In selecting the top performance by a position player among first-year St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers in 2012, my finalists came down to three players, all corner infielders. The three were all college players, but while two were taken in the first supplemental round, one was an 18th-rounder.
The names Stephen Piscotty (from Stanford) and (St. Mary’s) Patrick Wisdom are well-known in prospect circles, with Tulane’s Jeremy Schaffer less so. The three were each assigned to different levels in the Cardinals’ farm system after signing – Piscotty to Class-A, Wisdom to short-season Class-A and Schaffer to rookie level.
It is also worth noting that Schaffer is the oldest of the three at 22. Piscotty is 21 and Wisdom played almost the entire season at the age of 20, having celebrated his 21st birthday at the end of August.
Let’s look at their numbers.
The three have comparable OPS’s at their respective levels of play, though Schaffer is more of a slugger, while Wisdom and Piscotty were better at getting on base, both by hits and walks.
Schaffer’s home run and RBI totals certainly stand out, but so does his low walk rate and resulting lower OBP.
Piscotty had the highest batting average of the group, but the lowest slugging percentage among them. His strikeout rate was lowest among the three.
Wisdom led the three in runs scored, noting his role was different from Schaffer. His total base count was very close to Schaffer, however. While Wisdom fanned most often, he also took the most walks. His OPS was only five points off Schaffer’s total and he did play a level higher at a year and a half younger.
While each player can make his argument, based on Patrick Wisdom’s balanced performance, I am awarding him The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Minor League Rookie Position Player of the Year for 2012.
Bonus for The Cardinal Nation subscribers: During the Cardinals fall instructional league camp in Jupiter, Fla., Wisdom sat down for an exclusive review of his first professional season. The audio follows.
Listen to Audio (4:24)
Note: Link to article with links to all articles about previous award winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming announcements as well as 2012 team recaps, much of it exclusively for The Cardinal Nation subscribers.
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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. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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