Cards Minors Awards: Piscotty, Reyes, Gomber

The St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Player and Pitchers of the Year for 2015 have been announced. Top Player is Stephen Piscotty while Alex Reyes and Austin Gomber share the top pitcher honors.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals today announced the recipients of the organization’s 2015 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards, and for the first time since the award’s inception in 1995, there are co-recipients of the top honor for pitchers, with right-hander Alex Reyes and lefty Austin Gomber both being selected. Outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who became a key contributor for the Cardinals as they delivered a third-straight N.L. Central Division title and the ninth 100-win season in franchise history, was named the organization’s top player for 2015.

Piscotty

Piscotty, 24, batted .305 with 7 HR’s and 39 RBI in his 63 games played with the Cardinals following his July 21 call-up from Memphis (AAA) and ranked among team leaders in two-out RBI (23), game-winning RBI (7) and batting average with runners in scoring position (.393, 29 RBI).

“Following his productive work at Memphis, Stephen earned the promotion to St. Louis, stepped in and contributed to our Major League club down the stretch and into the playoffs,” said Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque. A former (2012) 1st round draft selection (36th player overall) out of Stanford University, Piscotty matched Matt Carpenter’s team-high 12-game hitting streak while also hitting safely in each of his first 10 games started and received voter recognition for the 2015 BBWAA National League Rookie of the Year Award.

The right-handed hitting Piscotty batted .272 with 11 home runs and 41 RBI in 87 games played at Memphis before his promotion to the majors. He joins Kolten Wong (2013), Allen Craig (2009) and Adam Kennedy (1999) as former Memphis Redbirds to have won the organization’s Player of the Year honors.

Reyes

Reyes, 21, and ranked as the organization’s top prospect by Baseball America, completed his third season in the minors, advancing to double-A Springfield while also pitching for Palm Beach (A) in the Florida State League where he was named an All-Star. The Dominican native, who was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free-agent in December of 2012, went a combined 5-7 with a 2.49 ERA in 22 games started and was tabbed for the Futures All-Star Game in July.

“Alex distinguished himself in Palm Beach and Springfield, pitching effectively at both the Florida State League and Texas League levels,” said LaRocque. The 6-3, 175-pound Reyes struck out 151 batters in his 101.1 innings pitched in 2015 and fanned 14 batters in 15.0 IP in his four starts with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League where he was named a “Rising Stars” selection.

Gomber

Gomber, who turned 22 today, put together one of the top single-season pitching performances in Peoria (A) history, leading the Midwest League in wins (15), strikeouts (140) and opponent batting average (.198) while going 15-3 in 22 starts on the year with a 2.67 ERA (6th in the league). A former 4th round (135th overall) selection in 2014 out of Florida Atlantic University, Gomber won 14 consecutive decisions following his last defeat on April 29 – the longest winning streak by a starter in all of Minor League Baseball in 2015.

The 6-5, 215-pound left-hander from Winter Garden, Fla., who was the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month in August (4-0, 0.35 ERA), was also named to the Midwest League All-Star team. “This award caps off a memorable season for Austin,” said LaRocque. “A season that was highlighted by his selection to the Midwest League All-Star team and a league best 15-3 won-loss record.”

Gomber becomes just the third pitcher who spent a full season at Peoria to have won the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year award, joining Tyler Johnson (2002) and Britt Reames (1996).

Piscotty, Reyes and Gomber will be presented their awards at the 58th annual St. Louis BBWAA Awards Dinner on Sunday, January 17, 2016.

Brian Walton’s take

The 50-game suspension of Reyes for his second positive test for marijuana, announced two weeks ago, puts a damper on the conclusion of what was otherwise a very successful year for the organization’s top prospect. Earlier, Reyes was named The Cardinal Nation’s Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2015.

Gomber received TCN’s 2015 top starter award for Peoria. Unlike many other pitching prospects, Gomber was kept at the same level for the entire minor league season, his first full year as a professional, helping to lead the Chiefs into the Midwest League playoffs.

Because of his quick success with St. Louis starting with his first promotion to the majors in July, it is easy to forget that Piscotty, the system’s top hitting prospect at the time, spent over half the season with Memphis. Despite playing just 87 games in the Pacific Coast League, as noted above, Piscotty still led the entire Cardinals system in doubles for the second consecutive season. He had 28 in 2015.

Also announced in October was TCN’s system-wide Player of the Year, Allen Cordoba. The shortstop was the batting champion and Most Valuable Player of the Gulf Coast League.

Award history

For details on all of TCN’s top Player and Pitcher awards by level for 2015 and prior seasons, click here.

Following is a historical view of the Cardinals organization’s Player and Pitcher of the Year Awards, with TCN’s comparable awards alongside.

  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  
2015 Stephen Piscotty, OF Mem/StL Allen Cordoba, SS GCL
         
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
2015 Alex Reyes, RHP PB/Sgf Reyes  
  Austin Gomber, LHP Peoria    

Next for members of The Cardinal Nation: Exclusive interviews with Cardinals prospects who competed in the Arizona Fall League, including a talk with Reyes just before his suspension.

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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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