That being said, there are only a few guys to nominate for the Starter of the Year for 2009. Only three pitchers logged more than 100 innings and only three more can be included when the cutoff is dropped to 80 innings. One of the three in that second group has already been mentioned as one of the reliever nominees because he took that role early in the season and filled it well. I have therefore eliminated Adam Veres from this year's finalists.
I have selected Arquimedes Nieto for the 2009 Starter of the Year for the Quad Cities River Bandits. He arrived in town at the young age of 19 and made an impact early. I was first impressed with Nieto as I asked other players who they thought had the best skills. The answer was so consistent among the players that I quit asking. They all named Arquimedes.
Nieto pitched 101 innings with an ERA of 4.01. He started 16 of the 23 games in which he played before being promoted to Palm Beach. Nieto gave up 45 earned runs on 94 hits. His fastball had a lot of motion, sometimes it needed more control. His other pitches are developing, as they should at this level.
For his current abilities and for the talent he shows in a promising future, Arquimedes Nieto is our Starter of the Year. I suggested to him that he might want to choose a simpler nickname as he gets closer to the Majors and he just gave me a knowing smile.
Other candidates: I also considered Kevin Thomas in this category. He was a very steady presence on the mound. With stats very similar to Nieto's, it was almost a toss-up for the nomination. He had a few more innings, a few more hits allowed and a few more earned runs. I see Kevin playing a role as a consistent set-up man, but he could also become a good starter.
Scott McGregor was also on my radar for the Starter of the Year. He struggled early with control issues but once he got those figured out, he had a good second half. Scott has the skills and the pitches. Now he needs to build the mental stamina to overcome a couple of bad pitches and stay in the game. He's a competitor and I think he'll have a good career in baseball.
Others that I looked at were Ramon Delgado and Miguel Tapia. They both have good rudimentary skills and both will go far in this game. If the Cards had started this season with these five in the rotation, this could have been a different season altogether.
Congratulations to all of this year's nominees.
Link to our entire series of Scout.com Cardinals Players of the Year representing the top relievers, starters and position players across the entire system.
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