had a team-best five triples, batted a respectable .273 and committed just seven errors in 48 games. Pina tied Medina with 29 runs scored.
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 selections as the Player of the Year across all the Cardinals minor league affiliates as well as our system-wide awards.
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