(photo: Evan Mendoza/Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
It is fairly unusual when the St. Louis Cardinals system features more than one league offensive Player of the Week, but I cannot recall a time when they had three across their seven top minor league levels – until now.
As they do each Monday throughout the season, Minor League Baseball announced its Pitchers and Players of the Week by league for the period of July 31 through August 6. Not only do the Cards have three players recognized, two are second-time honorees this season – and one is a very rare back-to-back winner.
State College’s Evan Mendoza is that repeater for the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League. Luis Bandes of Johnson City is the two-time top player in the rookie-level Appalachian League and they are joined by Breyvic Valera of Memphis of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Mendoza monster mashing
Mendoza’s second starring week is headlined by his .481 average on a 13-for-27 performance. The Sarasota, FL native hit two home runs and drove in six, with five multi-hit games. The third baseman has eight games with three hits or more in his first professional season, and 18 with multiple hits.
Mendoza’s overall .373 average is tops in the NYPL. The Cardinals’ 2017 11th-round draft choice from North Carolina State also leads the league with 56 hits, 14 doubles, 33 runs scored and a .567 slugging percentage. Mendoza’s 25 runs batted in and .435 on-base percentage are second-best in the league.
In five games this week, Bandes led the Appy League in home runs (4), total bases (22), slugging percentage (1.048) and OPS (1.569). The 21-year-old tied for second in the league in RBI (9), third in hits (10), fifth in batting average (.476) and ninth in on-base percentage (.522).
For the year, the Venezuelan first baseman is third in the league in slugging percentage (.575), tied for third in runs batted in (32) and ninth in batting average (.339). Bandes was also Appy League Player of the Week for the July 10-16 period this season.
Despite the Redbirds being on the West Coast last week, Valera thrived. The second baseman and leadoff man slashed .483/.516/.828/1.344. That included four doubles, two home runs, two walks, seven RBI, eight runs scored and only two strikeouts on a 14-for-29 performance.
Over the longer haul, Valera has hit in 23 of his last 26 starts (.426, 43-for-101) and 30 of his last 38 (.399, 57-for-143), earning the 40-man roster player The Cardinal Nation’s July Player of the Month honors.
Check out our detailed player pages here at The Cardinal Nation, for every honor and award received by each player in the system. Click on ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES and the team name in the left menu bar or enter the player name in the blue search box behind the magnifying glass at the far upper right.
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