Rate stats on lower number of at-bats or counting stats with more at-bats?
When considering players for these monthly awards, there is not always a clear answer where to draw the line. After all, players can only play when their managers put them into the lineup. On the other hand, is it fair to consider equally a player with only 40 at-bats to another with three times as many?
So it went with the selection of the May Player of the Month here at The Cardinal Nation. Two players at the top of the batting average and OPS lists fall into that gray area.
Called up to Palm Beach from extended spring training on May 20, Luke Voit was a bolt of lightning to the A-Advanced Cardinals offense. Yet the slugger accrued just 43 at-bats in his 11 days active.
My conclusion is to give the two, Pham and Voit, the most honorable of mentions up front, but wait to see how they do with 80-100 at-bats in June.
When taking production into account, another player stands out. His at-bat total was in the middle of the group at 81, as he was in the minors only from May 9 through May 30.
My choice of TCN's May Player of the Month made the most of his plate appearances, batting over .300 with an OPS over 1.000. Despite that somewhat modest total of 81 at-bats, he delivered in counting stats - leading the system in home runs by a considerable margin, tying for most runs scored and seventh in RBI.
The winner is outfielder Randal Grichuk, then with Memphis and now with St. Louis.
The 22-year-old was The Cardinal Nation's 10th-ranked prospect coming into 2014, his first season as a Cardinal. When he left Memphis, the right-handed hitter was fifth in the Pacific Coast League for the season in slugging percentage at .589.
Let's go to the numbers. We start with all 12 .300 hitters and those eight with .900 or higher OPSses during May.
|Tommy Pham||Mem||0.396||0.457||48||Tommy Pham||Mem||1.171|
|Shane Robinson||Mem||0.373||0.407||59||Luke Voit||PB||1.100|
|Luke Voit||PB||0.372||0.400||43||James Ramsey||Spr||1.042|
|Cody Stanley||Spr||0.364||0.394||88||Randal Grichuk||Mem||1.029|
|Breyvic Valera||PB||0.361||0.368||119||Jacob Wilson||Spr||0.978|
|Kolten Wong||Mem||0.353||0.348||51||Cody Stanley||Spr||0.969|
|Jacob Wilson||Spr||0.337||0.351||86||Anthony Garcia||PB||0.935|
|Charlie Tilson||PB||0.333||0.415||81||Kolten Wong||Mem||0.910|
Along with Pham, Voit and Grichuk, several others are on both lists. They include TCN's April Player of the Month James Ramsey, who continued strongly, but was limited to 55 May at-bats with Springfield due to injury.
Other notables include Ramsey's teammates Cody Stanley and Jacob Wilson plus temporary MLB refugee Kolten Wong.
|Randal Grichuk||Mem||7||Oscar Taveras||Mem||23|
|James Ramsey||Spr||5||Patrick Wisdom||Spr||22|
|Patrick Wisdom||Spr||5||David Washington||PB||17|
|Cody Stanley||Spr||4||Breyvic Valera||PB||17|
|Mason Katz||Peo||4||Stephen Piscotty||Mem||16|
As we move to home runs, Springfield is again well-represented among those who hit at least one per week, but Grichuk stands head and shoulders above them.
Ramsey's five homers in 55 at-bats was interesting. Oscar Taveras' impressive RBI count offers a good reminder why he and Grichuk are now with St. Louis.
Though Patrick Wisdom may never be a high-average hitter, his production totals in May were notable. Stephen Piscotty has had a relatively quiet Triple-A introduction, but is among the RBI and scoring leaders. Speaking of which…
|Randal Grichuk||Mem||18||Juan Herrera||Peo||14|
|Rafael Ortega||Spr||18||Breyvic Valera||PB||6|
|Juan Herrera||Peo||17||Rafael Ortega||Spr||5|
|Breyvic Valera||PB||16||Kolten Wong||Mem||5|
|Stephen Piscotty||Mem||16||C.J. McElroy||Peo||5|
|Oscar Taveras||Mem||15||Matt Williams||Spr||4|
|Cody Stanley||Spr||15||Greg Miclat||Spr||4|
Here is where things get interesting. A couple of off-the-radar names in Rafael Ortega and Juan Herrera are prominent among both the runs scored and stolen base lists. Peoria's Herrera's steal total of 14 more than doubled the next closest.
I am perhaps guilty at times of writing off Breyvic Valera as a batting average-only kind of player. That would be very unfair, especially in May. The Palm Beach second baseman not only batted .361, he took action on the bases. Valera was second in steals, tied for fourth in runs scored and perhaps most impressively, tied for third in RBI. In other words, it was a very balanced performance.
All things considered, had Grichuk not been my selection, I think I would have given the May nod to Valera, from among this very diverse group of candidates.
2014 monthly award winners
|Pitcher of Month||Pitcher of Month||Starter of Month||Reliever of Month|
|2014||The Cardinal Nation||Cards organization||The Cardinal Nation||The Cardinal Nation||2014|
|April||Tim Cooney||Nick Petree||Justin Wright||April|
|Player of Month|
|2014||The Cardinal Nation||Cards organization||2014|
|April||James Ramsey||Jonathan Rodriguez||April|
Update: On Tuesday afternoon, the Cardinals organization also named Grichuk its Player of the Month.
Coming soonOur second monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings is coming Wednesday, exclusively for TCN subscribers.
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