When the St. Louis Cardinals took Jordan Swagerty in the second round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, more than a few draftniks were left scratching their collective heads. Right-handed power relievers were a strength of the system so it was curious that the team nabbed him so early. After his first month of full season baseball, the pick is looking like pure gold. As such, we have named the 21-year-old our Pitcher of the Month for April.
Working as a starter instead of a reliever for the Quad Cities River Bandits, Swagerty has a record of 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA. His total of 25 strikeouts in 25 innings is impressive but the fact that he has walked only one is incredible. The former Arizona State Sun Devil is fourth in the Midwest League in innings, fifth in WHIP, and sixth in strikeouts. Opponents are hitting only .186 against him and he has allowed only 16 base hits. In three of his four starts, Swagerty left without allowing a run.
Swagerty possesses three pitches that grade out average or better. His fastball can touch the mid-nineties while his curveball is one of the best in the system.
Springfield’s Nick Additon has started off the 2011 season strong with a 1-0 record and a 2.60 ERA. In 27.2 innings, he was racked up 25 strikeouts and only one base on balls. This past week at Northwest Arkansas, the southpaw flirted with a no-hitter. Additon is among the Texas League leaders in ERA, innings, and strikeouts.
After bursting onto the scene in 2010, Brandon Dickson continues to stifle Pacific Coast League hitters. The long, lanky right-hander has posted an ERA of 1.73 and a .204 batting average against. In 26 innings with Memphis, Dickson has logged 24 strikeouts to go with eight walks.
In a system that is lacking in left-handed pitching, John Gast is quickly establishing himself as one of the tops in the organization. Gast has thrown a team-high 26 innings at Palm Beach and has racked up 16 strikeouts while posting a 2 42 ERA during that time.
In his second season as a starter, Palm Beach’s Joe Kelly continues to make a smooth transition from the bullpen. The right-hander has posted a 2.95 while forcing a superb amount of groundballs.
Though he has not been dominant, Lance Lynn has been efficient in the early going at Memphis. The former supplemental first round pick has a 2.73 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 26.1 innings so far in 2011 with Memphis.
If not for a hiccup in his last start, Shelby Miller was poised to claim Pitcher of the Month honors. But after a walk on the wild side, the organization’s top prospect finds himself as an honorable mention.
With a fastball in the mid-nineties, Trevor Rosenthal has made the Cardinals’ brass take notice. The Missouri native has been dominant in his first four starts for Quad Cities. Rosenthal has accumulated 29 strikeouts in only 22.2 innings while issuing only five walks. The 20-year-old has compiled a groundball-to-fly ball ratio of almost three-to-one.
He might not be as heralded as his teammate Swagerty, but Kevin Siegrist has been almost as impressive. His 0.50 ERA is the second best mark in the Midwest League. The southpaw has posted a record of 3-0 and has 14 strikeouts in 18 innings. Siegrist has held opponents to a .180 average and is getting a groundball-to-fly ball rate of almost two-to-one.
Coming Sunday: The Cardinal Nation April Player of the Month will be highlighted here. The Cardinals organization selections for top April pitcher and player will soon be announced as well.
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