photo: Ramon Santos (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
This is the conclusion of The Cardinal Nation’s monthly two-part series in which we name our Players and Pitchers of the Month across the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The top August player, Breyvic Valera, has already been named, leaving our top pitcher honor today, which goes to Ramon Santos of Palm Beach.
I am a firm believer in letting the comparative data tell the story. In the following table are the finalists for the Pitcher of the Month across the St. Louis Cardinals system. To qualify, they needed a sub-2.00 ERA and at least 20 innings thrown. 35 hurlers crossed the innings bar, with ERA whittling down the finalists to 10.
By taking the aggressive 2.00 limit, top 20 prospects Sandy Alcantara (2.14 ERA), Jake Woodford (2.43) and Ryan Helsley (2.67) were left behind.
Let’s focus on who is included, rather than those who are not. There is solid cross-section of hurlers, as all eight levels of play are represented by one or more finalists. With two finalists each are Johnson City and the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, ironically two teams that missed their playoffs in a bid to defend their 2016 league titles.
The ten finalists are listed in ERA sequence from lowest to highest.
Two pitchers had ERAs under 1.00 for the month, Ramon Santos and Austin Gomber, with two others under 1.30, Andrew Summerville and Angel Rondon. Five of the 10 have WHIPs under 1.00 during August
In strikeouts per nine, Zach Prendergast and Gomber are the only double-digit masters. In free passes issued per nine, Santos, Prendergast and his JC teammate Evan Guillory led the way.
Combining the two, Prendergast has the most superior strikeout to walk ratio, followed by Santos.
The final measures are ground ball to fly ball ratios. The only members of the 10 with better than 2:1 ratios are Guillory, Diego Cordero and by a huge margin, Santos at 4.4:1.
Taking all the measures into account, Palm Beach’s Ramon Santos has the most balanced performance among a very successful group. The 22-year old posted the lowest ERA at 0.83 and was among the lowest WHIP group at 0.93. His strikeout to walk ratio was second-best and his groundball rate was superior to all.
Santos was recognized as the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week for the August 7-13 period.
Santos last allowed as many as two runs eight appearances ago, on July 26. In his six starts since being moved into the rotation from relief, Santos has a 0.50 ERA. His full season mark between Peoria and Palm Beach is 2.99.
Congratulations to Ramon Santos, The Cardinal Nation Pitcher of the Month for August.
July’s winners in August
Last month’s winner Ryan Helsley shared his TCN honor with former Palm Beach and now current Springfield teammate Jordan Hicks. The latter was the Cardinals organization’s choice as July Pitcher of the Month. That both hurlers have been promoted speaks volumes on how their respective careers are progressing.
Specifically during August, Helsley was named a Florida State League post-season All-Star as well as the high-A circuit’s Pitcher of the Year. On the mound, he posted a 2.67 ERA to go with 41 strikeouts and 15 free passes issued in 33 2/3 innings.
Despite ending the month on the disabled list without pitching at Springfield, Hicks received a coveted spot in the Arizona Fall League. As an August reliever with Palm Beach, the 21-year old threw 10 scoreless innings on nine hits, 11 strikeouts and three walks.
Prior related article
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Even More Palm Beach Cardinals Transactions
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