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 for the final month of the regular season, including September 1. The Cardinals bestowed their August honor on the Memphis Redbirds’ Marco Gonzales. As a result, as I do my review of the numbers, Gonzales will be the man against whom to measure.
ERA and WHIP leaders
The long summer seemed to take its toll on young arms. In June, eight starting pitchers across the system with 20 innings pitched or more had ERAs under 2.00. In July, it dropped to just four and in August, it was halved again to two.
To get a list of eight starters, I also included those with ERAs between 2.00 and 3.00 below. These were the top performers among 30 qualifying pitchers in August.
To my surprise, the August ERA leaders were not named Marco.
Leading the way was Alex Reyes of Peoria at 1.44, followed by State College’s Daniel Poncedeleon at 1.88. Gonzales’ 2.63 ERA was respectable, but five others, including Reyes and Poncedeleon, were better. The latter two also allowed fewer baserunners, as measured by WHIP, walks and hits per inning pitched.
Strikeout and walk leaders
Strikeouts and walks are the next measurements to be considered. Only six qualifying starters punched out more than one batter per August inning. Reyes is on top for the second straight month, followed by Poncedeleon, as they are the only two with double-digit rates. Gonzales came in at number 20 of 30.
Eight starters walked fewer than two batters per nine innings, as I had to lower my bar from 1.5 last month. Here, Gonzales shined, with the second-lowest rate in the system, but Poncedeleon was among the top group with Reyes not far behind.
The latter is especially noteworthy as it indicates huge improvement. In July, Reyes walked 6.6 per nine, which was the highest among all qualifying starters. He cut that rate down by two-thirds in August to 2.2.
Following are those starters with at least nine strikeouts per nine innings, and those with 2.0 or fewer walks per nine innings.
|Alex Reyes||Peo||25||13.7||Tim Cooney||Mem||35.2||1.0|
|Daniel Poncedeleon||SC||24||10.5||Marco Gonzales||Mem||30.1||1.2|
|Juan Perez||JC||26||9.7||Nick Petree||PB-Spr||39||1.4|
|Arturo Reyes||Peo||26.2||9.4||Chase Brookshire||Peo||25.1||1.4|
|Ramon Santos||GCL||21||9.4||Tyler Lyons||Mem||25||1.4|
|Trey Nielsen||SC||20.2||9.1||Will Anderson||SC||24.2||1.5|
|Marco Gonzales (20th)||Mem||30.1||6.8||Daniel Poncedeleon||SC||24||1.9|
|Alex Reyes (11th)||Peo||25||2.2|
When combining the two, strikeouts and walks, all three named pitchers showed well, bunched among the top five, with Gonzales second.
A new table this month, one I should have been including all along and will going forward, is ground ball to fly ball ratio.
In this measure, Poncedeleon really shines, with the third-best mark in the system last month. On the other hand, Gonzales and Reyes are deep in the second division.
Following are those starters with a 4-to-1 or better strikeout to walk ratio and a ground ball to fly ball rate of at least 2.0 during the month.
|Tim Cooney||Mem||35.2||6.8||Dailyn Martinez||JC||24||3.8|
|Alex Reyes||Peo||25||6.3||Silfredo Garcia||PB||28.2||3.1|
|Tyler Lyons||Mem||25||6.0||Daniel Poncedeleon||SC||24||3.1|
|Marco Gonzales||Mem||30.1||5.8||Will Anderson||SC||24.2||3.1|
|Daniel Poncedeleon||SC||24||5.6||Trey Nielsen||SC||20.2||2.8|
|Will Anderson||SC||24.2||5.3||Tyrell Jenkins||PB||33||2.7|
|Chase Brookshire||Peo||25.1||5.0||Kyle Hald||Spr||33.2||2.6|
|Nick Petree||PB-Spr||39||4.0||Dewin Perez||SC||21||2.5|
|Marco Gonzales (18th)||Mem||30.1||1.6|
|Alex Reyes (24th)||Peo||25||1.4|
The winner and new champion
In summary, I think you can see where I am heading. Reyes had a lower ERA and WHIP than did Gonzales. He struck out batters at twice the rate and though he walked more, his strikeout to walk ratio was still superior.
I could make similar, though not quite as strong observations about Poncedeleon, with the additional benefit of a strong ground ball rate.
To be honest, I would place either ahead of Gonzales as The Cardinal Nation’s Starting Pitcher of the Month for August, with the winner by a nose being Alex Reyes.
Honorable Mentions – Short-Season
Three hurlers from the other title-winning club, in Johnson City, made appearances. Juan Perez was among the strikeout leaders, while Julio Mateo was one of the stingiest with free passes. Dailyn Martinez was the best August groundball machine in the system.
Pitchers from the Gulf Coast League division champs had a hard time reaching the innings bar, but Ramon Santos is among the top strikeout starters.
Honorable Mentions – Full Season
Mike Mayers was pushed up to Memphis at the end of the season to help cover rotation needs, but had earned the opportunity while with Springfield.
It was encouraging to see Tyrell Jenkins among the ERA and ground ball leaders, with the right-hander soon heading to the Arizona Fall League. His Palm Beach teammate Nick Petree, promoted to Springfield at the very end, continued to rarely walk opposing hitters.
Rob Kaminsky, our June winner, continued to pitch well throughout his first full season. His Peoria rotation mates Arturo Reyes and Chase Brookshire showed well among August strikeout and walk leaders, respectively.
July’s Winners in August
The answer is “very good, but not great.”
Cooney had the lowest walk rate in the entire system in August, while his 3.03 ERA, compiled during Memphis’ pennant race, fell just below our bar.
Though he did not receive much run support from Springfield teammates, Gaviglio was close behind at 3.29. He went 0-2 with three no-decisions in five August starts.
|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|
|Aug||Marco Gonzales||Alex Reyes||TBA||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||Xavier Scruggs||Xavier Scruggs||Aug|
The Cardinal Nation’s Relief Pitcher of the Month will be announced next, as will our final monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings, the latter exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation. Thank you for your business!
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