In preparing these awards, August is usually the most interesting month, as short-season players have reached their stride, providing interesting comparisons between newbies and more experienced players.
Yet in this case, the St. Louis Cardinals organization has already identified their top hitter in the system this past month. The winner was Memphis first baseman Xavier Scruggs.
Since that benchmark is already in place, we will compare stats from others to see if we come up with the same conclusion. One slight clarification is that I will be including the final day of the regular season, Monday, September 1, along with the August results.
To qualify, hitters must have at least 50 at-bats. As a result, 78 players were eligible.
It is easy to see why Memphis finished so strongly, coming from back in the pack to win its division. Seven different Redbirds hitters’ names appear among the August leaders below. Five of them are now with St. Louis.
On the other hand, Palm Beach and Springfield had just four names between them. Both clubs missed the post-season. At the other end of the experience spectrum, five Gulf Coast League Cardinals from the division champion club are among August’s top hitters.
Had Redbirds catcher Ed Easley not finished almost 50 at-bats behind Scruggs, he could have competed with the first baseman in counting stats. His averages were substantially better than his teammate, but would like have dropped with more opportunities.
The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for July, Gulf Coast League Cardinals outfielder Magneuris Sierra had a strong month in batting average and took his league’s title for the season.
As exceptional as Tommy Pham’s season was, the Memphis outfielder had yet to take home one of these Player of the Month awards. He was a very strong contender again, among the leaders in every one of the six categories documented below. That included the leading position in runs scored and a tie for second in stolen bases.
None of them can top Scruggs, however. The big first baseman was tops in the system in home runs, RBI, was second in OPS and runs scored and third in batting average. That across-the-board performance confirms his choice as The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for August.
Now, let’s look at the full lists of August system-wide leaders in a group of key offensive categories.
There were 15 .300 hitters, eight with an OPS of at least .850 and the same number of hitters with at least one home run per week. Nine system-wide hitters drove in at least four runs per week. Seven players scored at least 18 runs while only five offensive players stole more than four bases.
|Ed Easley||Mem||0.391||0.400||69||Ed Easley||Mem||1.159|
|Magneuris Sierra||GCL||0.372||0.438||86||Xavier Scruggs||Mem||1.103|
|Xavier Scruggs||Mem||0.356||0.379||118||Eliezer Alvarez||GCL||1.045|
|Eliezer Alvarez||GCL||0.353||0.383||68||Derek Gibson||GCL-PB||0.935|
|Greg Garcia||Mem-Spr||0.337||0.429||83||Tommy Pham||Mem||0.884|
|Malik Collymore||GCL||0.329||0.462||73||David Washington||PB||0.882|
|Justin Ringo||Peo||0.324||0.355||111||Nick Thompson||SC||0.878|
|Derek Gibson||GCL-PB||0.323||0.317||65||Magneuris Sierra||GCL||0.866|
|Xavier Scruggs||Mem||9||Xavier Scruggs||Mem||29|
|Ed Easley||Mem||5||Ed Easley||Mem||20|
|Randal Grichuk||Mem||5||Casey Grayson||JC||20|
|Rowan Wick||Peo||5||Pete Kozma||Mem||20|
|Tommy Pham||Mem||4||Justin Ringo||Peo||19|
|David Washington||PB||4||Blake Drake||JC||19|
|Casey Grayson||JC||4||Rowan Wick||Peo||17|
|Pete Kozma||Mem||4||Tommy Pham||Mem||16|
|Tommy Pham||Mem||29||C.J. McElroy||Peo||12|
|Xavier Scruggs||Mem||28||Tommy Pham||Mem||11|
|Stephen Piscotty||Mem||22||Oscar Mercado||JC||11|
|Casey Turgeon||JC||22||Robelys Reyes||SC||8|
|Nick Thompson||SC||19||Darren Seferina||SC||8|
Honorable Mentions – Short Season
Along with Sierra, the Gulf Coast League Cardinals were well-represented by .353-hitter Eliezer Alvarez, all-star second baseman Malik Collymore and outfielder Derek Gibson, who finished the season credibly helping out A-Advanced Palm Beach. Collymore’s BABIP of .462, while impressive, would be unsustainable.
Five members of the Appalachian League champions from Johnson City appear among the leaders. Casey Grayson was among the best home run hitters and RBI men, while Oscar Mercado excelled at stolen bases and run-scoring.
New York-Penn League title winner State College made a nice showing with five names. Outfielder Nick Thompson led the way, placing on three lists. Roommates and double-play partners Robelys Reyes and Darren Seferina swiped eight bags each.
Honorable Mentions – Full-Season
Though Memphis outfielder Stephen Piscotty slumped a bit mid-season, he batted .300 and was third in runs scored. Greg Garcia earned his way back to St. Louis while batting .337 while helping out at Springfield and Memphis.
Pete Kozma has finished seasons strongly before. So it was with the Redbirds this season. Not only did the shortstop bat .300 in August, he smacked four home runs and plated 20.
Palm Beach’s David Washington showed indications he may be ready to step up to Double-A next season with an August that ended with him among the top players in the system in OPS and home runs.
Peoria first baseman Justin Ringo had the kind of month that many expected from his teammate Rowan Wick. The outfielder struggled in his initial Midwest League exposure, but did complete the season among the August RBI leaders.
July’s winner in August
How did Magneuris Sierra, the consensus Player of the Month for July, fare in August?
As noted above, the answer is “quite well,” as the teenager rode a .438 BABIP to a .372 average. At the end of the GCL season, Sierra moved up to Johnson City and collected hits in five of six playoff games, going a respectable 7-for-24 (.292) with three steals.
|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||Chris Perry||July|
|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||Xavier Scruggs||Xavier Scruggs||Aug|
The Cardinal Nation’s August Starting Pitcher of the Month and Relief Pitcher of the Month will be announced next. In addition, our final monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings is coming next week.
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