On Monday, September 1,
the Memphis Redbirds brought their second-best-ever Pacific Coast League season
to a victorious close with a 4-2 win over
The Redbirds pitching formula for
victory was familiar and notable in that starter Mitchell Boggs and closer Jason Motte picked up the win and save,
respectively. It should come as no surprise that the two have been named our top
starter and reliever, respectively, on the 2008
In what would be his final outing
of the season, Boggs frustrated the visitors from
Motte, who was yesterday's winner of our Memphis Redbirds Reliever of the Year Award for 2008, finished the game and notched his ninth save of the year in the process.
the strong season-ending showing, Boggs took the 2008 PCL Earned Run Average
title away from
In the process, Boggs
tied for the club lead in wins. He also paced the Redbirds in innings-pitched
(125 1/3) and finished with a stellar WHIP of 1.22, second among starters on the
team (John Wasdin). In a less-pleasant category, his 48 walks were
All season long, Boggs limited opposing hitters to a collective .235 batting average, though he is considerably more effective against right-handers than left-handed hitters (.189 vs. .286).
Yet, despite these lofty stats at the highest level of play short of the majors, there seems quiet trepidation about Boggs, a fear that he is good, but perhaps not good enough.
After all, with that September 1
start, Boggs was deemed to be done for the year as he was not recalled to
Boggs was hardly a stopper for the big-league Cardinals with a 7.41 ERA, more walks than strikeouts and an opposing batting average of .304, but many pitchers stub their toe in their first introduction to the majors.
Prior to 2008, Boggs had
been well recognized, named to the Arizona Fall League's "Rising Stars Showcase"
just one year ago, was a 2007 Mid-Season All-Star in the Double-A Texas League
and a Post-Season All-Star in the Florida State League in 2006. The latter came
just one year after his introduction to professional ball after having been
drafted in the fifth round in 2005 from the
On one hand, they love him. BA awarded Boggs a berth on their post-season Triple-A All-Star Team, one of only three starters across all 30 Triple-A squads to be recognized and the only starting representative from the entire PCL.
Apparently, PCL managers also love Boggs. Reporting their collective opinion in their annual "Best Tools" report in late August, BA labeled Mitchell Boggs the "Best Pitching Prospect" in the league.
Yet, just a few weeks later, the same source ranked him only #17 among the league's top prospects, and sixth among PCL pitchers. In this report, based on input from managers and scouts, BA gave a nod to Boggs' low 90's two- and four-seamers with good sink and cut along with his out pitch, a sharp-breaking slider.
Between the lines, there are concerns, covered up by nice-isms for a perceived overachiever like "high baseball IQ", "outstanding competitor" and "a pitcher, not a thrower".
Boggs may not have stuff that impresses the scouts or velocity that blows out the radar guns, yet that can be no debate that he was the best pitcher on a very good Memphis Redbirds staff this past season.
In his own words
Contacted by The Birdhouse with news of this award, Boggs took the time to answer a few questions.
Mitchell, how do you view your 2008 season?
was a very successful season not only for me, but also my teammates in
do you have planned for this off-season?
"This off-season, I will continue the strength and conditioning program I am already into and I will begin my throwing program in the winter where I will work as hard as I can to try to do the things I need to do to give myself the best chance to make the Big League club out of spring. Other than that, I will spend the majority of my time with family and friends who I don't get to see as much during our busy season."
are your goals for 2009?
"My goal for 2009 is simple; I want to be in
We at The Birdhouse are pleased to honor Mitchell Boggs as our Scout.com Memphis Redbirds Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2008.
Other top starting pitching performances
Following his early-season call-up
from Double-A Springfield, right-hander P.J. Walters would go on to lead the
Redbirds with 23 starts. He fanned an impressive, team-high 122 in 122 innings,
but also led the staff in walks with 62. Walters tied Boggs and swingman John
Wasdin for the
Aggressively pushed upward since
being drafted in the supplemental first round in 2007, righty Clayton Mortensen had an up and down
Triple-A debut after his arrival from Springfield in early June. The tall
23-year-old walked 42 and fanned 67 in 80 innings. His ERA was 5.51, perhaps due
in part to his groundout-to-flyout proclivity dropping substantially from
Coming into this season, our top
pitching prospect on the Redbirds and the entire Cardinals system in fact, was
lefty Jaime Garcia. His season began
in Double-A (notice the trend?) and ended with "Tommy John" elbow ligament
replacement surgery. In between, the 22-year-old made 12 starts for
Had his season not ended prematurely due to the need for the same elbow procedure as Garcia, Mike Parisi could have been a strong contender for this award. The right-hander made 15 Triple-A starts and chalked up eight wins with a 3.86 ERA, and also made his MLB debut in what would have been his second full season with the Redbirds.
First drafted in 2001 and seemingly healthy now, the enigma named Blake Hawksworth seems unable to ready himself to make the next step, watching as Parisi and Garcia passed him on the way to the bigs. The righty struck out 83 in 88 2/3 innings, but was extremely hittable. Despite pitching 2/3 the innings of the leaders, Hawksworth yielded the most hits on the team (111) and his ERA and WHIP showed it (a team-worst 6.09 and 1.68, respectively). His seven losses also led the club.
Speaking of enigmas,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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