The Cardinal Nation August Player of Month

Garcia had a 1.000 OPS in August

Memphis infielder Greg Garcia is our choice as the top position player across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system last month.

On their last day off of the regular season, on August 7, the Memphis Redbirds' post-season prospects were dim indeed. The Triple-A club sat four games under .500, was two games out of the division lead and faced a killer schedule to close the summer – 26 games in 26 days, with 21 of them on the road.

Since then, the Redbirds have managed to scratch their way into sole possession of first place with just two games remaining. One of the spark plugs of their resurgence has been infielder Greg Garcia, The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for August.

Garcia
To close the month, the 24-year-old Californian launched a two-run home run in the first inning on Saturday night at Oklahoma City to help his club put six runs on the board before the home team was able to hit.

When a player is promoted, opportunity is often created for others. So was the case when Kolten Wong received his first Major League call to St. Louis on August 15. Instead of rotating across the infield positions, Garcia essentially became the Redbirds' every-day second baseman and has brought the lumber.

To be fair, Garcia began his recent surge in July. The left-handed batter has hit safely in 26 of last 38 games at a .378 clip (41-for-110). His team-leading .368 average (32-for-87) in August is the third-highest in the entire Pacific Coast League.

Garcia's stats for the month add up to an impressive and symmetric OPS of 1.000 on a line of .368/.471/.529. He scored 16 runs, drove in 12 and was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts. Among qualifiers across the system, Garcia was first in batting average, on-base percentage and OBP and fourth in slugging.

Of course, no one can remain on fire forever and there is some good fortune in any hot streak, as his August BABIP of .476 reminds. On the season, Garcia's line is .272/.378/.387/.765.

Though he is not yet on the Cardinals' 40-man roster, Garcia was a non-roster invitee to major league spring training camp and was The Cardinal Nation's 16th-ranked prospect coming into the season.

With his hot hitting and defensive versatility - having started 19 games at second, 67 at shortstop and eight at third - the seventh-round pick in 2010 from the University of Hawaii has to be playing his way into the big-league picture.

Honorable mentions

To come up with my top ten hitters for the month across the system, I selected only those with at least 50 August at-bats and an OPS over .835. The names are listed in OPS order.

Name Team AVG OBP SLG OPS
Greg Garcia Memphis 0.368 0.471 0.529 1.000
Rowan Wick Johnson City 0.277 0.384 0.530 0.914
Steven Ramos State College 0.364 0.408 0.500 0.908
Stephen Piscotty Springfield 0.330 0.405 0.476 0.881
Chad Huffman Memphis 0.253 0.360 0.518 0.878
Luis Cruz Gulf Coast 0.280 0.351 0.520 0.871
Trevor Martin Peoria 0.345 0.368 0.488 0.856
Richy Pedroza Johnson City 0.333 0.406 0.450 0.856
Brett Wiley State College 0.318 0.378 0.471 0.849
Charlie Tilson Peo-Palm Beach 0.317 0.379 0.458 0.837
 
Name AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS
Greg Garcia 87 16 32 6 1 2 12 10 22 6 0
Rowan Wick 83 15 23 3 0 6 13 14 32 0 1
Steven Ramos 118 22 43 6 2 2 13 8 19 14 2
Stephen Piscotty 103 11 34 6 0 3 17 12 12 6 1
Chad Huffman 83 14 21 5 1 5 13 12 20 1 0
Luis Cruz 50 9 14 3 0 3 5 4 9 0 1
Trevor Martin 84 7 29 2 2 2 18 2 18 0 0
Richy Pedroza 60 11 20 5 1 0 11 7 7 0 1
Brett Wiley 85 16 27 2 4 1 17 9 13 7 0
Charlie Tilson 120 13 38 1 5 2 7 12 19 2 3

Garcia's closest competitor is a man who may be the most underrated player in the system this summer in State College outfielder Steven Ramos. The 23-year-old leads the New York-Penn League with a .362 batting average and with a 24-point lead with just four games remaining, seems to have clinched the title. In the short-season league, he is also third in OBP at .399. Ramos led the Cardinals system in August steals by a huge amount, going 14-for-16, and was also first in runs scored with 22.

Second in the system with six home runs in August and second in OPS as well is Johnson City outfielder/catcher Rowan Wick. The Canadian's bat was a steady force for the Appy League Cardinals all season long. On the downside, Wick fanned 32 times in 83 at-bats.

Outfielder Stephen Piscotty is ramping up for his upcoming Arizona Fall League campaign with a solid August at Double-A Springfield during which the 2012 first-rounder batted .330.

Among the standouts is a trio of recently-promoted players, doing well at their new levels. Infielders Trevor Martin at Peoria and Brett Wiley at State College just finished their first full month after stepping up. Palm Beach outfielder Charlie Tilson was promoted during August, a month in which the speedster topped the system with five triples.

Other leaders not mentioned above include August RBI leader, infielder Ronnierd Garcia of Johnson City with 19, and walks leader David Washington of State College with 23.

All things considered, Greg Garcia's August numbers stood out above these other strong performers. Congratulations to The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Player of the Month.

How did July's winner fare in August?

As July came to a close, The Cardinal Nation and the St. Louis Cardinals organization agreed that Palm Beach's Jonathan Rodriguez was the top player system-wide during the month.

The first baseman had a good but uneven August. On one hand, he blasted seven home runs to lead the organization and had more walks, 22, than strikeouts (20). His OPS was a solid .829. However, Rodriguez had very bad luck with a .229 batting average fueled by an unbelievably-low .218 BABIP.

Prior winners

Click on the highlighted links to be taken to earlier articles about the monthly selections by both The Cardinal Nation and the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

  Player of Month   Pitcher of Month  
2013 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization The Cardinal Nation Cards organization
April Jamie Romak Tommy Pham John Gast John Gast
May Kolten Wong Kolten Wong Kevin Siegrist Kevin Siegrist
June Anthony Garcia Anthony Garcia Carlos Martinez Carlos Martinez
July Jonathan Rodriguez Jonathan Rodriguez Tyler Lyons Tyler Lyons
Aug Greg Garcia      

Coming soon

Our Pitcher of the Month for August will be revealed Monday followed by our final monthly update to the Cardinals prospect rankings from one through 40 along with the explanation why, the latter exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

Update

On Wednesday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals organization also named Garcia the organization's Player of the Month for August. Cardinals director of minor league operations John Vuch commented on the winner.

"Greg had a tremendous all-around month, showing significant improvement as he completed his first AAA season. Not only did he hit for average and reach base at a high rate, but he also ran the bases well and played solid defense at three different positions."

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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