Palm Beach Cards Starter of the Year: 2008

Our Palm Beach Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2008 is right-hander Shaun Garceau. The 21-year-old paced the Florida State League club's starters in ERA, wins (tied) and opponent batting average. The right-hander discusses his season and what lies ahead in an exclusive audio interview.

Most watchers of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system are familiar with one complicating factor in selecting a Starting Pitcher of the Year, the tandem starting rotation, used for roughly the first half of the season from the A-ball level and down.

 

Another phenomena experienced in 2008 was the rapid, aggressive promotions of players from level to level. One by-product is that in their 138 regular-season games this past campaign, 20 different Palm Cardinals starting pitchers took the mound at Roger Dean Stadium for the A-Advanced Florida State League club.

 

Being the site of the organization's Florida training camp, Jupiter offered a convenient place for rehabbing players to get their game legs back under them. Such was the case for Mark Mulder, Jason Isringhausen and Matt Clement, each of whom took a summer turn in Florida.

 

Still, even without them, the revolving door of player movement may have been spinning harder in Palm Beach than in any other of the Cardinals affiliates during 2008.

 

Six pitchers started a total of 84 of those games, led by Brad Furnish with 20 and Brandon Dickson and Shaun Garceau with 17 each. Kyle Mura, Mark Diapoules and Tyler Herron brought up the rear with 11, ten and nine, respectively.

 

Herron is disqualified for further consideration here because he pitched a majority of his innings this season with Springfield. Though he was in the same situation, I want to acknowledge Jess Todd as one of six Cardinals and their only starting pitcher named to the Florida State League All-Star Game. Having already been promoted to Double-A, Todd did not pitch in the contest.

 

Let's look at the 2008 Palm Beach stats of each of the five qualifiers, both in total games ("TG" on the left) and in the subset of games in which they started ("GS" on the right). Players are listed in ascending ERA order with category leaders in bold.

 

Palm Beach P TG ERA W OBA WHIP GS OBA WHIP
Shaun Garceau RH 18 3.42 8 0.201 1.27 17 0.204 1.24
Brandon Dickson RH 23 3.51 7 0.269 1.35 17 0.279 1.35
Kyle Mura RH 16 4.21 5 0.282 1.17 11 0.275 1.18
Mark Diapoules RH 11 4.29 3 0.280 1.59 10 0.274 1.48
Brad Furnish LH 25 5.17 8 0.247 1.38 20 0.251 1.41

 

Garceau paced the group with a 3.42 ERA, was co-leader with eight wins and his opponent batting average was lowest, both in total innings and as a Palm Beach starter only. Because of his excellent control, Mura is the leader in WHIP, walks and hits per innings pitched, but when looking at starter's innings only, second-ranked Garceau cut the small gap between the two almost in half.

 

In addition to his regular season results, the 21-year-old Garceau won the most important at the time and what would be the only victory of the post-season for the Cardinals on September 4.

 

Down 1-0 and having lost home field advantage to the Daytona Cubs, Palm Beach had to win game two on the road to stay alive and return home for the deciding third game. All Garceau did was take the ball for 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs and leading his club to the true must-win victory.

 

For those contributions and more, Shaun Garceau is our 2008 Scout.com Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year for the Palm Beach Cardinals.

 

Garceau, who was 20 years old for most of the season, put together his second consecutive solid season of work after having missed the entire 2006 schedule following two leg surgeries. The Floridian was taken as a high-schooler by the Cardinals in the 20th round of the 2005 draft.

 

As much due to congestion in the starting pitching ranks in the system as anything, Garceau was returned to Quad Cities to start the 2008 campaign. To his credit, the right-hander pitched so well, he was named the Starting Pitcher of the Month of April with the River Bandits. Soon, the promotion to Palm Beach followed.

 

In a recent interview here at The Birdhouse, Cardinals farm director Jeff Luhnow made it clear that he believes Garceau deserves the chance to compete for a berth in the Double-A Springfield Cardinals 2009 rotation. Due to his career-high in innings pitched this season, 127 1/3, Garceau was ordered to take the winter off from competitive pitching, however.

 

I contacted Garceau to congratulate him on his recognition and while I had him on the phone, we discussed a variety of other topics. They include pitching at home in front of family and friends and with his fellow South Floridians and end-of-season rotation mates, Diapoules, Herron and Nick Additon.

 

Other topics are his start to the season, his workload and health, his velocity and secondary pitches, his improvement in home runs yielded over 2007, his off-season plans and much more.

 

(8:35)

 

Other leaders

 

Additon earned Florida State League Player of the Week (week ending August 24) and the Cardinals August organizational Player of the Month awards while with the Cardinals as well as being named our Quad Cities Starting Pitcher of the Year.

 

Mura (w/e June 1) and Herron (w/e August 3) each picked up FSL Pitcher of the Week recognition this season. Todd, who ended the season in Triple-A, also took the organizational Pitcher of the Month honors in April while starting for Palm Beach.

 

Congratulations to our Palm Beach Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year, Shaun Garceau!

 

 

Master article with all 2008 Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Players of the Year and the schedule for daily announcements: link. (This link is also permanently located at the lower left of The Birdhouse home page.)

 

 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net

 

© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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