Some months, it is a challenge to sort through so many different offensive performers across the St. Louis Cardinals system and select just one as The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Month.
Other times, the answer is as clear as day. The latter is the case for May, as Memphis outfielder/first baseman David Washington is the obvious choice.
What makes Washington’s performance even more noteworthy is that this was his first partial month at Triple-A, as he was promoted from Double-A Springfield on May 5 when Carlos Peguero went on the disabled list.
The 25-year-old had a dominating May, leading the Cardinals system in home runs (11), RBI (25), runs scored (20, tied), slugging (.673) and OPS (1.051). Washington also placed in the system’s top 10 in batting average (.287, eighth) and on-base percentage (.387, eighth) for the month.
Only one other performer in the organization came close to having such broad success in May. More on that later.
Let’s look at the full lists of first-month system-wide standouts in a number of key offensive categories. As always, I identified the organizational leaders in key offensive measures, narrowing the pool of candidates for the slash stats of batting average, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS to those who had at least 50 at-bats during the month.
Rate stats leaders
For the second consecutive month, there were exactly six .300 hitters across the system. The top five were bunched between .324 and .333 with another at .305 plus four others between .283 and .289.
The top hitter in batting average is a bit of a surprise to me – catcher Carson Kelly of Springfield, who surged in May to the tune of .333 after hitting just .238 during his first month at Double-A. A trio of Peoria teammates were right behind – Thomas Spitz, Eliezer Alvarez and Chris Chinea, followed by our top April player, Harrison Bader.
Eight Cardinals posted an on-base percentage of at least .375, four of whom broke the .400 mark. Spitz was the system-wide leader at .424, followed closely by Peoria teammate Dylan Becker at .420.
|Carson Kelly||Spr||0.333||Thomas Spitz||Peo||0.424|
|Thomas Spitz||Peo||0.329||Dylan Becker||Peo||0.420|
|Eliezer Alvarez||Peo||0.327||Casey Grayson||PB||0.415|
|Chris Chinea||Peo||0.325||Eliezer Alvarez||Peo||0.402|
|Harrison Bader||Spr||0.324||Carson Kelly||Spr||0.398|
|Casey Grayson||PB||0.305||Tommy Pham||Mem/Spr||0.383|
|Nick Martini||Mem||0.289||Casey Turgeon||PB/Peo||0.382|
|David Washington||Mem/Spr||0.287||David Washington||Mem/Spr||0.378|
Moving to slugging and OPS, Washington is the runaway leader in both categories after placing third and second, respectively in April. The Springfield duo of Bader and Paul DeJong came in second and third in slugging. Seeing Peoria second baseman Eliezer Alvarez among the slugging leaders is most encouraging. Hold that point for just a bit.
Putting it all together, Bader and Alvarez were the only other hitters after Washington to put together a .900 OPS last month, though DeJong was close. Five other Cardinals came in between .826 and .851 during May.
|David Washington||Mem/Spr||0.673||David Washington||Mem/Spr||1.051|
|Harrison Bader||Spr||0.556||Harrison Bader||Spr||0.924|
|Paul DeJong||Spr||0.550||Eliezer Alvarez||Peo||0.907|
|Jonathan Rodriguez||Mem/Spr||0.514||Paul DeJong||Spr||0.892|
|Eliezer Alvarez||Peo||0.505||Jonathan Rodriguez||Mem/Spr||0.851|
|Luke Voit||Spr||0.471||Carson Kelly||Spr||0.847|
|Chris Chinea||Peo||0.458||Luke Voit||Spr||0.843|
|Patrick Wisdom||Mem||0.457||Chris Chinea||Peo||0.829|
Counting stats leaders
Across the system in May, power was scarce to say the least. Specifically, only five hitters launched more than two home runs all month. That makes Washington’s 11 stand out even more. DeJong quietly was next with seven, followed by his Springfield teammates Bader, Luke Voit and at month-end, Jonathan Rodriguez.
The clear RBI leaders are Washington, DeJong and Voit, with a group of seven others having driven in between 13 and 15 runs in May.
|David Washington||Mem/Spr||11||David Washington||Mem/Spr||25|
|Paul DeJong||Spr||7||Paul DeJong||Spr||20|
|Harrison Bader||Spr||6||Luke Voit||Spr||19|
|Luke Voit||Spr||5||Casey Grayson||PB||15|
|Jonathan Rodriguez||Mem/Spr||5||Chris Chinea||Peo||15|
Many of the names on the stolen base table are different, with the exceptions being Bader and Spitz – plus the leader, Alvarez.
We need to stop for a moment here.
Not only is Alvarez outplaying more heralded Peoria teammates Magneuris Sierra and Edmundo Sosa, he has been among the entire system’s leaders in a variety of categories.
As noted above, the 21-year-old placed among the system’s best in batting average, slugging, OBP, OPS and even RBI. Now we see he also led the organization with seven stolen bases, and was only caught twice! Had Washington’s month not been so dominating, Alvarez has a very compelling Player of the Month case of his own. Further, Alvarez had already been recognized as one of the fastest risers in our most recent Cardinals top 40 prospect list (members only), entering our top 20 for the first time during May.
Last month’s 6-for-6 performer, Charlie Tilson, is noticeably absent from the May basestealing leaders. Palm Beach’s Oscar Mercado made the list again, but was caught in a whopping eight of 12 attempts during the month.
An outfielder often overlooked among the bigger names at Memphis, Nick Martini, tied Washington for the system lead in runs scored last month with 20. Under-the-radar performer Spitz shows up again among the run-scoring leaders, as does Alvarez, of course.
|Eliezer Alvarez||Peo||7/2||David Washington||Mem/Spr||20|
|Darren Seferina||PB||6/4||Nick Martini||Mem||20|
|Harrison Bader||Spr||5/3||Thomas Spitz||Peo||18|
|Magneuris Sierra||Peo||5/5||Harrison Bader||Spr||17|
|Vaughn Bryan||PB/Peo||4/1||Luke Voit||Spr||17|
|Tommy Pham||Mem/Spr||4/1||Patrick Wisdom||Mem||16|
|Blake Drake||PB||4/1||Eliezer Alvarez||Peo||15|
April’s winner in May
How did Harrison Bader, our April Player of the Month, perform in May?
As noted above, the Springfield outfielder did well overall, coming in third in home runs, 10th in RBI, tied for fourth in runs scored, fifth in batting average and second to Washington in both slugging and OPS during the second month of the season.
Here are the earlier winners of these monthly awards for 2016 to date – both from The Cardinal Nation and the St. Louis Cardinals themselves – along with links to those prior articles.
|Pitcher of Month||Starter of Month||Reliever of Month|
|2016||Cards organization||The Cardinal Nation||The Cardinal Nation||2016|
|April||Andrew Morales||Austin Gomber||Kevin Herget||April|
|Player of Month|
|2016||Cards organization||The Cardinal Nation||2016|
|April||Harrison Bader||Harrison Bader||April|
The Cardinal Nation’s April Pitchers of the Month – starters and relievers - will be announced next. Following that will be our top-notch draft coverage, leading up to short-season play in the second half of the month.
In addition, our second monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings for 2016 is coming during June, exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Prospect Interview – Bruce Caldwell
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