(photo: Jordan Hicks/Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Thursday) that Memphis (AAA) outfielder Harrison Bader and Palm Beach (High-A) starting pitcher Jordan Hicks have been honored as the Cardinals Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for July for their accomplishments on the field.
Bader, 23, batted .314 (22-for-70) with six home runs, two doubles, and 12 RBI in 21 games during the month, while also scoring 18 runs and stealing a team-leading five bases.
The 6-foot-0, 200-lb. centerfielder, who recently became the sixth Cardinal to make his Major League debut this season, started six games in centerfield for St. Louis and batted .286 (6-for-21) with two doubles and two walks. He scored the game-winning run in his Major League debut on July 25 vs. Colorado, as the Cardinals won in walk-off fashion.
The right-handed hitting Bader began the season as a non-roster invite to Major League Spring Training and was assigned to Memphis. He is batting .297 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 97 games with the triple-A Redbirds, and leads the organization in total bases (181), ranks 2nd in home runs, 3rd in runs scored (62) and T3rd in hits (104).
Bader was the Cardinals third round draft pick (100th overall) out of the University of Florida in the June, 2015 First-Year Player Draft. The outfielder played on the Gators College World Series team in June 2015 and made his triple-A debut with Memphis on July 6, 2016. Entering the 2017 season, Bader was rated as the No. 7 prospect in the Cardinals system by Baseball America.
“With a strong performance both offensively and in the outfield, Harrison helped lead Memphis to their 23 wins during July, highlighted by his call-up to St. Louis at the end of the month,” said Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.
Hicks, 20, the Cardinals 3rd round Supplemental pick (105th overall) in the June, 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Cyress Creek (Tex.) High School, went 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA (25.0 IP/3 ER), 30 strikeouts and five walks in five combined starts between Peoria (A) and Palm Beach (High-A) last month.
Hicks’ 0.84 WHIP during the month ranked 11th among all single-A pitchers, while his ERA was T14th. The starting pitcher did not allow a home run to any of the 94 batters he faced in July and recorded a 2.42 groundout/flyout ratio, the 7th-highest mark in Class A.
After setting career highs in innings (8.0), pitches (103) and strikeouts (9) in an 8-1 win on July 2 at Kane County, Hicks was promoted to Palm Beach, where he finished July with a 0-1 record, 1.59 ERA (17.0 IP/3 ER) and 21 strikeouts over four starts. Since allowing three runs in his debut start with Palm Beach, the right-hander has made three scoreless starts while shutting out the opposition over his last 14.0 innings.
“Following his Midwest League Mid-Season All Star selection, Jordan was promoted to the Florida State League and was impressive in four games during July for the Palm Beach Cardinals,” said LaRocque.
The Texas native began the 2017 season 8-2 with a 3.35 ERA (78.0 IP/29 ER) and 63 strikeouts in 14 starts with the Chiefs before his promotion.
Overall this season between Peoria and Palm Beach, the 6-foot-2, 185 lb. right-hander ranks 7th in the Cardinals organization in strikeouts (84) and ERA (3.03), T7th in starts (18) and wins (8), and 10th in innings pitched (95.0).
The minor league honor is the first for Hicks and second for Bader, who won the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month for April 2016.
Brian Walton’s take
The Cardinal Nation’s July choices for top player and pitcher are Bader’s teammate Breyvic Valera and Hicks’ teammate for most of July, Ryan Helsley.
While Bader is the superior prospect by far and had a nice debut with St. Louis, Valera had a better month for Memphis, in our opinion.
In the case of naming Helsley over Hicks, I simply made a mistake. Both were excellent, but Hicks was best.
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