Overall, July was a fairly rough month for St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitchers. There were not many standout performances but a pair of teammates stood out for Quad Cities. Ryan Copeland and Boone Whiting both had outstanding months but it is Copeland who proved to be the more stellar performer so he is The Cardinal Nation July Pitcher of the Month.
Copeland has settled into Quad Cities’ rotation after starting the season in extended spring training. Upon joining the River Bandits at the beginning of May, he initially worked out of the bullpen until making his first start of the season on June 30.
In July, the southpaw went 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts. In 26 innings of work, Copeland logged 27 strikeouts while allowing only two walks. He is getting twice the amount of groundball outs as he does fly ball outs, and held the opposition to a .198 average.
During his four starts in July, Copeland went seven innings in three of them. On July 6 at Burlington, the 23-year-old allowed only one hit and walked one in seven shutout innings. In his next outing against Dayton, he struck out a season high nine batters.
So far this season, Copeland is 3-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 51 innings. The Illinois State product has averaged 9.88 K/9 and has posted an 8-to-1 groundball-to-fly ball ratio.
The Cardinals’ 32nd round draft choice in 2010 was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year during his first professional season.
Working out of the Palm Beach bullpen, Jordan Swagerty made 10 appearances in July and allowed only one run. In 12 innings, the former Arizona State Sun Devil racked up 14 strikeouts and was credited with four saves.
Keith Butler has stepped in to share closer duties with Swagerty. The 22-year-old racked up four saves during the month while striking out 15 in 10 2/3 innings. He held opponents to a .179 average while posting a 1.69 ERA.
Boone Whiting does not get much prospect press but the guy produces. The right-hander went 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA during four July starts. In 27 innings, he struck out 23 while walking only four. Midwest League hitters managed only a .160 average against him.
Though he did not win any games, Batavia’s Seth Maness made five appearances including four starts and allowed only two earned runs in 21 2/3 innings. That’s an ERA of 0.83 with 16 strikeouts and only three free passes.
Tyrell Jenkins posted a 2-1 record with a 3.16 ERA during the month. The right-hander struck out 28 and walked only six in 25 2/3 innings for Johnson City.
Jenkins’ teammate Kyle Hald went 4-0 while racking up 28 strikeouts in 21 innings and walking only one batter. During the month, the lefty posted an ERA of 1.29 and held Appalachian League opponents to a .153 average.
Previous 2011 winners
Coming soon: The Cardinal Nation July Player of the Month will be highlighted here. The Cardinals organization selections for their top July pitcher and player will soon be announced as well.
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