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 starter
- Pitch at least one inning per game played
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. It should also be noted that none of the members of the Cardinals' 2007 draft class that started qualified for our post-season awards. In fact, the only starter from short-A on down that qualified was Blake King and that was due only to his innings logged at Quad Cities before his return to Batavia.
And our 2007 winner is….
P.J. Walters – Right-Handed Starter –Springfield Cardinals/Palm Beach Cardinals/Swing of the Quad Cities
P.J. Walters' 2007 season is judged to have been the best overall starting pitching performance in the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system. The 22-year-old was honored all season long, snaring our Top Starting Pitcher of the Month in both May and August.
The 6-foot-4, 200 pound Alabama native is a great example of the aggressive in-season promotions given to players who show they can handle the challenge. Walters began the season with the Midwest League's Swing of the Quad Cities, where he earned a Mid-Season All-Star nod. By mid-June, he was off to Palm Beach of the Florida State League and in late July, Walters made the jump to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League.
Walters was incredibly consistent at each of the three levels this season with ERAs of 2.62, 2.67 and 2.37 respectively and opponent batting averages of .229, .225 and .228. The few concerns in his first taste of Double-A were increases in walks and home runs allowed and a decline in strikeouts.
When compared to the rest of the group, Walters' 2007 performance was both among the highest and most balanced. He led all qualifying starters in ERA and WHIP and was second in dERA and FIP. He was also second in strikeout-to-walk ratio, strikeout rate, walk rate and ground out to fly out ratio. Walters was third in batting average against. In fact, the only one of the ten categories in which he did not rank was raw innings pitched.
The Birdhouse staff congratulates P.J. Walters on his fine 2007 season.
Honorable Mention -
Tyler Herron – Right-Handed Starter – Springfield Cardinals
Herron was Walters' chief competition for the Starting Pitcher of the Year honors. To be honest, it was a virtual toss up between the two. As the numbers below validate, they were very close statistically. Herron is about 18 months younger than Walters. But the deciding factor was that almost 55% of Walters' innings were at a higher level than were Herron's. Walters also pitched better than Herron in the post-season. On the other hand, Herron may have the longest career runway.
As said, this could have gone either way. Still, congratulations to Tyler Herron on an excellent 2007 season.
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.
Earned Run Average
|2||Ottavino, Adam||3.08||27||27||143.1||49||Palm Beach|
|3||Dickson, Brandon||3.50||31||23||144||56||Quad Cities|
|4||Norrick, Tyler||3.59||28||28||165.1||66||Palm Beach|
|5||Herron, Tyler||3.74||30||22||137.1||57||Quad Cities|
DIPS Earned Run Average
|1||Herron, Tyler||30||22||2.64||138.0||40.5||Quad Cities|
|4||Ottavino, Adam||27||27||3.75||144.5||60.2||Palm Beach|
|1||Herron, Tyler||2.78||7||26||11||130||Quad Cities|
|3T||Ottavino, Adam||3.81||10||63||8||128||Palm Beach|
|2||Herron, Tyler||3.74||137.1||123||26||1.08||Quad Cities|
|3||Norrick, Tyler||3.59||165.1||134||73||1.25||Palm Beach|
|4||Dickson, Brandon||3.50||144||148||41||1.31||Quad Cities|
|5||Ottavino, Adam||3.08||143.1||130||63||1.35||Palm Beach|
|1||Herron, Tyler||137.1||26||130||5.00||Quad Cities|
|5||Dickson, Brandon||144||41||84||2.05||Quad Cities|
|TL||Ottavino, Adam||143.1||63||128||2.03||Palm Beach|
|1||King, Blake - comb||110.2||127||10.3||Batavia/QC|
|2||Walters, P.J. - comb||151.2||147||8.7||Sp/PB/QC|
|3||Herron, Tyler||137.1||130||8.5||Quad Cities|
|4||Ottavino, Adam||143.1||128||8.0||Palm Beach|
|5||Norrick, Tyler||165.1||134||7.3||Palm Beach|
The Control Artists
|1||Herron, Tyler||137.1||26||1.70||Quad Cities|
|3||Dickson, Brandon||144||41||2.56||Quad Cities|
|TL||Ottavino, Adam||143.1||63||3.96||Palm Beach|
Lowest Batting Average Against
|1||Norrick, Tyler||165.1||134||696||0.221||Palm Beach|
|4||Ottavino, Adam||143.1||130||620||0.239||Palm Beach|
|5||Herron, Tyler||137.1||123||556||0.240||Quad Cities|
No ‘Flies' on Me - Best GO/AO Ratio
|1||Dickson, Brandon||144||233||110||84||2.12||Quad Cities|
|TL||Ottavino, Adam||143.1||166||129||128||1.29||Palm Beach|
The Innings Eaters
|1||Norrick, Tyler||28||28||165.1||Palm Beach|
|TL||Dickson, Brandon||31||23||144||Quad Cities|
2007 Cardinals Minor League Awards
|Scout.com||Position Player||Starting Pitcher||Relief Pitcher|
|of the Year||P.J. Walters||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 Player of the Year.
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