2014 DSL Cardinals Relief Pitcher of the Year

The Cardinal Nation’s pick as top reliever on the Dominican Summer League Cardinals did not lead the team in saves or ERA.

In phase two of our annual recaps of the just-completed season across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, we move from team reports to relief pitchers, starting with the Dominican Summer League.

As has been discussed in several articles here already, the Dominican Summer League Cardinals had a rough 2014 season. The pitching was the brightest spot for the rookie-level club, however, with an ERA of 3.54 that ranked 19th in the 36-team league. Though the staff came in 29th in strikeouts, they issued the eighth-fewest walks.

Despite just 22 team wins in 70 games, DSL Cards relievers collectively earned 13 saves. However, we are going to dig deeper than just that one stat to help us make our selection of The Cardinal Nation’s 2014 DSL Cardinals Relief Pitcher of the Year.

While just seven Cardinals hurlers pitched close to the majority of their games in a starting role, ten others threw at least 15 innings primarily as a reliever. Their stats follow, listed in ascending ERA order.

DSL Cards relievers ERA  SV  IP  ER  HR  BB  SO  HLD  GF 
Kerrion Bennett 0 1 1.71 12 0 21.0 14 6 4 1 12 15 0 8
Andy De La Cruz 2 1 1.93 13 1 28.0 26 10 6 0 11 23 0 7
Franyel Casadilla 1 3 2.25 19 0 40.0 33 18 10 1 11 42 2 10
Jose Lara 0 4 2.49 16 8 21.2 27 11 6 0 8 16 0 13
Angel Estevez 4 2 2.92 11 0 37.0 37 18 12 0 10 17 0 0
Juan Alvarez 1 0 3.27 15 1 41.0 40 20 15 2 10 37 2 7
Enrique Perez 2 1 3.42 16 1 23.2 16 11 9 0 24 21 1 8
Rigobert Urena 1 3 4.67 11 0 17.1 18 16 9 2 11 8 1 3
Esteban Vallejo 1 2 5.80 17 2 35.2 46 26 23 2 18 26 1 9
Jesus Narvaez 0 2 6.00 6 0 15.0 20 11 10 0 6 6 1 0

A quick look at the data might suggest that lefties Kerrion Bennett and Andy De La Cruz should be primary contenders, with the only bullpen ERAs under 2.00. Further, Jose Lara had the lion’s share of saves with eight and finished the most games, 13, so he might be the best choice.

As Lee Corso says, “Not so fast, my friend.”

Let’s look at strikeouts, walks and baserunners allowed, with WHIP, walks and hits per innings pitched, as the surrogate for the latter.

DSL Cards relievers ERA WHIP  K/9 BB/9 K/BB
Franyel Casadilla 2.25 1.10 9.5 2.5 3.8
Juan Alvarez 3.27 1.21 8.1 2.2 3.7
Andy De La Cruz 1.93 1.32 7.4 3.5 2.1
Jose Lara 2.49 1.62 6.6 3.3 2.0
Angel Estevez 2.92 1.27 4.1 2.4 1.7
Esteban Vallejo 5.80 1.79 6.6 4.5 1.4
Kerrion Bennett 1.71 1.24 6.4 5.1 1.3
Jesus Narvaez 6.00 1.73 3.6 3.6 1.0
Enrique Perez 3.42 1.69 8.0 9.1 0.9
Rigobert Urena 4.67 1.67 4.2 5.7 0.7

Bennett and De La Cruz, the ERA leaders, and especially save leader Lara, with a WHIP of 1.62, do not stand nearly as tall in this view.

The above table is sorted by the right column, strikeout to walk ratio, but a WHIP ordering would not change the top two.

It seems pretty clear that Franyel Casadilla and Juan Alvarez have the best strikeout and walk results, along with yielding the fewest baserunners. Casadilla’s ERA of 2.25 is very good, third-best among all relievers and a run better than Alvarez.

With that, we have our man, Casadilla.

The 17-year-old is a Venezuelan, standing 6-foot-3, weighing 175 pounds. Casadilla, a right-hander, is in his first year of professional pitching after having signed at 2014 contract with the Cardinals last November.

Congratulations to The Cardinal Nation Dominican Summer League Cardinals Reliever of the Year for 2014, Franyel Casadilla.

For more

Link to master article with all 2014 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that will include our selections as the DSL Cardinals Starting Pitcher and Player of the Year.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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