The Cardinal Nation July Starter of the Month

Sam Gaviglio of the Springfield Cardinals is The Cardinal Nation’s top starting pitcher during July.

Ideally, The Cardinal Nation announces our Players and Pitchers of the Month ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. That way, I can do my own independent analysis and am not encumbered by the knowledge of the Cardinals’ choice.

That did not happen with the top pitcher this month. On Sunday, the Cardinals bestowed their July honor on the Memphis Redbirds’ Tim Cooney. As a result, as I do my review of the numbers, Cooney will be the man to beat – or to try to beat.

A month after eight starting pitchers across the system with 20 innings pitched or more had ERAs under 2.00, just four pitchers accomplished that during July. Cooney was one of them, but only third-best behind Springfield’s Sam Gaviglio and Frederis Parra of the Gulf Coast League Cards. Cooney’s teammate Boone Whiting was the fourth, with an almost identical ERA.

The eight other starters with ERAs between 2.00 and 3.00 are also listed below. These were the top 12 of 33 qualifying pitchers in July.

Sam Gaviglio SPR 23.7 4 7 24 23 4 1.207 1.52
Frederis Parra GCL 24.0 5 6 18 17 6 1.000 1.88
Tim Cooney MEM 27.7 6 8 24 24 5 1.066 1.95
Boone Whiting MEM 23.0 5 5 15 26 9 1.043 1.96
Rob Kaminsky PEO 22.0 5 5 14 8 11 1.136 2.05
Oneiver Diaz DSL 21.0 5 7 19 10 3 1.048 2.14
Juan Perez JC 24.0 6 12 17 23 11 1.167 2.25
Chase Brookshire PEO 30.7 8 14 32 17 5 1.225 2.35
Jimmy Reed PB-SPR 34.3 9 9 34 19 2 1.056 2.36
John Gast MEM 32.7 9 9 18 20 8 0.807 2.48
Tyler Lyons MEM 27.0 8 9 26 20 3 1.074 2.67
Ian McKinney SC 32.3 10 10 30 27 7 1.153 2.78

Strikeouts and walks are the next measurements to be considered. Only seven qualifying starters had more than eight strikeouts per nine innings. Youngster Alex Reyes is on top, but his walk rate is also highest among all starters by a considerable amount, an unhealthy 6.6 per nine innings.

On the strikeout rate list, Reyes is followed by two Dominican Summer Leaguers, Derian Gonzalez and David Oca. Whiting is back as is Gaviglio.

In a strong showing, 10 starters walked fewer than 1.5 batters per nine innings. Jimmy Reed, promoted to Springfield during the month, is head and shoulders above the competition. Our ERA leader Gaviglio made the top 10, but Cooney did not.

When combining the two, Reed’s strikeout to walk ratio of 9.5-to-1 again leads the top nine, all with ratios of 4-to-1 or better. Gaviglio is fifth, with Cooney eighth.

Following are those starters with at least eight strikeouts per nine innings, those with 1.5 or fewer walks per nine innings and the group with a 4-to-1 or better strikeout to walk ratio during the month.

Starter Tm IP K/9   Starter Tm IP BB/9
Alex Reyes PEO 23.3 11.6   Jimmy Reed PB-SPR 34.3 0.5
Derian Gonzalez DSL 22.0 11.0   Tyler Lyons MEM 27.0 1.0
David Oca DSL 24.3 10.7   Arturo Reyes PEO 26.7 1.0
Boone Whiting MEM 23.0 10.2   Will Anderson SC 28.7 1.3
Sam Gaviglio SPR 23.7 8.7   Oneiver Diaz DSL 21.0 1.3
Juan Perez JC 24.0 8.6   Zach Petrick MEM 31.7 1.4
Arturo Reyes PEO 26.7 8.4   Chase Brookshire PEO 30.7 1.5
          David Oca DSL 24.3 1.5
          Matt Pearce JC 24.0 1.5
          Sam Gaviglio SPR 23.7 1.5
Starter Tm IP K/BB          
Jimmy Reed PB-SPR 34.3 9.5          
Arturo Reyes PEO 26.7 8.3          
David Oca DSL 24.3 7.3          
Tyler Lyons MEM 27.0 6.7          
Sam Gaviglio SPR 23.7 5.8          
Matt Pearce JC 24.0 5.3          
Will Anderson SC 28.7 5.0          
Tim Cooney MEM 27.7 4.8          
Zach Petrick MEM 31.7 4.4          

Is Gaviglio a higher-ranked prospect than Cooney? No, he is not. Is Gaviglio closer to the major leagues? Nope. Has Gaviglio put together a better 2014 season overall than Cooney? Nope, not even close. Is Gaviglio younger? No, he is seven months older than Cooney.

Does any of that matter? Not to me - in the context of this award.

The only downside is that Gaviglio missed his final start of the month and is currently on the temporarily inactive list. Still, his four July starts in aggregate were exceptional.

To summarize, Gaviglio not only had the lowest ERA in the system, he had a higher strikeout rate and a lower walk rate than Cooney last month. For that reason, The Cardinal Nation crowns Gaviglio as our Pitcher of the Month for July.

Honorable Mentions – Full Season

The strong months by Cooney, Whiting and Reed have already been noted. They made a strong case for the July award.

Peoria’s Chase Brookshire is back for the second month, a long way removed from having been shifted to the bullpen in May. The returns from injury by John Gast and Tyler Lyons are very encouraging.

Interestingly, the less well-known Reyes from Peoria, Arturo Reyes, placed among both the July strikeout and walk leaders, yet his ERA was an ugly 5.40.

Honorable Mentions – Short-Season

Johnson City’s Juan Perez was among the ERA and strikeout leaders, especially impressive given the Venezuelan just turned 19 during July.

The DSL’s Gonzalez and Oca are back here after a second strong month, joined by Oneiver Diaz, sixth in the system ERA and stingy with the free passes.

June’s Winner in July

How did Rob Kaminsky, the consensus Pitcher of the Month for June, fare in July?

As his 2.05 ERA indicates, the lefty continued to perform at a high level. Yet, how high was it really? Kaminsky’s strikeout rate of 4.5 per nine innings was very low while his walk rate of 3.3 was very high. They compare to 8.3 and 0.9, respectively, in June.

Prior 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 
May Chris Perry Chris Perry (none) (Perry) May
June   Rob Kaminsky Rob Kaminsky Kyle Grana June
July   Tim Cooney Sam Gaviglio   July
Aug         Aug
  Player of Month        
2014 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization     2014
April  James Ramsey Jonathan Rodriguez     April 
May Randal Grichuk Randal Grichuk     May
June Rowan Wick Rowan Wick     June
July Magneuris Sierra Magneuris Sierra     July
Aug         Aug

Coming soon

The Cardinal Nation’s Relief Pitcher of the Month will be announced next, as will our monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings, the latter exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

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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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