Cards Name Minors Pitcher and Player of Year

The St. Louis Cardinals named Magneuris Sierra and Marco Gonzales their top system-wide player and pitcher, respectively, in 2014.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals today announced the recipients of the team’s 2014 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards with outfielder Magneuris Sierra and left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales taking the honors. The Cardinals first began awarding their Minor League Player & Pitcher of the Year in 1995.

Sierra, 18, a native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic and a product of the Cardinals Dominican Academy, batted a league-leading .386 (78-for-202) this past season while also topping the Gulf Coast League in hits. The left-handed hitting Sierra ranked 3rd in the GCL in on-base pct. (.434) and 9th in stolen bases (13) while helping the Cardinals to a first place finish in the GCL East Division at 37-23.

Sierra earned the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month selection in July when he batted .439 (36-for-82) with a .489 on-base pct. and nine stolen bases, as the Cardinals went 24-13 to pace the GCL. The 5-11, 160-pound Sierra is the first short-season player to win the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year award and the second to have come up through the Cardinals Dominican Academy, joining Oscar Taveras (2012).

Gonzales, 22, excelled at four levels (A, AA, AAA, MLB) during the 2014 season, and was a key member of the Major League pitching staff during the postseason when he posted a pair of wins during the Cardinals best-of-five Division Series win over the Dodgers.

Overall, Gonzalez was a combined 13-7 with a 2.81 ERA in 2014. He was 9-5 with a 2.43 mark in 21 minor league starts, striking out 117 batters in 122.0 innings pitched. The 6-1, 195-pound Gonzales, who was the Cardinals 1st round draft selection (19th player overall) in 2013 out of Gonzaga University, made his Major League debut in a start on June 10 at Colorado and finished the year with a 4-2 mark and a 4.15 ERA in 10 games (5 starts) with the big league club. He earned Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors in August, going 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts for Memphis (AAA).

Gonzales joins Rick Ankiel (1998 & 1999), Bud Smith (2000) and Tyler Johnson (2002) as left-handers to have won the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year award.

Sierra and Gonzales will be presented their awards at the 57th annual St. Louis BBWAA awards dinner on Sunday, January 18.

Brian Walton’s take

Both of these players are very deserving of the recognition given them.

Gonzales’ accomplishments are especially notable given his rapid ascension to St. Louis. However, when The Cardinal Nation independently made our choices for Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year, we did not include Major League results.

Our 2014 winners, announced in October, were Sierra and another left-hander, Peoria’s Rob Kaminsky. You can read how we made our selections in the articles linked below.

Keep in mind that we distinguish between the top players during the 2014 season and the organization’s top prospects. Stay tuned to see which of the two – Gonzales or Kaminsky – or someone else - takes home the crown as The Cardinal Nation’s top prospect for 2015. Top 40 prospect countdown details are here.

If you are still unfamiliar with Sierra, make sure you read our write up. You will even learn how to correctly pronounce his first name! The Cardinal Nation is the only media source to have a reporter regularly covering Gulf Coast League Cardinals games so we watched Sierra all summer long and continued during fall Instructional League camp. (We have the Cardinals’ other six US minor league affiliates covered locally, too!)

TCN 2014 Cardinals Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year – Rob Kaminsky
TCN 2014 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year – Magneuris Sierra

While you are at it, spend some time reading about The Cardinal Nation’s Pitchers and Players of the Year as well as team recaps from across the entire organization – at every level from the Dominican Summer League through St. Louis. Here is the table of contents for the entire series with links to almost 50 articles – all of which are free.

No one goes deeper than The Cardinal Nation in coverage of the Cardinals minor league system.

Prior Winners

Following are the past winners of these annual awards.

  Cardinals organzation   The Cardinal Nation  
Yr Player Teams    
1995 Mike Gulan, 3B Lv/Ark    
1996 Dmitri Young, INF Lv    
1997 Brent Butler, INF Peo    
1998 Pablo Ozuna, INF Peo    
1999 Adam Kennedy, INF Mem    
2000 Albert Pujols, 3B Peo/Pot    
2001 Covelli Crisp, OF Potomac    
2002 John Gall, 1B N Haven    
2003 John Gall, 1B Tenn/Mem    
2004 Reid Gorecki, OF PB/Tenn    
2005 Travis Hanson, 3B Sgf    
2006 Colby Rasmus, OF QC/PB    
2007 Colby Rasmus, OF Sgf Rasmus  
2008 Daryl Jones, OF PB/Sgf David Freese, 3B Memphis
2009 Allen Craig, OF/IF Mem Craig  
2010 Matt Carpenter, 3B PB/Sgf Carpenter  
2011 Matt Adams, 1B Springfield Adams  
2012 Oscar Taveras, OF Springfield Taveras  
2013 Kolten Wong, 2B Memphis Wong  
2014 Magneuris Sierra, OF GCL Sierra  
         
Yr Pitcher Teams    
1995 Mike Busby, RHP Lv/Ark    
1996 Britt Reames, RHP Peoria    
1997 Cliff Politte, RHP PW/Ark    
1998 Rick Ankiel, LHP Peo/PW    
1999 Rick Ankiel, LHP Ark/Mem    
2000 Bud Smith, LHP Ark/Mem    
2001 Jimmy Journell, RHP Pot/NH    
2002 Tyler Johnson, LHP Peoria    
2003 Dan Haren, RHP Tenn/Mem    
2004 Anthony Reyes, RHP PB/Tenn.    
2005 Mark Worrell, RHP Palm Beach    
2006 Blake Hawksworth, RHP PB/Sgf    
2007 P.J. Walters, RHP QC/PB/Sgf Walters  
2008 Jess Todd, RHP PB/Sgf/Mem Todd  
2009 Lance Lynn, RHP PB/Sgf/Mem Lynn  
2010 Shelby Miller, RHP QC Brandon Dickson, RHP Memphis
2011 Shelby Miller, RHP PB/Sgf Miller  
2012 Seth Maness, RHP PB/Sgf Trevor Rosenthal, RHP Sgf/Mem/StL
2013 Zach Petrick, RHP Peoria/PB/Sgf Petrick  
2014 Marco Gonzalez, LHP PB/Sgf/Mem/StL Rob Kaminsky, LHP Peoria

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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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