The Cardinal Nation August Pitcher of Month

Shelby Miller is our choice as the top pitcher across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system last month.

Given the tremendous turnaround experienced by the top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals system last month, his selection as the recipient of this award should come as no surprise.

Congratulations to Memphis' Shelby Miller, The Cardinal Nation August Pitcher of the Month.

The 21-year-old struck out an incredible 53 and walked just four in 37 1/3 Triple-A innings. Miller won five of six starts, posting a 2.89 ERA.

While his ERA isn't the lowest among the players considered for this award, remember that the Memphis offense is one of the lowest scoring in the Pacific Coast League, meaning there is often precious little margin for error.

Not once, but twice during August, Miller was recognized as the PCL Pitcher of the Week.

To appreciate Miller's contribution another way, he logged almost half of the struggling Redbirds' wins for the entire month as the club limped toward the wire with an 11-19 August record.

Though Miller may have been an obvious choice, looking at some of the other standout hurlers across the system last month indicates he was not alone in his success.

Other August pitching notables

Boone Whiting made five appearances last month on his road to recovery from an early-season forearm flexor strain. The 23-year-old began August in the Gulf Coast League before making three starts with Quad Cities, where he logged a Midwest League Pitcher of the Week award. The right-hander finished August at a more appropriate level, Springfield, for his final outing. Overall, his ERA was 1.44 with a 25:3 strikeout to walk total.

2012 35th-rounder Ben O'Shea logged a 2.05 ERA for Batavia. Though the left-hander had just two wins and two no-decisions in five starts, he helped the Muckdogs remain in the New York-Penn League chase with 20 strikeouts and just four walks in 26 1/3 innings.

Silfredo Garcia was highlighted here last month and deserves another mention based on his first full month in the Appalachian League. In four starts, including three wins to help Johnson City make the playoffs, the 21-year-old right-hander struck out 23 and walked just two in 25 1/3 innings. Garcia's ERA was 2.49 but more impressive perhaps was his ground ball to fly ball rate of 3.33:1.

In a pleasant oddity, Johnson City's Zach Petrick posted his second straight 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings pitched during August. That's right; the 23-year-old right-hander had the same exact totals in July, scoring points for both results and consistency. The non-drafted free agent signee in June fanned 20 and walked only four.

20-year-old right-hander Johnny Polanco was an anchor of the Cardinals playoff club in the Gulf Coast League. The Nicaraguan native was rewarded with an end-of-season promotion all the way up to Class-A Quad Cities, where he made a quality start in his Midwest League debut.

Miller 5 1 2.89 6 6 37.1 28 12 12 4 4 53 0.70 0.206
Whiting 1 0 1.44 5 5 25 16 4 4 0 3 25
O'Shea 2 1 2.05 5 5 26.1 25 7 6 2 4 20 0.62 0.258
Garcia 3 1 2.49 4 4 25.1 21 10 7 2 2 23 3.33 0.219
Petrick 2 0 2.25 4 4 20 18 6 5 0 4 20 1.10 0.228
Polanco 0 0 2.57 5 3 21 19 9 6 1 11 19

How did last month's winners fare?

The Cardinal Nation's Pitcher of the Month for July, Batavia lefty Tyler Melling, logged a 2.86 ERA in five New York-Penn League starts during August. The 22-year-old had just one win and three no-decisions while fanning 16 and walking only two in 28 1/3 frames.

Memphis lefty John Gast took home the Cardinal organization's top pitching award last month. Shortly after, his fortunes declined considerably with a week-long disabled list stint due to shoulder discomfort. The 23-year-old finished August with an 0-3 record and 8.27 ERA over five starts and 20 2/3 innings. Gast struck out 16 but issued a whopping 17 free passes.

Previous winners: Click on the highlighted links to be taken to earlier articles about the monthly award selections by both The Cardinal Nation and the Cardinals organization.

Player of Month   Pitcher of Month  
2012 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization The Cardinal Nation Cards organization
April  Oscar Taveras Oscar Taveras Seth Maness Seth Maness
May Colin Walsh Colin Walsh Richard Castillo Trevor Rosenthal
June Xavier Scruggs Oscar Taveras Ryan Sherriff Ryan Sherriff
July Mike O'Neill Mike O'Neill Tyler Melling John Gast
Aug     Shelby Miller  

Coming next: In the next few days, look for our August Player of the Month plus our final regular-season monthly Cardinals Prospect Rankings. The latter report, exclusively for subscribers, is one of our most popular features. Don't miss it!

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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