The Cardinal Nation July Player of the Month

Playing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, outfielder Magneuris Sierra put up impressive numbers last month.

In preparing these monthly awards, July and August are most interesting as the short-season players have logged full months of results, making for some very challenging comparisons. The players at the lower four rungs of the system often really need to stand out to bring home the recognition.

Such was the situation in identifying the top hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals system this past month. 11 of the 17 .300 hitters with at least 50 at-bats during July competed in short-season ball, including three of the four hitters logging .350-plus averages.

However, one hitter clearly stands above them all with a lusty .439 average and the only OPS over 1.000 – in fact, it was almost 1.100. The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for July is Gulf Coast League Cardinals outfielder Magneuris Sierra.

In his very first full month of official play in the US, the left-handed batter was also among the system leaders in runs scored (21) and stolen bases (nine).

Further, it is important to note that Sierra, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 160 pounds, will not turn 19 years of age until next April. The San Cristobal, Dominican Republic native signed in July, 2012 for a $105,000 bonus.

Sierra “is a potential five-tool player who will develop easy power,” GCL Cardinals manager Steve Turco told TCN’s Paul Ivice. “He has a good swing, a good approach; it’s going to be hard to stop him from hitting, especially at the lower levels, but I think he will hit at all levels.”

Update: On Sunday afternoon, the Cardinals organization also announced Sierra as their Player of the Month for July.

Now, let’s look at the July system-wide leaders in a group of key offensive categories.

Name Tm AVG BABIP AB   Name Tm OPS
Magneuris Sierra GCL 0.439 0.493 82   Magneuris Sierra GCL 1.087
Michael Pritchard GCL 0.388 0.392 80   Michael Pritchard GCL 0.952
Tommy Pham MEM 0.380 0.529 71   Casey Turgeon JC 0.951
Casey Turgeon JC 0.354 0.416 96   Nick Martini PB 0.944
Nick Thompson SC 0.333 0.356 84   Rowan Wick SC-PEO 0.942
Ed Easley MEM 0.328 0.375 58   Malik Collymore GCL 0.917
Derek Gibson GCL 0.328 0.340 58   Collin Radack SC 0.916
Collin Radack SC 0.327 0.385 52   Mason Katz PB 0.907
Malik Collymore GCL 0.324 0.418 71   Nick Thompson SC 0.905
Nick Martini PB 0.323 0.338 93        
Michael Massi GCL 0.321 0.354 53        
Juan Herrera PEO 0.319 0.379 69        
Jose Godoy JC 0.318 0.356 66        
Alex De Leon SC 0.314 0.380 105        
Rowan Wick SC-PEO 0.313 0.456 99        
Jake Stone SC 0.310 0.348 84        
Mike ONeill SPR 0.300 0.321 90        
                 
Name Tm HR   Name Tm RBI
Randal Grichuk MEM 8   Bruce Caldwell PB 23
Rowan Wick SC-PEO 5   Jake Stone SC 23
Bruce Caldwell PB 5   Rowan Wick SC-PEO 22
Nick Martini PB 4   Casey Grayson JC 20
Mason Katz PB 4   Malik Collymore GCL 19
Xavier Scruggs MEM 4   Robelys Reyes SC 18
Luke Voit PB 4   Mason Katz PB 18
        Nick Thompson SC 16
        Charlie Tilson SPR 16
        Luke Voit PB 16
        Nick Martini PB 15
        Randal Grichuk MEM 15
        Xavier Scruggs MEM 15
             
Name Tm R   Name Tm SB
Michael Pritchard GCL 23   C.J. McElroy PEO 11
Nick Martini PB 22   Oscar Mercado JC 10
Alex De Leon SC 21   Robelys Reyes SC 9
Casey Turgeon JC 21   Magneuris Sierra GCL 9
Nick Thompson SC 21   Darren Seferina SC 9
Magneuris Sierra GCL 21   Carlos Talavera DSL  7
Danny Diekroeger SC 20   Michael Pritchard GCL 6
        Rafael Ortega SPR 6

Honorable Mentions – Full Season

Tommy Pham continues to hit for Triple-A Memphis. The outfielder’s .380 average was third-highest in the system, though his amazing .529 BABIP tempers the enthusiasm a bit.

In reality, the BABIP point can be made for Sierra and several other batting leaders as well. Still, this is about bottom line results in July and the averages are what they are.

Nick Martini stumbled in his brief Springfield introduction earlier this season, but seems to have the Florida State League figured out. In July, the outfielder batted .323 with a .944 OPS for Palm Beach that ranked fourth in the system. Martini drove in 15 and was second in the organization with 22 runs scored.

It is interesting that all seven of the hitters with four or more home runs during July compete in full-season ball. Further of note is that four of them play in the Florida State League, a circuit with big ballparks and a pitching slant.

Beach Birds Bruce Caldwell, Mason Katz and Luke Voit may not be among the batting average leaders, but all three rank among the top home run hitters and RBI producers last month. Caldwell tied for the lead the latter category with 23.

Memphis’ Randal Grichuk continues to blast long balls, with his eight last month being three more than anyone else. If the outfielder can cut down on the strikeouts, our May Player of the Month would seem to be well positioned to stick as a bench asset with St. Louis.

Honorable Mentions – Short-Season

OK, so Michael Pritchard was not drafted this June. The two-time All-Big Ten outfielder can play the game. Racking up stats against younger pitchers in the Gulf Coast League, the 22-year-old was second in the system in July batting average (.388) and OPS (.952), first in runs scored (23) and tied for seventh in stolen bases (six).

In his second summer in the GCL, things are coming together at the plate for second baseman Malik Collymore. The 19-year-old native of Ontario batted .324 with a .917 OPS. The right-handed batter drove in an impressive 19 runs, fifth-most in the organization.

Johnson City’s Casey Turgeon continues to play well. The second baseman was tied for third with 21 runs scored, his .354 average was fourth and his OPS was third, just behind Pritchard at .951.

State College’s Nick Thompson also had a fine July, coming in fifth with a .333 average, a .905 OPS, 16 RBI and 21 runs scored.

Thompson’s teammate Collin Radack is another name prominently-placed on the July leaderboards. The 22-year-old outfielder batted .327 while logging a .916 OPS.

June’s Winner in July

How did Rowan Wick, the consensus Player of the Month for June, fare in July?

The answer is, it depends.

The 21-year-old continued to tear up the New York-Penn League until his promotion to full-season Peoria on July 23. For that reason, Wick remains among the leaders in the tables above. Since the move, however, there has been a marked adjustment period to the higher level of play.

On the positive side, in his first 11 games in the Midwest League, Wick has two home runs and eight RBI. On the other hand, the left-handed hitter is batting just .238 and has struck out in over 45 percent of his at-bats (19 of 42).

Prior Winners

  Pitcher of Month Pitcher of Month Starter of Month Reliever of Month  
2014 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization The Cardinal Nation The Cardinal Nation 2014
April    Tim Cooney Nick Petree Justin Wright April 
May Chris Perry Chris Perry (none) (Perry) May
June   Rob Kaminsky Rob Kaminsky Kyle Grana June
July         July
Aug         Aug
           
  Player of Month        
2014 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization     2014
April  James Ramsey Jonathan Rodriguez     April 
May Randal Grichuk Randal Grichuk     May
June Rowan Wick Rowan Wick     June
July Magneuris Sierra       July
Aug         Aug

Coming soon

The Cardinal Nation’s July Starting Pitcher of the Month and Relief Pitcher of the Month will be announced next. In addition, our fourth monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings is coming this week, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

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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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