GCL Cardinals Starter of the Year: 2009

Left-hander Hector Hernandez is our 2009 Gulf Coast League Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year.

With a system lacking in left-handed pitching prospects, the St. Louis Cardinals called on Hector Hernandez in the 10th round of this past June's draft. The 18-year-old out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School did not disappoint in his professional debut.

Hernandez led the Gulf Coast League Cardinals in innings, starts, and starter ERA. The southpaw posted a record of 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 13 appearances as a professional. In his eight starts, he was downright nasty. He posted a 1.67 ERA while striking out 24 compared to only seven walks. Opponents only managed a .211 average against him.

At home, Hernandez gave up a walk per plate appearance only 3.6% of the time. That is quite an impressive feat for a pitcher this young in his first stint as a professional to show that kind of control. In his 40.2 innings, he got groundballs 51% of the time while not allowing a single home run.

Over his final six starts covering 28 innings, he posted a miniscule 1.29 ERA while allowing only 23 hits and five walks. The performance was definitely noteworthy, earning him a first round selection in the recent Puerto Rican Winter League draft.

Honorable Mention

Angel De Jesus made four starts in his seven appearances in the GCL. The 20-year-old posted a 2.51 ERA while allowing only a .210 average against.

Orlando Munoz made four appearances for the Cardinals as a starter in 2009. In those games, the Venezeulan was charged with a 3.71 ERA while posting a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Note: To follow our entire series of Players of the Year at each level of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, check back here at The Cardinal Nation daily. To see the roster of winners and article schedule, click here.

Dustin can be contacted at dustin@whiteyball.com.
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