The Cardinal Nation July Player of the Month

Rodriguez: Led system in five major categories

Palm Beach first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez is our choice as the top position player across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system last month.

The Florida State League has a well-deserved reputation as a pitching-oriented circuit. Yet for the second consecutive month, The Cardinal Nation's selection for the top position player in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system is a member of the Palm Beach Cardinals.

As the statistics below indicate, one hitter led the entire organization in July in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging and of course, OPS. Those gaudy numbers translated into production, as well, as The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for July, first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez, also drove in the most runners of any hitter in the system in July with 28 RBI in 25 games.

To narrow down the candidates across the system to the 14 names below, I selected only those hitters with at least 70 at-bats for the month and an OPS of at least .775. The top two or three performers in each statistical category are highlighted. The names are listed in OPS order.

Name Team AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jonathan Rodriguez PB 0.382 0.441 0.663 1.104
Adron Chambers Mem 0.354 0.391 0.573 0.964
Jake Stone GCL 0.371 0.438 0.514 0.952
David Popkins PB 0.327 0.353 0.541 0.894
Steven Ramos SC 0.382 0.421 0.461 0.882
David Washington SC 0.304 0.352 0.527 0.879
Ronnierd Garcia JC 0.315 0.388 0.489 0.877
Kenny Peoples-Walls JC 0.284 0.346 0.526 0.872
James Ramsey Spr 0.243 0.346 0.523 0.869
Bruce Caldwell SC 0.341 0.434 0.429 0.863
Justin Ringo JC 0.288 0.388 0.438 0.826
Luis Perez JC-SC 0.297 0.365 0.432 0.797
Jacob Wilson Peo-PB 0.228 0.336 0.446 0.782
Mike ONeill Spr-Mem 0.315 0.426 0.352 0.778

Name Team AB R 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS
Jonathan Rodriguez PB 89 12 7 0 6 28 11 16 3 1
Adron Chambers Mem 82 17 4 1 4 16 7 17 7 0
Jake Stone GCL 70 9 8 1 0 9 7 11 0 1
David Popkins PB 98 15 6 3 3 17 2 24 1 1
Steven Ramos SC 89 14 5 1 0 7 6 17 6 3
David Washington SC 112 13 7 0 6 27 8 30 0 0
Ronnierd Garcia JC 92 19 10 0 2 14 8 25 2 0
Kenny Peoples-Walls JC 95 17 5 3 4 15 7 28 4 2
James Ramsey Spr 107 19 4 1 8 22 17 38 2 1
Bruce Caldwell SC 91 19 8 0 0 9 14 19 5 1
Justin Ringo JC 73 12 3 1 2 12 11 5 0 0
Luis Perez JC-SC 74 8 4 0 2 11 6 13 4 3
Jacob Wilson Peo-PB 92 18 8 0 4 16 15 18 2 2
Mike ONeill Spr-Mem 108 18 2 1 0 15 21 9 9 0

Rodriguez
Rodriguez batted .382, tying State College's Steven Ramos by going 34-for-89 at the plate. In a major accomplishment, Rodriguez is one of a handful of players to reach base at a higher rate than Mike O'Neill. By slugging 90 points higher than anyone else, Rodriguez created a whopping 150 points of OPS separation between himself and Memphis' Adron Chambers, now with St. Louis.

Rodriguez, 23, also is making encouraging progress in cutting down his strikeouts, with 16 to go with 11 walks. The 2013 Florida State League all-star even showed his wheels, going 3-for-4 in stolen base attempts. Oh yes, the right-handed hitter exactly doubled his home run and RBI totals from June, going from 3/14 to 6/28.

The uptick in Rodriguez' performance is one reason the Palm Beach club has a winning record in the second half and is just one game out of first place in the FSL South Division.

Honorable mentions

In a very encouraging outcome, Springfield James Ramsey paced the system in home runs last month with eight. The outfielder did not lose his selectivity at the plate, as he also was second in walks to his then-teammate O'Neill with 17. The only downside to Ramsey's performance was his .243 batting average.

O'Neill, promoted to Memphis at the end of July, continues to hone his game. The on-base specialist went a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen bases, two ahead of Chambers for the system lead last month. Another player to watch, 28th rounder Justin Ringo, logged an O'Neill-like ratio of 11 walks to only five strikeouts in 73 at-bats for Johnson City.

State College's David Washington continues to hit. His home run total of six matched Rodriguez while his RBI total of 27 was just one behind the leader. Another first baseman, 27th round draft pick Jake Stone, made a strong debut in OBP and OPS down in the Gulf Coast League.

Stone's eight doubles was just two off the total logged by July system leader Ronnierd Garcia of Johnson City. Garcia shared the lead for runs scored at 19 with Ramsey and Bruce Caldwell, promoted to Peoria as the calendar flipped to August.

One of the most consistent players in the system in recent months has been David Popkins of Palm Beach. Along with the third-highest slugging and fourth-best OPS, the outfielder was the system-wide co-leader in triples with three. Sharing that total is Johnson City shortstop Kenny Peoples-Walls.

All told, Jonathan Rodriguez' July numbers stood out above these other strong performers. Congratulations to The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Player of the Month.

Update

On Friday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals organization also named Rodriguez the organization's Player of the Month for July. They added the following background about the first baseman's overall season.

The San Juan, Puerto Rico, native tallied 11 multi-hit games and had a two home run game which included his first career grand slam vs. Tampa on July 21. Rodriguez, the starting designated hitter in the Florida State League All-Star Game for the South, is among the Top 10 in the Florida State League in batting (.298, 7th), runs batted in (58, 7th), on base percentage (.376, 8th), slugging (.484, 6th), on base+slugging (.861, 4th) and doubles (30, 2nd).

He is currently five doubles away from tying the Palm Beach franchise mark of 35 and his 17 stolen bases put him in position to be the first Palm Beach Cardinal to steal 20 bases in a season since Adron Chambers in 2009.

How did June's winner fare in July

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

The outfielder, who actually missed a chunk of time during his red-hot June, is still fighting the injury bug. Garcia was back on the disabled list from July 16-25 due to a muscle strain in his leg.

When active in July, the 21-year-old struggled. In 59 at-bats over 16 games, Garcia's line was just .203/.254/.288. The right-handed hitter had only three extra-base hits and six RBI.

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        

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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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