2013 State College Spikes Player of the Year

Former 22nd-round pick Steven Ramos is our top Cardinals hitter in the New York-Penn League.

Choosing a top hitter for the 2013 State College Spikes was no easy task.

David Washington led the New York-Penn League in runs batted in and tied for fourth in home runs. Ronald Castillo's bat made the Spikes lineup an entirely different monster as his batting average was tied for the league lead, but he missed nearly half the season due to various injuries. Meanwhile, Cesar Valera had three walk-off hits and may have been the best defensive shortstop in the league.

Despite the stellar play of Castillo, Valera and Washington, Steven Ramos is The Cardinal Nation 2013 State College Spikes Player of the Year.

Ramos was not an every day starter when the season began in June, but by early July he had cemented himself as the Spikes regular centerfielder, and before August rolled around he was leading the NY-PL in batting. The right-handed hitter finished at .341, 13 points ahead of his nearest competitor and was named a league All-Star.

The Tracy, Calif. native played in 67 games for State College and had 27 multi-hit games including seven three-hit and one four-hit game.

Despite being State College's most effective table-setter, Ramos struck out 47 times to just 15 walks, but a sizeable portion of Ramos' punchouts came over the final 11 games of the season, during which he struck out 14 times.

When Ramos was at his most effective, early to mid-August, he went from 8/1 to 8/19 without striking out twice in a contest.

The 22nd round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2010 had five hitting streaks of five games or more, including two seven-game streaks and two six-game streaks.

Of Ramos' 86 hits on the season, 12 hits were doubles, three were triples and two left the yard.

The 23-year-old also led the team with 22 stolen bases, nine more than the second biggest threat, Valera with 13, and was only caught stealing four times.

As disappointing as it was to watch Ramos struggle down the stretch, it's safe to say that the Spikes would have had a much more difficult time making the playoffs had Ramos played the majority of the season the way he did toward the end.

Stlll, as mentioned above, the month of August was Ramos' most effective period of the season. Perhaps not by coincidence, the Spikes went from being four games behind the Jamestown Jammers on Aug. 1 to being ahead of the Jammers in the division by four games by Sept. 1.

If Ramos' bat wasn't in the lineup, manager Oliver Marmol would likely have started Matthew Young in right field, rather than putting the much more effective Jimmy Bosco there. The table also may not have been set for the many of Washington's bombs, or Valera's walk-offs.

Ramos was the soul of the Spikes offensively, and played a fantastic center field as well. Even looking at all of his stats, I still find it hard to quantify just how much Ramos meant to the State College club this summer.

Ramos had an all-around great season and was the Spikes best all-around player. For that reason, he is our State College Player of the Year.

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.

Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter at @robo_tweets, and on Flickr at flickr.com/photos/robert_davidson.

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