Whereas The Cardinal Nation Pitcher of the Month for August, Kyle Hald, is a 2011 draftee playing for a short-season club, Johnson City, our top player last month is at the other end of the experience spectrum.
Much has already been written about the fact that Memphis shortstop Tyler Greene has earned a September trial with St. Louis. Not everyone remembers that Greene was the 30th overall selection in the 2005, taken just two picks after Colby Rasmus.
In earning the nod as The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for August, Greene forged his second consecutive month with an OPS over 1.000. His line last month was .316/.420/.605, very close to his season numbers logged in 63 games with the Pacific Coast League Redbirds.
Over his 30 August contests, Greene slammed eight home runs, drove in 24, scored 28 times and was a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts. His only minor blemish is 27 strikeouts in 114 at-bats.
The now-28-year-old will have no minor league options remaining next season, so now is the time for the Cardinals to decide about Greene’s future. He is expected to join St. Louis on Tuesday, following the conclusion of Memphis’ season.
A teammate of Greene’s who has been in the organization almost as long provided some of the strongest competition for this award. Outfielder Nick Stavinoha, drafted six rounds later in 2005, is among the top three in the Pacific Coast League this season in home runs and RBI. His August contributed mightily.
Last month, the 29-year-old batted .354, also hit eight homers and drove in 27. Not being on the 40-man roster any longer may preclude the right-handed hitter from making a September return to St. Louis. If Stavinoha goes elsewhere over the winter, his final month of 2011 will have been one to remember.
Third baseman Zack Cox came into the season as the highest-ranked position player prospect in the system and did nothing in August to dull his shine. With Double-A Springfield, the 22-year-old batted .333, but his slugging was down a bit from July. Cox’ slugged .519 on five doubles and five home runs for an .889 OPS.
There would not be much of a debate if 19-year-old Oscar Taveras was given his second consecutive Player of the Month award. In August, the left-handed hitter had his second consecutive 1.000-plus OPS month, just like Greene. Taveras’ line was .376/.462/.604. Perhaps more impressive than the 10 doubles, three home runs and 20 RBI was the fact the free-swinger drew 16 walks against only 14 strikeouts. Next month, the outfielder will be heading to the Arizona Fall League to showcase his considerable talents.
Slowed by a hamstring injury, Taveras’ teammate, 2011 first-rounder Kolten Wong played in just 13 games, but when the second baseman did, he hit the ball hard, registering an OPS of 1.132.
At Johnson City, rookie shortstop Matt Williams logged a .911 OPS and was 9-for-10 in stolen base attempts.
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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