Cards Minors Relievers of the Month - July

The Birdhouse recognizes the top relief pitching performances in ten categories across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. Justin Fiske is the overall relief pitcher of the month of July, 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 relievers 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 shown with a ‘TL' designation. 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 July, there were 19 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 six and two more ranked in the top five in five of the nine categories. Those were the three finalists. However, there was a clear winner.

Reliever of the Month for June 2007 –
LHP Justin Fiske, Batavia Muckdogs

6 G, 0-0, 0 SV, 8.1 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 0 BB, 14 SO, 0.00 ERA, 0.16 dERA, 0.96 WHIP, 14+:1 K/BB, 15 K/9 IP, 0 BB/9 IP, .258 BAA, .471 BABIP, 0.43 GO/FO

For the second consecutive month the Reliever of the Month is not a closer. However, Justin Fiske simply dominated in several key categories in which he was ranked and was the best alternative of the three possibilities.

The 22-year-old finished his college career with Texas State University where he was the closer during his junior year, the 2006 campaign. Fiske moved into the rotation his senior year before signing with the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League on June 20, 2007. During his last two college seasons Fiske walked just 63 in 641 at bats while striking out 181. St. Louis purchased his contract from Joliet on July 4th and he made is first appearance with Batavia five days later.

Fiske ranked first in all five of the categories in which he was ranked. He continued his college pattern of excellent control by not walking any of the 31 batters he faced during July while striking out 14 in eight and one-third innings. Although Fiske compiled an 0.96 WHIP, he did not rank in the top five in that category. He also did not rank in batting average against and ground-out-to-fly-out ratio.

Honorable Mention
RHP Josh Dew, Batavia Muckdogs
9 G, 6 SV, 0-0, 10.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 1 HB, 1 BB, 12 SO, 1.69 ERA, 1.34 dERA, 0.84 WHIP, 12:1 K/BB, 10.1 K/9 IP, 0.8 BB/9 IP, .205 BAA, .296 BABIP, 1:1 GO/FO

Batavia's closer merited strong consideration for Reliever of the Month by ranking in five of the nine categories: DIPS Earned Run Average, WHIP, Strike-Out-to-Walk ratio, Control and Saves. Dew held opposing batters to a .205 average and did not make the top five in that category. Like Fiske, Dew is 22 and pitches out of the Batavia bullpen. Dew was selected in the 14th round of the June 2007 draft out of Troy University where he was the Trojans' closer. He struck out 97 in 65.1 innings and hit .325/.440/.500/.940 in 206 at bats.

RHP Brian Falkenborg, Memphis Redbirds
10 G, 6 SV, 0-0, 10 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 2 BB, 15 SO, 0.00 ERA, 1.02 dERA, 1.00 WHIP, 7.5:1 K/BB, 13.5 K/9 IP, 1.8 BB/9 IP, .211 BAA, .348 BABIP, 1.14:1 GO/FO

Brian Falkenborg ranked in six of the nine categories which was the highest among qualifying relievers. Given that fact plus the level at which he competes made him a contender for Reliever of the Month. However, the 29-year-old does not meet any criteria for ‘prospect' which was a severe negative. In fact his example is a good illustration of just how difficult it can be to make it to The Show. Falkenborg regularly succeeds at the highest minor league level but has yet to stick in the Majors. Nevertheless, his July performance is worthy of an individual mention.

Earned Run Average
The Best – Four-Way Tie
RHP Brian Falkenborg, Memphis Redbirds
10 G, 0.00 ERA, no earned runs in 10 innings pitched

LHP Justin Fiske, Batavia Muckdogs
6 G, 0.00 ERA, no earned runs in eight and one-third innings pitched

RHP Eduardo Sanchez, Johnson City Cardinals/GCL Cardinals
9 G, 0.00 ERA, no earned runs in nine and two-thirds innings pitched

LHP Matt Spade, GCL Cardinals
9 G, 0.00 ERA, no earned runs in 11 innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

ERA 

IP 

ER 

Team

Level

5

Worrell, Mark

0.68

9

13.1

1

Memphis

Triple-A

TL -

Maiques, Kenny

0.75

11

12

1

Quad Cities

A

TL -

Mikrut, Jon

0.98

11

18.1

2

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL -

Motte, Jason

1.00

10

9

1

Springfield

Double-A

DIPS Earned Run Average
The Best
LHP Justin Fiske, Batavia Muckdogs
6 G, 0.16 dERA, 0.16 dearned runs in 8.9 dIP

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

dERA

dIP

dER

Team

Level

2

Falkenborg, Brian

10

1.02

10.74

1.22

Memphis

Triple-A

3

Dew, Josh

9

1.34

10.95

1.62

Batavia

Short-A

4

Schellinger, Mike

7

1.40

17.30

2.69

Quad Cities

A

5

Spade, Matt

9

1.45

10.39

1.67

GCL Cards

Rookie

TL -

McClellan, Kyle

9

2.07

10.84

2.49

Springfield

Double-A

TL -

Gregerson, Luke

10

2.05

13.97

3.18

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL -

Sanchez, Eduardo

9

1.89

8.78

1.84

JC/GCL

Rookie

WHIP
The Best
RHP Chris Perez, Memphis Redbirds/Springfield Cardinals
10 G, 9 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 0.67 WHIP, 1.00 ERA (Yes, he gave up only one hit the entire month. One.)

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

ERA 

IP 

BB 

WHIP 

Team

Level

2

Maiques, Kenny

0.75

12

3

6

0.75

Quad Cities

A

3

Sanchez, Eduardo

0.00

9.2

2

6

0.83

JC/GCL

Rookie

4

Dew, Josh

1.69

10.2

8

1

0.84

Batavia

Short-A

5 - tie

Schellinger, Mike

2.55

17.2

12

4

0.91

Quad Cities

A

5 - tie

Spade, Matt

0.00

11

7

3

0.91

GCL Cards

Rookie

TL -

Zuercher, Zack

2.92

12.1

11

3

1.14

Springfield

Double-A

TL -

Ransom, Robert

1.29

14

10

3

0.93

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

Strike-Outs-to-Walks Ratio
The Best
LHP Justin Fiske, Batavia Muckdogs
14+:1 ratio, 14 strikeouts to no walks in eight and one-third innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

IP 

BB

SO

K/BB

Team

Level

2

Dew, Josh

10.2

1

12

12.00

Batavia

Short-A

3

Falkenborg, Brian

10

2

15

7.50

Memphis

Triple-A

4

Jimenez, Kelvin

7.1

1

7

7.00

Memphis

Triple-A

5

Ginter, Matt

14

2

12

6.00

Memphis

Triple-A

TL -

Motte, Jason

9

3

15

5.00

Springfield

Double-A

TL -

Gregerson, Luke

11.2

3

13

4.33

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL -

Schellinger, Mike

17.2

4

22

5.50

Quad Cities

A

TL -

Gonzalez, Dylan

8

3

8

2.67

Johnson City

Rookie

TL -

Spade, Matt

11

3

14

4.67

GCL Cards

Rookie

The Flamethrowers
The Best
LHP Justin Fiske, Batavia Muckdogs
15.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, 14 strikeouts in eight and one-third innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

IP 

SO

K/9 IP

Team

Level

2

Motte, Jason

9

15

15.00

Springfield

Double-A

3

Sanchez, Eduardo

9.2

15

13.96

JC/GCL

Rookie

4

Falkenborg, Brian

10

15

13.50

Memphis

Triple-A

5

Perez, Chris

9

12

12.00

Memphis/Sp

 

TL -

Smith, Donnie

10.1

12

10.45

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL -

Schellinger, Mike

17.2

22

11.21

Quad Cities

A

TL -

Spade, Matt

11

14

11.45

GCL Cards

Rookie

The Control Artists
The Best
LHP Justin Fiske, Batavia Muckdogs
0.00 walks per nine innings pitched, no walks in eight and one-third innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

IP 

BB

BB/9 IP

Team

Level

7

Dew, Josh

10.2

1

0.84

Batavia

Short-A

7

Jimenez, Kelvin

7.1

1

1.23

Memphis

Triple-A

7

Ginter, Matt

14

2

1.29

Memphis

Triple-A

7

Falkenborg, Brian

10

2

1.80

Memphis

Triple-A

TL -

Zuercher, Zack

12.1

3

2.19

Springfield

Double-A

TL -

Ransom, Robert

14

3

1.93

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL -

Mura, Kyle

14.1

3

1.88

Quad Cities

A

TL -

Gonzalez, Dylan

8

3

3.38

Johnson City

Rookie

TL -

Spade, Matt

11

3

2.45

GCL Cards

Rookie

Lowest Batting Average Against
The Best
RHP Chris Perez, Memphis Redbirds/Springfield Cardinals
Opponents hit just .038 against him - 34 batters faced Perez and only one got a hit in nine innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

IP 

H

TBF

BAA

Team

Level

2

Sanchez, Eduardo

9.2

2

36

0.067

JC/GCL

Rookie

3

Maiques, Kenny

12

3

43

0.081

Quad Cities

A

4

Mendoza, Wladimir

8.2

2

40

0.083

Johnson City

Rookie

5

Bilardello, Davis

9

4

41

0.133

Batavia

Short-A

TL

Zuercher, Zack

12.1

11

50

0.239

Springfield

Double-A

TL

Mikrut, Jon

18.1

14

75

0.212

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL

Delgado, Ramon

6.2

4

29

0.160

GCL Cards

Rookie

No ‘Flies' on Me (Best GO/FO Ratio)
The Best
RHP Kelvin Jimenez, Memphis Redbirds
14:1 GO/FO ratio, 14 groundouts to one fly out in seven and one-third innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

IP 

GO

FO

SO

GO/FO

Team

Level

2

Carrasco, Armando

20

27

8

22

3.38

Quad Cities

A

3

Delgado, Ramon

6.2

9

3

8

3.00

GCL Cards

Rookie

4

Silva, Ray

9.2

15

5

11

3.00

Johnson City

Rookie

5

McClellan, Kyle

11.1

17

6

11

2.83

Springfield

Double-A

TL

Gregerson, Luke

11.2

17

8

13

2.13

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL

Collier, Logan

6.1

9

5

4

1.80

Batavia

Short-A

Saves
The Best – Four-Way Tie
RHP Brian Falkenborg, Memphis Redbirds
10 game appearances, six saves, 10 innings pitched

RHP Chris Perez, Memphis Redbirds/Springfield Cardinals
10 game appearances, six saves, nine innings pitched

RHP Kenny Maiques, Swing of the Quad Cities
11 game appearances, six saves, 12 innings pitched

RHP Josh Dew, Batavia Muckdogs
Nine game appearances, six saves, 10.2 innings pitched

Balance of the Top Five

Rank

Player 

SV 

IP 

Team

Level

5

Gregerson, Luke

10

3

11.2

Palm Beach

A-Adv.

TL

Sanchez, Eduardo

9

5

9.2

JC/GCL

Rookie

TL

Lugo, Rigoberto

7

3

7

GCL Cards

Rookie

Qualifiers (44): LHP Davis Bilardello, RHP Jason Cairns, RHP Armando Carrasco, RHP Hugo Castellanos, RHP Andy Cavazos, RHP Logan Collier, RHP Michael Cooper, RHP Wayne Daman, RHP Ramon Delgado, RHP Josh Dew, RHP Brian Falkenborg, RHP Chuckie Fick, LHP Justin Fiske, LHP Josh Fritsche, RHP Matt Ginter, RHP Dylan Gonzalez, RHP Marco Gonzalez, RHP Luke Gregerson, RHP Kelvin Jimenez, RHP Chris Lambert, RHP Rigoberto Lugo, RHP Kenny Maiques, RHP LaCurtis Mayes, RHP Kyle McClellan, LHP Wladimir Mendoza, RHP Jon Mikrut, RHP Jason Motte, RHP Kyle Mura, RHP Chris Perez, RHP Joel Pichardo, RHP Robert Ransom, LHP Ryan Riddle, RHP Chris Russ, RHP Kyle Sadlowski, RHP Eduardo Sanchez, RHP Mike Schellinger, RHP Matt Scherer, RHP Ray Silva, RHP Donnie Smith, LHP Matt Spade, RHP Matt Trent, RHP Nick Webber, RHP Mark Worrell, LHP Zack Zuercher

Non-Qualifiers (7): LHP Troy Cate, RHP Steve Hill, LHP Ryan Hodinka, RHP Jose Rada, RHP Julio Sanchez, RHP Mike Sillman (rehab). RHP Scott Vander Weg



© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


The Cardinal Nation Top Stories