In a very, very competitive field of candidates, outfielder/first baseman Phil Cerreto of the short-season rookie level Johnson City Cardinals has received the nod as The Cardinal Nation’s Minor League Player of the Month for July.
The 22-year-old is just six weeks into his professional career after having been drafted in the 40th round from Longwood College in Virginia. The right-handed hitter was previously the Appalachian League Player of the Week for the period of July 19-25.
For the month, Cerreto’s line was .414/.444/.747/1.191. Almost half of his hits went for extra bases, 17 of 36, including five home runs. Cerreto plated 23 in just 21 games and to top of off, was a perfect 3-for-3 in stealing bases. During the month, he had a ten-game hitting streak.
The month ended on an uncertain note as Cerreto was hit by a pitch on the back of his left hand on Friday night, July 30. He dropped to one knee in pain and was immediately removed from the game. Fortunately, x-rays were negative and Cerreto returned to the Cardinals lineup on Monday after missing just two starts.
On the season, Cerreto not only leads the entire Cardinals system in batting with his .398 mark, but also in on-base percentage, slugging and of course, OPS. In addition, he is number one in the Appalachian League in batting and on-base percentage at .434 and is second in RBI with 32, slugging at .722 and OPS of 1.157.
Those numbers are just too impressive to ignore. Congratulations to Phil Cerreto, The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for July.
Palm Beach outfielder Alex Castellanos made this call an extremely difficult one. Castellanos batted .348 (31-for-89), collecting eight doubles, four triples, four home runs and 16 RBI and received the Cardinals organization’s top player honor for July.
Castellanos, who turns 24 years of age on Wednesday, had an on-base mark of .394 and slugged .663 for a July OPS of 1.057. The right fielder hit in 19 of his 25 games. The fact the right-handed hitter logged those numbers in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League was all the more impressive.
The Memphis Redbirds had to be delighted to get first baseman Mark Hamilton back from the disabled list. Activated on July 15, the 26-year-old made hay in just half a month, with four home runs and 11 RBI in 15 games. Hamilton’s line was .346/.429/.692/1.121.
With injury problems at the third base position and journeymen playing there in Memphis, Springfield’s Matt Carpenter has become the top-rated player in the system at the hot corner just a little over a year after having been taken in the 14th round of the 2009 draft. The Texas League All-Star had a .330/.447/.606/1.054 line last month. Carpenter hit six home runs and drove in 15. He is currently third in the league in average at .315 and OPS at .903 on the season.
Cerreto’s Johnson City teammate Oscar Taveras drove in 28 runs in 28 July games. Just 18 years of age, the outfielder put together a line of .362/.406/.621/1.027. Taveras hit six long balls and was 5-of-7 in stolen base attempts. On the season, he is third in the Appalachian League in average, slugging and OPS and fifth in on-base percentage.
It isn’t Anthony Garcia’s fault that he toils in the semi-anonymous rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The 18-year-old outfielder posted a solid line of .339/.441/.643/1.084 last month. Garcia drove in 15 in 19 games and added four home runs. If he had enough at-bats to qualify, the right-handed batter would be third in the GCL in average and OBP and first in slugging and OPS.
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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. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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