Cards Players of Year: Palm Beach

Sixth in a ten-part series where our correspondents identify the top starting pitchers, relievers and position players by level from the St. Louis Cardinals system during the 2007 season. This time, we check in on the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Class-A Florida State League.

Editor's note: Check back here through November 25 as our local writers call out the top players – starter, reliever and position player - at each level of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. We'll conclude the series with the top three players across the entire organization – our 2007 Cardinals Players of the Year.




Unlike when ranking Batavia, I found the 2007 Palm Beach Cardinals had many top candidates to choose from.  Palm Beach witnessed pitching performances that ranked with the leaders in the Florida State League while one of its hitters broke out as one of the top power prospects in the system. 


We'll first look at the outstanding pitching performances and then move on to a breakout performance at the plate.



Starting Pitcher of the Year - Adam Ottavino


The Cardinals' first-round selection in the 2006 draft continues to solidify himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the system.  Ottavino finished first on the staff in wins with 12, which ranked second in the final Florida State League standings, first on the staff in ERA with a mark of 3.08 – ranking third in the FSL, second in innings pitched with 143 - ranking third in the league, and second on the team in strikeouts with 128 - ranking third in the league. 


Ottavino was twice selected as the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week and was named a Mid-Season All-Star.


Tyler Norrick deserves mention as he made a strong case for the honor as well.  An often overlooked prospect in the Cardinals system, Norrick finished second on the team in wins with 11 – that ranked him third in the FSL, second in ERA - ranking tenth in the FSL, first in innings with 165 which was tops in the league, and first on the team in strikeouts with 134 which ranked second in the FSL. 


Norrick was selected as a Mid-Season All-Star.



Relief Pitcher of the Year - Luke Gregerson


Gregerson stood out head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to the Palm Beach bullpen.  The 23-year old dominated Florida State League hitters posting a 1.97 ERA.  Gregerson's 29 saves ranked third in the league while he averaged more than a strikeout an inning. 


Gregerson was selected as a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star.


Jon Mikrut established himself as a reliever to watch.  In 68 innings over 53 games, Mikrut posted a 2.91 ERA. 



Position Player of the Year - Allen Craig


Craig made this selection a no-brainer as he led the way in the team's Triple Crown categories.  The University of California product hit .312 with 21 home runs and 77 runs batted in.  Not only did he rank so highly on his own team but Craig ranked among the leaders in the Florida State League as well.  The ninth round pick of the 2006 draft finished second in average and total bases, third in OPS, slugging percentage, and home runs and fifth in runs batted in and runs scored.  


Craig was recognized for his efforts with a Florida State League Player of the Week honor, a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star choice and selection as the FSL All-Star Game Top Star.  


Mark Hamilton was putting together a strong case for this honor before being promoted to Springfield.  The first baseman hit .290/.348/.520 with 13 home runs and 49 runs batted in.  The latter two numbers were second on the team even though he only put in a half season's work. 


Before being promoted, Hamilton was twice named the FSL Player of the Week as well as being selected as a Mid-Season All-Star. 


Dan Nelson deserves mentioning for the year he had getting on base.  The 23-year-old led the team in on base percentage with a mark of .378. He finished second in the FSL in walks with 80 and sixth in the league with 76 runs scored. Position Player Starting Pitcher Relief Pitcher
Cards Players
of the Year
Memphis (AAA)
Springfield (AA) Colby Rasmus Mitchell Boggs Jason Motte
Palm Beach (A+) Allen Craig Adam Ottavino Luke Gregerson
Quad Cities (A) Jared Schweitzer  Brandon Dickson Kenny Maiques
Batavia (SS) Steven Hill Jess Todd Josh Dew
Johnson City (SS) Beau Riportella Brian Broderick Eduardo Sanchez
Gulf Coast (SS) D'Marcus Ingram Carlos Gonzalez Reynier Gonzalez
Domincan (SS) Juan Mosquera Arquimedes Nieto  Angel Tapia
Venezuelan (SS) Ismael Cardona  Richard Castillo  Carlos Oraa


(Click on the team name highlighted above to be taken to that detailed article.)


Next up:  Memphis Redbirds of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.



Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at


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