In early returns, left-hander Kyle Hald has proven to be a bargain for the St. Louis Cardinals. Selected in the 18th round in the 2011 draft from Old Dominion in June, Hald has yet to take a loss in eight professional decisions.
Pitching for the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League, Hald went 3-0 with an 0.82 ERA in four appearances last month. The 22-year-old fanned 24 and walked six in 22 innings of work, while holding opposing hitters to a collective .158 batting average.
Last week, Hald was named to the Appalachian League All-Star team as the top left-handed pitcher in the league. His 1.84 ERA on the season was the lowest among league qualifiers.
Though it was on September 1, not in August, Hald also receives extra credit for his Thursday night outing. In a potential playoff elimination game for Johnson City, he started and pitched seven innings against Danville. Hald allowed the Braves seven hits and two walks, but only three earned runs. He struck out seven and earned the winning decision.
For his August results, Johnson City’s Kyle Hald is The Cardinal Nation Pitcher of the Month.
Memphis’ Maikel Cleto, the Cardinals’ take for Brendan Ryan last winter, made six starts during August. The 22-year-old went 4-1 with a 3.55 ERA while fanning 32 in 33 innings and holding Pacific Coast League batters to a collective .205 average. However, his problems with free passes continued as he issued 23.
Right-hander Richard Castillo has been up and down between Springfield and Palm Beach, but it is easy to forget the Venezuelan is just 21 years of age. In five Florida State League starts last month, Castillo went 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA. He struck out 20 and walked seven in 28 1/3 innings for Palm Beach.
Batavia’s Corey Baker was moved into the rotation mid-month and delivered. In five August appearances totaling 22 2/3 innings, the 21-year-old right-hander posted a 1.19 ERA. The former University of Pittsburgh hurler, selected in the 49th round of this June's draft, fanned 11 and walked four.
Baker’s Muckdogs teammate Danny Miranda had a perfect month. The former University of Miami hurler may start in the future, but for 2011, the left-hander has served as closer. Miranda allowed no earned runs in 11 August appearances, totaling 10 2/3 innings. The Cards’ eighth-rounder this June picked up six saves, fanned 11, walked just two and collected four ground outs for each fly out.
Brad Watson turned 22 during the month, making him the oldest pitcher on the Gulf Coast League Cardinals roster. Still, the right-hander dominated, going 4-0 in his four starts with a 1.52 ERA. Watson fanned 16 and walked just four in 23 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ 37th round pick from Wartburg College in Iowa logged 4.22 ground outs per fly out.
Previous winners: Click on the highlighted links to be taken to earlier articles about the monthly selections by both The Cardinal Nation and the Cardinals organization.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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