Cards Players of the Year: Memphis

Number seven 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 look in on the Memphis Redbirds of the Triple-A Pacific Coast 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.




Here are the bright spots from the 2007 season for the Memphis Redbirds:



Starting Pitcher of the Year:  Mike Parisi


Judging strictly from a statistical standpoint, Parisi didn't have the type of year that jumps off the page.  He compiled an 8-13 record as well as a 4.91 ERA in 28 starts.  Look closer though, and you will see that he led thee team with 165 innings pitched as well as collecting 111 strikeouts.  Parisi proved to be a workhorse who refused to miss a start because of nagging injuries and consistently put together solid outings. 


Parisi was never dominant or overpowering but he always kept his team in the game and never gave in.  The improvement he showed from his first start to his last were definitely noticeable as he seemed to gain better command as well as get more break on his curveball.  Parisi's first year in AAA may not have been what he imagined but it is certainly a building block.


Honorable Mention:  Randy Keisler


Keisler was third on the team with 156 innings pitched while posting a 4.79 ERA in 24 starts.  Keisler was up and down between the Cardinals and the Redbirds and he provided a solid foundation for the Redbird rotation.



Reliever of the Year: Mark Worrell


As the Redbirds' lone All-Star representative, it can be said that Mark Worrell received his fair share of recognition as a standout on the hill.  Still, at times it seemed like Worrell was often overlooked as part of a solid bullpen for Memphis.  Worrell posted a 3-2 record to go along with 3.09 ERA over 67 innings.  The right-hander struck out just under a batter inning as he collected 66 strikeouts.


Honorable Mention:  Brian Falkenborg


In a season that saw Falkenborg become the all-time save leader for the Pacific Coast League, he recorded 23 saves over 51 games. Falkenborg also posted a 3.25 ERA over 52.2 innings. 



Position Player of the Year:  Rick Ankiel


This was more obvious than the sun rising and setting; Ankiel was obviously the main attraction in Memphis and their Player of the Year.  Ankiel hit 32 home runs and had 89 RBI in Memphis before being called up and sparking the big league club. 


Ankiel was responsible for towering home runs as well as spectacular plays in the field whether it be tracking down a deep fly or unleashing a rope from centerfield.  He was all over the place for the Redbirds and was easily the Player of the Year.


Honorable Mention:  Edgar Gonzalez


Gonzalez was a stalwart for the team the whole year, getting into 126 games and hitting .308.  Gonzalez also had 34 doubles as well as eight home runs while playing all over the field wherever and whenever he was needed. Position Player Starting Pitcher Relief Pitcher
Cards Players
of the Year
Memphis (AAA) Rick Ankiel Mike Parisi Mark Worrell
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:  2007 Relief Pitcher of the Year for the entire Cardinals' minor league system.



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