Gomber, Valera Cards August Pitcher, Player of the Month

photo: Austin Gomber/Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that Memphis (AAA) infielder Breyvic Valera (pronounced BRAY-vic VAH-lair-ah) and Springfield (AA) starting pitcher Austin Gomber have been honored as the Cardinals Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August for their accomplishments on the field.

Breyvic Valera (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Valera, 25, was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2010 out of Montalban, Venezuela.  He batted .346 (36-104) with five home runs and 18 RBI over 25 games during the month of August.  He entered the month with two home runs and 22 RBI in the 89 games prior to August.

The switch-hitting infielder has been on a hot streak since July 4, batting .359, the 12th-highest mark in all of Minor League Baseball, while tallying 24 multi-hit games over that span including a 26-game on-base streak from July 30-August 29.  He began August by earning Pacific Coast League Player of the Week honors (July 31-August 6).

“Breyvic’s second half of the season helped lead Memphis to the PCL playoffs, highlighted by an excellent month in August,” said Gary LaRocque, St. Louis Cardinals Director of Player Development.

Austin Gomber (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Gomber, 23, was the Cardinals fourth round (135th overall) draft pick out of Florida Atlantic University in 2014.  In six August starts for Springfield, Gomber was 5-0 with an 0.91 ERA covering 39.2 innings with 44 strikeouts.  His 0.91 ERA was the lowest of any starting pitcher who did not make a relief appearance in double-A during August and his 44 strikeouts ranked 3rd among double-A pitchers.

In his last start of the season vs. Arkansas on August 31, Gomber struck out a career-high 11 batters over 6.0 innings.  He did not allow more than two runs in any of his final eight starts of the season including two scoreless 7.0 inning efforts.

“In Austin’s six starts during August, over 39 2/3 innings, opposing hitters only managed 18 hits and four earned runs with 44 strikeouts,” complimented LaRocque.

This was Valera’s first Cardinals monthly honor, while this marks Gomber’s second Minor League Pitcher of the Month award as he won the honor in August 2015, the same year in which he was named Cardinals co-Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Brian Walton’s take

Valera won TCN’s August Player of the Month honors, as well. In fact, it was his second straight award. Of course, of bigger celebration is his first-ever promotion to St. Louis, also announced on Tuesday.

For TCN’s Pitcher of the Month, Gomber was edged out by the only other starter in the system with a sub-1.00 ERA in August, Palm Beach’s Ramon Santos.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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