With the newcomers to the organization starting to filter themselves throughout the clubs, did any newbies take home the hardware in their first month as a pro pitcher?
Toledo – Chris Lambert (SP)
Often an overlooked figure, and often thought as a middling prospect because he was acquired for a struggling Mike Maroth
, Lambert appears to have discovered something this season. He has been a model of consistency from start to finish; displaying improved command, missing more bats, and generally looking like a more determined pitcher. Lambert posted a 3.62 July ERA in six starts, while compiling a 4-2 record. In 37 1/3 innings, Lambert only walked ten last month, while striking out 32 hitters.
Runner-Up: Ian Ostlund (RP)
Erie – Luke French
Despite an uninspiring 0-4 record in six starts, French was a solid starter for Erie in July. Averaging over six innings per start, and posting a 3.49 ERA, French tried to stabilize a rotation that has been extremely inconsistent. Though he didn't strike out many batters, Luke only allowed 2.79 walks per nine innings, and even fired his second complete game of the year. If French continues to show solid results as the season winds down, his first taste of Double-A could be considered a success.
Runner-Up: Brendan Wise (RP)
Lakeland – Robbie Weinhardt (SP)
If someone in Hollywood scripted the perfect start to a professional baseball career, it would probably look something like what Robbie Weinhardt has done. After three appearances and six innings with the Rookie Level GCL Tigers in June, the Tigers re-assigned Weinhardt to High-A Lakeland; completely bypassing both Oneonta and West Michigan. Throughout July, Robbie managed 18 scoreless innings with just four hits and one walk allowed, while striking out 23 FSL opponents. The 24-inning scoreless streak (which has since been extended in August) is a marvelous start to a career that is showing some promise.
Runner-Up: Guillermo Moscoso (SP)
West Michigan – Jon Kibler (SP)
After taking home Pitcher of the Month honors in May, and battling for the award again in June, Kibler was back on track to run away with the award in July. In six starts last month, Jon posted a 4-1 record. That's a wonderful start to the explanation of how good he was last month, but it simply doesn't do it justice. In 40 2/3 innings, Kibler posted a ridiculous 0.89 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He only yielded 33 hits in that time, and walked 12 while striking out 27. Kibler was truly dominant in July, and with Alfredo Figaro gone to Lakeland, the burden of staff ace falls directly on his shoulders.
Runner-Up: Mauricio Robles (SP)
Oneonta – Lester Oliveros (RP)
Regular readers of TigsTown.com have become quite accustomed to seeing Lester Oliveros take home monthly and yearly awards, so it is only fitting that he returns to the list of winners during his first season stateside. Apparently someone forgot to explain to Oliveros that there is typically a significant learning curve for new players in their first stateside season, particularly when they jump right to the Low-A leagues. Lester posted a 0.73 ERA and 0.87 WHIP last month, en route to a 1-1 record and three saves in eight appearances. He also struck out a whopping 18 batters in just 12 1/3 innings of work.
Runner-Up: Anthony Shawler
GCL Tigers – Nick Cassavechia (SP)
After years at Baylor, Nick Cassavechia has become a dominating reliever in the Gulf Coast League. After not allowing a run in his brief June debut outings, Nick has come close to maintaining that streak throughout July. With just one run allowed in 14 innings of work, Cassavechia sported a 0.63 ERA in July, with just one walk and 23 strikeouts. Moving into the closer's role for the Tigers, Nick has recorded one win and four saves to go along with his other impressive numbers.
Runner-Up: Hayden Lackey (RP)
DSL Tigers – Marcos Nunez (SP)
Starting four of his six July outings, Nunez struck out 28 DSL hitters in just 30 innings, and only walked five. The drop in walks is a huge improvement over past performances, and possibly a sign that things are clicking with Nunez. Marcos was 1-1 on the month, and sported a fine 1.50 ERA and 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio that helped support a 0.87 WHIP.
Runner-Up: Gabriel Herrara (RP)
VSL Tigers – Michael Torrealba (RP)
Sometimes things continually click for a prospect, and that appears as though it may be the case for Torrealba in 2008. After a rocky beginning, Michael has settled in and posted a spectacular month of pitching for the VSL squad. Working as a reliever, Torrealba finished with an unblemished ERA of 0.00, while holding opponents down further with a 0.61 WHIP. His 1-0 record and four saves in seven games lends further evidence to his pitching prowess last month, and if that weren't enough, he struck out 17 and walked only five in 14 2/3 innings on the mound.
Runner-Up: Jose Diaz (SP)