Marmol tops in Cardinals player development

State College Spikes manager Oliver Marmol received the George Kissell Award for excellence in player development in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Every March, the St. Louis Cardinals make a series of special announcements at the organization's minor league spring training orientation meeting as camp opens in Jupiter, Florida.

(Field coordinator Mark DeJohn addresses the group.)

Most were already known, such as the organization's Pitcher and Player of the Year, Zach Petrick and Kolten Wong, respectively. Still, there had to be tremendous pride in receiving the recognition in front of over 175 peers as well as coaches and staff.

In fact, among those in the latter category who spoke to the collected players at the noon Thursday meeting were general manager John Mozeliak and special instructor Willie McGee.

Other awards given were to each league all-star from across the system last summer. That list is included at the bottom of this page.

The winner

The one piece of very important recognition that was secret until today is the winner of the George Kissell Award for excellence in player development across the Cardinals organization.

The selection for 2013 is State College Spikes manager Oliver Marmol, who in his first year in the job led his New York-Penn League squad to one win away from the league title.

Perhaps the selection should not be a surprise, as The Cardinal Nation named Marmol our system-wide Manager of the Year last fall.

Under Marmol (center) and his staff - pitching coach Dernier Orozco and hitting coach Ramon Ortiz - the Spikes won their division, reaching the NYPL post-season for the first time in the franchise's eight-year history. The club's 48-27 record and .640 winning percentage topped the short-season Class-A league.

The 2013 Spikes became known for playing exciting baseball, logging eight walkoff wins. Though State College dropped the final two games of the Championship Series at home, both contests were decided by a single run. Attendance was up almost 10 percent over 2012.

Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque likes what he has in Marmol.

"With Oli's leadership, in returning back to State College – we were very successful – especially from a development standpoint," the farm director said.

And player development is what it is all about. The bi-lingual Marmol is busy almost year-round, also serving as skipper of the Cardinals extended spring training and fall instructional league clubs. His 2013 Spikes roster included five NYPL all-stars, including league batting champion Steven Ramos.

The recognition

The Kissell Award is the top recognition any member of the player development organization could receive and remains an annual reminder of the importance of George Kissell to generations of Cardinals.

the late George Kissell
Kissell essentially wrote the book that defines "The Cardinal Way" as a player, manager and teaching leader of the organization from 1940 until he passed away in the fall of 2008 due to injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

The Cardinals recognized Kissell's importance long before his untimely passing, first establishing the Award in 1995 to recognize a member of the organizational staff for excellence in player development. Not surprisingly, Kissell himself received the first Award.

The winner is chosen through voting by the Cardinals minor league field staff, with the peer recognition making it all the more meaningful.

Congratulations to the George Kissell Award winner for 2013, Oliver Marmol.

George Kissell Award winners

2013 Oliver Marmol State College (SS-A) manager
2012 Bryan Eversgerd Springfield (AA) pitching coach
2011 Steve Turco Gulf Coast League (SS-R) manager
2010 Mike Shildt Johnson City (SS-R) manager
2009 Chris Maloney Memphis (AAA) manager
2008 Mark DeJohn Batavia (SS-A) manager
2007 Dan Radison Minor league hitting instructor
2006 Chris Maloney Springfield (AA) manager
2005 Ron "Pop" Warner Palm Beach (A-Adv) manager
2004 Blaise Ilsley Tennessee (AA) pitching coach
2003 Mark DeJohn Tennessee (AA) manager
2002 Danny Sheaffer Peoria (A) manager
2001 Dyar Miller Memphis (AAA) pitching coach
2000 Gaylen Pitts Memphis (AAA) manager
1999 Mark Riggins Minor league pitching coordinator
1998 Joe Pettini Minor league field coordinator
1997 Mark O'Neal Memphis (AAA) athletic trainer
1996 Bo Milliken Minor league pitching instructor
1995 George Kissell Senior field coordinator

2013 St. Louis Cardinals minor league all-stars

Futures Game (2)    
USA Kolten Wong  
World Oscar Taveras I  
Memphis (3) Mid-season Post-season
Pitcher Michael Wacha  
Position Player Brock Peterson S Brock Peterson
Springfield (11)    
Pitcher Keith Butler P  
  Deryk Hooker P  
  Kevin Thomas  
  Tim Cooney A  
  Heath Wyatt A  
Position Player Tommy Pham P Ruben Gotay
  Mike O'Neill S I Mike O'Neill 
  Ruben Gotay S  
  Chris Swauger A S  
Palm Beach (6)    
Pitcher Ronnie Shaban A Ronnie Shaban
Position Player Jonathan Rodriguez Jonathan Rodriguez
  Stephen Piscotty David Popkins
Peoria (6)    
Pitcher Tyrell Jenkins none
  Kurt Heyer P  
  Zach Petrick P  
  Corey Baker P  
Position Player Breyvic Valera  
  Jacob Wilson I  
State College (5)    
Pitcher none  
Position Player David Washington S  
  Cesar Valera  
  Steven Ramos S  
  Ronald Castillo S  
  Jimmy Bosco  
Johnson City (3)    
Pitcher none  
Position Player Rowan Wick  
  Kenny Peoples-Walls  
  Vaughn Bryan  
GCL (0)    
Pitcher none  
Position Player none  
DSL (2)    
Pitcher Frederis Parra  
Position Player Edmundo Sosa  
I = injured    
A = added to team    
S = All-star starter    
P = promoted     

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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