To be considered, pitchers had to meet the following criteria:
- Retained minor league eligibility status (not too much Major League experience)
- Be on an active roster in the Cardinals' system at season's end
- More than half of game appearances coming as a reliever
The 2007 performances of that group were then sliced and diced using both defense-independent statistics such as strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed and more team-oriented ones like Earned Run Average and WHIP. In addition, this year, another category has been added – FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching – those factors deemed directly under the control of the man on the mound. Weight was given to both the level at which the pitcher competed and the time period over which the pitcher competed.
2007 marks our first-ever Scout.com Cardinals Reliever of the Year Award. In the past, we had lumped all pitchers together, but have since decided that from here on out, the non-starters will receive their own recognition. And our 2007 winner is….
Luke Gregerson – Right-Handed Closer – Palm Beach Cardinals/Springfield Cardinals
Luke Gregerson's 2007 season is judged to have been the best overall relief pitching performance in the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system. After being selected in the 28th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Gregerson built upon his solid rookie campaign between Johnson City and State College.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Illinois native made the jump to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League on September 1. Prior to that at the A-Advanced level with Palm Beach, Gregerson was magnificent. Gregerson made 53 of his 54 2007 appearances out of Palm Beach's pen, saving 29 games for the Florida State League club. Overall, he posted a stellar 1.94 ERA, striking out 72 and walking 20 in 65 innings. Opposing batters managed to hit just .189 against him.
Gregerson was recognized as one of the very best in the FSL, being named to both their 2007 All-Star teams – mid-season and post-season.
When compared to the rest of the qualifying relief group, Gregerson's 2007 performance stood out in a wide variety of categories. He led all the candidates in dERA, FIP and ground out-to-fly out ratio. He was third in saves, fourth in strikeout rate and fifth in batting average against and WHIP.
Following the regular season, the Cardinals rewarded Gregerson with an invitation to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. He joined at mid-season, competing against players more experienced than he. Though he scuffled a bit initially, his ERA was 2.35 after his first outing and he fanned ten in 7 2/3 Arizona innings.
The Birdhouse staff congratulates Luke Gregerson on his fine 2007 season.
Honorable Mentions -
Josh Dew – Right-Handed Closer – Batavia Muckdogs
Justin Fiske – Right-Handed Reliever – Batavia Muckdogs
The three finalists were Gregerson, Josh Dew and Justin Fiske. Although Fiske had more first-place finishes than did Gregerson, the latter pitched more than twice as many innings, did it at much higher levels and is a closer. Since the closer is usually the best reliever on the staff, being a closer is one of the higher-weighted categories for Reliever of the Year. Also, Fiske and Gregerson are within a few months of each other in age.
Still, Fiske having this kind of success after having been signed from an independent league team is most admirable and 2007 14th-rounder Dew has the pedigree to perhaps eventually go the farthest of the three. He was our Cardinals Reliever of the Month for August.
Congratulations to both Josh Dew and Justin Fiske on excellent 2007 seasons.
For those interested in the numbers behind the story, following are the 2007 results posted by the top qualifiers by statistical category by team. It is worth noting that all categories are not treated equally.
Here's how we apply the data. The top five players in each category plus any other team leaders are logged. We then sort by the number of ranked categories, with the finalists being those ranked most often. Next, we look at the categories themselves, with the most weight given to dERA, FIP, BAA and WHIP. Tie-breakers include age, level and prior professional experience.
It should be noted that when Gregerson ranked in the top five, he was counted as Palm Beach's team leader although he did pitch one inning in Springfield at season's end.
Earned Run Average
|4||Maiques, Kenny||1.53||52||53||9||Quad Cities|
|5||Mura, Kyle||1.66||45||59.2||11||Quad Cities|
|TL||Mikrut, Jon||2.91||53||68||22||Palm Beach|
DIPS Earned Run Average
|5||Mura, Kyle||45||2.59||58.5||16.8||Quad Cities|
|TL||Mura, Kyle||2.56||2||13||1||53||Quad Cities|
|4||Mura, Kyle||1.66||45||59.2||44||13||0.96||Quad Cities|
|4||Mura, Kyle||59.2||13||53||4.08||Quad Cities|
|5||Vander Weg, Scott||63.1||10||40||4.00||Palm Beach|
|TL||Maiques, Kenny||53||57||9.7||Quad Cities|
The Control Artists
|2||Vander Weg, Scott||63.1||10||1.42||Palm Beach|
|4||Mura, Kyle||59.2||13||2.0||Quad Cities|
Lowest Batting Average Against
|4||Maiques, Kenny||53||34||208||0.186||Quad Cities|
No ‘Flies' on Me - Best GO/AO Ratio
|3||Carrasco, Armando||53.1||72||33||49||2.18||Quad Cities|
|2||Maiques, Kenny||52||31||53||Quad Cities|
2007 Cardinals Minor League Awards
|Scout.com||Position Player||Starting Pitcher||Relief Pitcher|
|of the Year||Luke Gregerson|
|Memphis (AAA)||Rick Ankiel||Mike Parisi||Mark Worrell|
|Springfield (AA)||Colby Rasmus||Mitchell Boggs||Jason Motte|
|Palm Beach (A+)||Allen Craig||Adam Ottavino||Luke Gregerson|
|Quad Cities (A)||Jared Schweitzer||Brandon Dickson||Kenny Maiques|
|Batavia (SS)||Steven Hill||Jess Todd||Josh Dew|
|Johnson City (SS)||Beau Riportella||Brian Broderick||Eduardo Sanchez|
|Gulf Coast (SS)||D'Marcus Ingram||Carlos Gonzalez||Reynier Gonzalez|
|Domincan (SS)||Juan Mosquera||Arquimedes Nieto||Angel Tapia|
|Venezuelan (SS)||Ismael Cardona||Richard Castillo||Carlos Oraa|
(Click on the name highlighted above to be taken to that detailed article.)
Next up: Scout.com's 2007 Cardinals Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year.
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