Once in a while, a hitter bats .400 in a month. In a rare occasion, an offensive player manages a .500 on-base mark over 30 or 31 days. Now and then, a slugger posts a .600 slugging percentage in a calendar month.
In the St. Louis Cardinals system in August, there was one of each, making the selection of The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Month a bit of a challenge.
In just his second full month as a professional, Johnson City outfielder Matt Fiedler collected 36 hits in 89 at-bats, for a .404 average. 90 days ago, Fielder was fielding fly balls as a member of the University of Minnesota’s baseball club. The 21-year-old was selected in the ninth round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.
Fiedler’s Appalachian League teammate, infielder Caleb Lopes, had 23 hits and a system-best 19 walks for an amazing .506 on-base percentage last month. Like Fiedler, Lopes joined the organization in this June draft, taken in the 33rd round from the University of West Georgia.
Not to be outdone, an incumbent Cardinal, Luke Voit, slugged his way to an even .600 mark for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals in August. The Texas League mid-season and post-season All-Star performed in front of local supporters from his days as a Missouri State star.
Putting the results together, on-base plus slugging, narrows the race down to Fiedler and Voit, just a point apart at 1.039 and 1.038, respectively.
The tie is broken by referencing counting stats. Voit was one of just four players in the system to hit at least one home run per week last month, tied for third with four long balls. In addition, the Springfield slugger drove in 20 runs, again tied for third in the system, to Fiedler’s 18.
Therefore, Luke Voit is hereby named The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Month for August.
Voit also leads the Double-A Texas League in batting average (.301), hits (138) and OPS (.862) and was a serious contender for the league’s Most Valuable Player award. The 25-year-old is preparing to lead his Springfield club into the playoffs.
In reality, there were many strong offensive performances across the Cardinals system during August, especially at the lower levels of the system. Let’s look at some of them in a number of key 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
The hitting shoes remained on across the system during August, with a whopping 22 men posting batting averages of at least .300 for the second consecutive month. Listed below are the top 10, those with marks at .333 or better. Going at least 1-for-3 each and every day on average all month is quite an accomplishment!
Nestled between Fiedler and the pair of Voit and Lopez in the top batting average group are three hitters, including The Cardinal Nation’s last two system-wide Players of the Year. Peoria’s Magneuris Sierra (.384) took the honors in 2014, followed by last season’s winner, Johnson City’s Allen Cordoba (.375). Also at .375 is a catcher, Dennis Ortega of the Gulf Coast League Cardinals!
13 Cardinals posted an on-base percentage of at least .400 last month. Again, that is the exact same total as in July. As you would expect, many of the names are the same as on the batting average leaderboard.
Fiedler was the only Cardinal other than his teammate Lopes coming in with an OBP over .450, at .455. Another backstop, Julio Rodriguez, a 19-year-old from the Dominican Summer League, appears in the top 10 at .427.
|Matt Fiedler||JC||0.404||Caleb Lopes||JC||0.506|
|Magneuris Sierra||Peo||0.384||Matt Fiedler||JC||0.455|
|Allen Cordoba||JC||0.375||Dennis Ortega||GCL||0.444|
|Dennis Ortega||GCL||0.375||Luke Voit||Spr||0.438|
|Luke Voit||Spr||0.367||Allen Cordoba||JC||0.427|
|Caleb Lopes||JC||0.354||Julio Rodriguez||DSL||0.427|
|Breyvic Valera||Mem||0.337||Magneuris Sierra||Peo||0.426|
|Chris Chinea||Peo||0.333||Stefan Trosclair||GCL||0.422|
|Julio Rodriguez||DSL||0.333||Casey Grayson||PB||0.422|
|Stefan Trosclair||GCL||0.333||Moises Castillo||DSL||0.417|
Moving to slugging, two hitters registered slugging percentages over .550 last month, behind Voit and Fiedler. They are first baseman Stefan Trosclair in the Gulf Coast League and catcher Brian O’Keefe of Peoria.
The future looks brighter for power in the system perhaps, as eight of the top 10 August sluggers are playing in short-season ball.
As already noted, Fiedler and Voit are neck and neck at the top in OPS, but Trosclair, Rodriguez, Lopes and Cordoba also came in very respectively last month, above .950.
|Luke Voit||Spr||0.600||Matt Fiedler||JC||1.039|
|Matt Fiedler||JC||0.584||Luke Voit||Spr||1.038|
|Stefan Trosclair||GCL||0.556||Stefan Trosclair||GCL||0.978|
|Brian O'Keefe||Peo||0.551||Julio Rodriguez||DSL||0.960|
|Julio Rodriguez||DSL||0.533||Allen Cordoba||JC||0.952|
|Jonathan Rivera||JC||0.529||Caleb Lopes||JC||0.952|
|Allen Cordoba||JC||0.525||Brian O'Keefe||Peo||0.943|
|Dylan Carlson||GCL||0.524||Magneuris Sierra||Peo||0.941|
|Magneuris Sierra||Peo||0.515||Paul DeJong||Spr||0.902|
Counting stats leaders
As usual, home runs were scarce in August. As noted above, just four hitters averaged a long ball per week, compared to seven individuals in July.
O’Keefe had a very strong and productive month for the Midwest League Chiefs, with a system-best six home runs and tying winner Voit with 20 RBI.
Short-season ball is especially well-represented among the RBI leaders, with three each from State College and Johnson City. The system co-leaders with 22 runs driven in are outfielder Vince Jackson of the Spikes and catcher Andrew Knizner of JC.
Other RBI leaders not mentioned previously are Bryce Denton of Johnson City and State College teammates Andy Young and Ryan McCarvel. The latter also swatted four long balls, tying Voit for third overall.
Though Jacob Wilson was sent down to Springfield from Memphis for a second time, the infielder did still launch five long balls in August, exactly half of his hits for the entire month.
|Brian O'Keefe||Peo||6||Vince Jackson||SC||22|
|Jacob Wilson||Spr-Mem||5||Andrew Knizner||JC||22|
|Luke Voit||Spr||4||Luke Voit||Spr||20|
|Ryan McCarvel||SC||4||Brian O'Keefe||Peo||20|
Leading the stolen base list are two middle infielders, Cordoba and second baseman Eliezer Alvarez of Peoria. Between them, the pair had two dozen steals and were caught just once. Five others snagged between five and seven steals each, all with strong success rates.
The system had tri-leaders in August with 23 runs scored apiece. Regulars Cordoba and Sierra were joined at the top by newcomer J.R. Davis of Johnson City. Next were more middle infielders in Tommy Edman of State College and Moises Castillo from the Dominican Summer League at 20 each.
|Allen Cordoba||JC||14/1||Allen Cordoba||JC||23|
|Eliezer Alvarez||Peo||10/0||Magneuris Sierra||Peo||23|
|Magneuris Sierra||Peo||7/4||J.R. Davis||JC||23|
|Oscar Mercado||PB||7/2||Tommy Edman||SC||20|
|Tommy Edman||SC||6/2||Moises Castillo||DSL||20|
|Shane Billings||JC||6/0||Matt Fiedler||JC||19|
|Wadye Ynfante||DSL-GCL||5/1||Andy Young||SC||19|
Seven hitters finished the month with at least 50 at-bats and batting averages under the Mendoza Line. It is interesting that four of the seven performed at multiple levels, with several taking a step back in competition.
One surprising name among the August strugglers is top 10 prospect Harrison Bader, who had a tough time adapting at Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals are likely hoping the outfielder’s end-of-season reboot at Springfield will propel him into a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League
July’s winner in August
How did Wadye Ynfante, our July Player of the Month, perform in August?
Though the outfielder did not dominate statistically, he did place among both the runs and stolen base leaders (in the table presented above) and was promoted to the Gulf Coast League when the DSL club was eliminated from post-season contention.
Between the two stops, Ynfante’s August line was a subdued .253/.330/.342/.671.
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|
|May||Jake Woodford||Jake Woodford||Rowan Wick||May|
|July||Matt Pearce||L Weaver/A Gomber||Brian Pirela||July|
|Player of Month|
|2016||Cards organization||The Cardinal Nation||2016|
|April||Harrison Bader||Harrison Bader||April|
|May||David Washington||David Washington||May|
|July||Allen Cordoba||Wadye Ynfante||July|
The Cardinal Nation’s August Starting and Relief Pitchers of the Month will be announced next, with the details exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.
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