A big contributor to the inconsistencies was the injuries that plagued the team. Multiple outfielders went down this year, including top-hitting prospect Oscar Taveras. The 21-year-old was expected to be a big part of the offense but played in only 46 games due to an ankle injury that eventually required surgery.
In his place, offense was created by Kolten Wong, Brock Peterson and Jamie Romak. Wong was the St. Louis Cardinals' first-round choice in the 2011 draft, while both Peterson and Romak were veterans acquired last year by the organization. All three helped create offense in unique ways.
Romak and Peterson were the team's power sources. Peterson led the PCL with 25 home runs, and Romak was third with 22 on the year. Both started off very strongly but neither finished out the season very well.
Through the first three months, Peterson had a .308 average with 19 home runs, 58 RBI and 80 strikeouts in his first 292 at-bats. After July 1, the first baseman's 164 at-bats resulted in 45 hits (.274 average) with six home runs and 28 RBI. Past the mid-season point, Peterson fell in at-bats per home run (from every 15 at-bats to one in 27), and also lowered his slugging percentage. Prior to July, the 30-year-old held a .579 SLG, which dropped to .445 from July through September.
Romak had good production, but often times left runners stranded. He struck out once every four at-bats and finished with a .242 batting average. The Canadian hit a lot of extra-base hits, but did not produce consistently with runners on or in scoring position. With runners on, Romak hit just .221.
Wong earns The Cardinal Nation's nod as Memphis Redbirds Player of the Year because of his consistency throughout the season. The second baseman earned both The Cardinal Nation and the Cardinals organization Player of the Month recognition in May and has not slowed down since. In 107 games played, Wong had 36 multiple-hit outings, and logged seven hitting streaks of five games or more, including his longest of 15 games.
On the year, Wong developed into a patient hitter who did not strike out a lot with a .300 average at the Triple-A level. His 60 strikeouts were fewer than six of his teammates, and he averaged nearly seven at-bats between every strikeout (better than the team average of one in five). Wong made his MLB debut on August 16 and has earned a spot on the 25-man post-season roster and with it, some valuable fall at-bats.
Link to master article with all 2013 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that will include our selections as the Player of the Year across all the Cardinals minor league affiliates as well as our system-wide awards.
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