Cards Minors Relievers of the Month - June

The Birdhouse recognizes the top relief pitching performances in ten categories across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. Kyle McClellan is the overall relief pitcher of the month for June, 2007.

Now it is time to hail the pitchers who toil in relative obscurity but are vital to the performance of every pitching staff, the relievers. We recognize those bullpenners leading the entire St. Louis Cardinals minor league system in ten categories. As with the starters, the "Relief Pitcher of the Month" award will be based on their overall performance in all of the given categories.

We let you know which reliever led each team in any given category plus a top five. The pitcher listed first at each level is that team's ‘Team Leader'. If a team does not have a pitcher in the top five, a team leader is designated a ‘TL'. To qualify for consideration, a reliever must have spent the majority of the month pitching out of the bullpen, appeared in at least five games in a relief role and pitched at least five innings. A list of qualifying and non-qualifying pitchers is included at the end. Those pitchers changing teams during the month are listed by the team with which they ended the month. Their stats have been combined.

Methodology for Choosing the Overall Winner
The top five in each of nine categories were ranked numerically one through five with the team leader being noted only if that team did not have a representative in the top five. (The tenth category is the overall ‘Reliever of the Month'.) For June, there were 15 qualifying relievers that placed in the top five in at least one category. Although no reliever placed in the top five in all nine categories, there was one that ranked in the top five in seven of nine and two more ranked in the top five in six of the nine categories. Those were the three finalists. However, there was a clear winner.

Reliever of the Month for June 2007 –
RHP Kyle McClellan, Springfield Cardinals/Palm Beach Cardinals

9 G, 0 SV, 2-0, 14.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 3 BB, 18 SO, 0.00 ERA, 1.25 dERA, 0.56 WHIP, 6:1 K/BB, 11 K/9 IP, 1.9 BB/9 IP, .104 BAA, .167 BABIP, 1.18 GO/FO

For the first time this season, the Reliever of the Month is not a closer. But Kyle McClellan had a superb month while being among the leaders in innings pitched for relievers. He was the obvious winner.

After missing much of the 2006 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, McClellan underwent yet another operation during the off-season to remove his ulnar nerve. He was activated on the Palm Beach roster on May 1st and appears to be pitching as if to make up for lost time. McClellan was first in three of the seven categories in which he ranked and was second in two others. The only categories in which he did not place were Ground Out-to-Fly Out ratio and Saves and he did not qualify for the latter category.

McClellan joined what is arguably the best bullpen in the Cardinals' minor league system on June 21st when he was promoted to Springfield. There he joins closer Chris Perez, set-up man Jason Motte and lefty Zack Zuercher to comprise the most competitive bullpen in the system. Five of the top ten ranked relievers for this award were members of the Springfield Cardinals bullpen. The 23-year-old is a 2002 draft pick.

Honorable Mention
RHP Jason Motte, Springfield Cardinals
12 G, 1 SV, 3--0, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 HB, 6 BB, 16 SO, 0.66 ERA, 2,18 dERA, 1.17 WHIP, 2.7:1 K/BB, 10.5 K/9 IP, 3.9 BB/9 IP, .213 BAA, .323 BABIP, 0.71:1 GO/FO

The Birdhouse's April Reliever of the Month put together a very good June as well. Motte ranked in six of the nine categories, missing out in Control, Batting Average Against and Ground Out-to-Fly Out ratio. Motte's control remains a bit high but is down from May's average of 5.7 per nine innings. His GO/FO ratio has gone from 1.7:1 in April to 2.3:1 in May to this month's 0.67:1.

RHP Kenny Maiques, Swing of the Quad Cities
9 G, 6 SV, 0-2, 9.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HB, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0.93 ERA, 3.71 dERA, 0.93 WHIP, 4:1 K/BB, 7.5 K/9 IP, 1.8 BB/9 IP, .212 BAA, .250 BABIP, 5.7:1 GO/FO

The Swing's closer placed in six of the nine categories and was the team leader in two others. Maiques was second in three of the six categories in which he was ranked. The only category in which he was neither ranked nor the team leader was strike outs. The 22-year-old has limited professional experience due to prior injuries. He underwent Tommy John surgery just prior to being drafted by the Cardinals in 2005 and missed most of 2006 with a forearm injury.

Earned Run Average
The Best - Tie
RHP Kyle McClellan, Springfield Cardinals/Palm Beach Cardinals
9 G, 0.00 ERA, no earned runs in 14.1 innings pitched

LHP Zack Zuercher, Springfield Cardinals
7 G, 0.00 ERA, no earned runs in six innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  ERA  IP  ER  Team Level
3 Webber, Nick 0.60 10 15 1 Springfield Double-A
4 Motte, Jason 0.66 12 13.2 1 Springfield Double-A
5 Maiques, Kenny 0.93 9 9.2 1 Quad Cities A
TL - Mikrut, Jon 0.96 8 9.1 1 Palm Beach A-Advanced
TL - Percival, Troy 1.35 6 6.2 1 Memphis Triple-A

DIPS Earned Run Average
The Best
RHP Kyle McClellan, Springfield Cardinals/Palm Beach Cardinals
9 G, 1.25 dERA, 1.9 dearned runs in 13.5 dIP

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  dERA dIP dER Team Level
2 Motte, Jason 12 2.18 13.30 3.22 Springfield Double-A
3 Webber, Nick 10 2.72 14.15 4.28 Springfield Double-A
4 Smith, Donnie 6 2.75 15.14 4.62 Palm Beach A-Advanced
5 Percival, Troy 6 2.78 6.75 2.08 Memphis Triple-A
TL - Maiques, Kenny 9 3.71 9.10 3.75 Quad Cities A

WHIP
The Best
RHP Jon Mikrut, Palm Beach Cardinals
8 G, 9.1 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 0.54 WHIP, 0.96 ERA

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  ERA  IP  BB  WHIP  Team
2 McClellan, Kyle 0.00 9 14.1 5 3 0.56 Sp/PB
3 Zuercher, Zack 0.00 7 6 1 4 0.83 Springfield
4 Maiques, Kenny 0.93 9 9.2 7 2 0.93 Quad Cities
5 Motte, Jason 0.66 12 13.2 10 6 1.17 Springfield
TL - Percival, Troy 1.35 6 6.2 4 5 1.35 Memphis

Strike-Outs-to-Walks Ratio
The Best
RHP Kyle McClellan, Springfield Cardinals/Palm Beach Cardinals
6:1 ratio, 18 strikeouts to three walks in 14.1 innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  IP  BB  SO  K/BB Team Level
2 Maiques, Kenny 9.2 2 8 4.00 Quad Cities A
3 Scherer, Matt 10.2 5 16 3.20 Springfield Double-A
4 Sadlowski, Kyle 9 3 9 3.00 Quad Cities A
5 Motte, Jason 13.2 6 16 2.67 Quad Cities A
TL - Worrell, Mark 13.2 6 15 2.50 Memphis Triple-A

The Flamethrowers
The Best
RHP Matt Scherer, Springfield Cardinals
13.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, 16 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  IP  SO  K/9 IP Team Level
2 Percival, Troy 6.2 9 12.14 Memphis Triple-A
3 Perez, Chris 11.1 15 11.90 Springfield Double-A
4 McClellan, Kyle 14.1 18 11.30 Sp/PB
5 Motte, Jason 13.2 16 10.54 Springfield Double-A
TL - Gregerson, Luke 9.1 7 6.75 Palm Beach A-Advanced
TL - Sadlowski, Kyle 9 9 9.00 Quad Cities A

The Control Artists
The Best
RHP Jon Mikrut, Palm Beach Cardinals
0.00 walks per nine innings pitched, no walks in nine and one-third innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  IP  BB  BB/9 IP Team Level
2 Vander Weg, Scott 10.1 2 1.74 Palm Beach A-Advanced
3 Maiques, Kenny 9.2 2 1.86 Quad Cities A
4 McClellan, Kyle 14.1 3 1.88 Sp/PB
5 Mura, Kyle 8.1 2 2.16 Quad Cities A
TL - Lambert, Chris 15.2 6 3.45 Memphis Triple-A

Lowest Batting Average Against
The Best
LHP Zack Zuercher, Springfield Cardinals
Opponents hit just .053 against him - 23 batters faced Zuercher and only one got a hit in six innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  IP  TBF BAA Team Level
2 McClellan, Kyle 14.1 5 51 0.104 Sp/PB
3 Mikrut, Jon 9.1 5 34 0.147 Palm Beach A-Advanced
4 Percival, Troy 6.2 4 30 0.167 Memphis Triple-A
5 Perez, Chris 11.1 7 55 0.175 Palm Beach A-Advanced
TL Maiques, Kenny 9.2 7 37 0.212 Quad Cities A

No ‘Flies' on Me (Best GO/FO Ratio)
The Best
RHP Luke Gregerson, Palm Beach Cardinals
20:1 GO/FO ratio, 20 groundouts to one fly out in nine and one-third innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  IP  GO FO SO GO/FO Team Level
2 Maiques, Kenny 9.2 17 3 8 5.67 Quad Cities A
3 Sadlowski, Kyle 9 12 3 9 4.00 Quad Cities A
4 Mura, Kyle 8.1 14 4 5 3.50 Quad Cities A
5 Webber, Nick 15 25 8 10 3.13 Springfield Double-A
TL - Castellanos, Hugo 14 22 13 5 1.69 Memphis Triple-A

Saves
The Best
RHP Chris Perez, Springfield Cardinals
11 game appearances, nine saves, 11.1 innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank Player  SV  IP  Team Level
2 - tie Gregerson, Luke 6 6 9.1 Palm Beach A-Advanced
2 - tie Maiques, Kenny 6 6 9.2 Quad Cities A
6 Falkenborg, Brian 6 5 10.1 Memphis Triple-A
5 - tie Sadlowski, Kyle 6 1 9 Quad Cities A
5 - tie Motte, Jason 7 1 13.2 Springfield Double-A

Qualifiers (23): RHP Hugo Castellanos, RHP Michael Cooper, RHP Brian Falkenborg, RHP Jose Garcia, RHP Luke Gregerson, RHP Trey Hearne, RHP Chris Lambert, RHP Kenny Maiques, RHP Kyle McClellan, RHP Jon Mikrut, RHP Jason Motte, RHP Kyle Mura, RHP Troy Percival. RHP Chris Perez, RHP Kyle Sadlowski, RHP Mike Schellinger, RHP Matt Scherer, RHP Donnie Smith, RHP Matt Trent, RHP Scott Vander Weg, RHP Nick Webber, RHP Mark Worrell, LHP Zack Zuercher

Non-Qualifiers (8): RHP Armando Carrasco, RHP Andy Cavazos, RHP Dennis Dove, RHP Matt Ginter, RHP Marco Gonzalez, RHP Kelvin Jimenez, RHP Mark Sillman, RHP Brian Stitt

The Birdhouse
Cards Minor League Relievers of the Month
April, 2007 Jason Motte link to story
May, 2007 Luke Gregerson link to story




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