photo: Breyvic Valera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
The first of The Cardinal Nation’s top two monthly awards to St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers goes to the top system-wide hitter in August. The selection is made by reviewing a series of rate and counting stats, with the winner usually revealing himself.
This time around, we have a two-time winner. In fact, Memphis’ Breyvic Valera is the rare individual to collect these honors in two consecutive months, adding August honors to his July award.
We start our analysis with the Tommy Phams of the minor league system – .300 hitters, .400 on-base performers, .500 sluggers and of course, those with at least a .900 OPS across the Cardinals system. Players needed at least 60 at-bats to qualify.
|Anthony Garcia||0.391||SPR||Taylor Bryant||0.481||GCL|
|Taylor Bryant||0.385||GCL||Chase Pinder||0.470||JC|
|Yariel Gonzalez||0.356||SC||Anthony Garcia||0.444||SPR|
|Breyvic Valera||0.346||MEM||Yariel Gonzalez||0.418||SC|
|Wilfredo Tovar||0.343||MEM||Kramer Robertson||0.417||PEO|
|Chase Pinder||0.338||JC||Rangel Ravelo||0.396||MEM|
|Jonatan Machado||0.338||GCL||Breyvic Valera||0.395||MEM|
|Andrew Knizner||0.324||SPR||Scott Hurst||0.393||SC|
|Adolis Garcia||0.600||SPR/MEM||Breyvic Valera||0.991||MEM|
|Breyvic Valera||0.596||MEM||Anthony Garcia||0.960||SPR|
|Stefan Trosclair||0.573||PEO||Chase Pinder||0.947||JC|
|Luis Bandes||0.567||JC||Rangel Ravelo||0.934||MEM|
|Brian O’Keefe||0.551||PEO/PB||Adolis Garcia||0.927||SPR/MEM|
|Rangel Ravelo||0.538||MEM||Taylor Bryant||0.927||GCL|
|Patrick Wisdom||0.538||MEM||Brian O’Keefe||0.901||PEO/PB|
|Carlos Soler||0.532||DSL||Carlos Soler||0.900||DSL|
As the above tables indicate, there were at least 16 .300 hitters in the Cardinals system during August. That is as high as I can recall in recent memory. At the top are Anthony Garcia and Taylor Bryant, each pushing .400. Three others were clustered around .350 – Yariel Gonzalez of State College and a pair of Memphis teammates, Valera and Wilfredo Tovar.
Garcia and Bryant are among the OBP leaders, with Chase Pinder of Johnson City joining them. Only two others had a .400 OBP or better – Gonzalez and Kramer Robertson of Peoria. However, Valera and another Memphian, Rangel Ravelo, were very close.
In the slugging category, the “other” Springfield Garcia, Adolis, led the way, closely followed by Valera. Stefan Trosclair, Luis Bandes and Brian O’Keefe all came in over .550.
Putting it together in OPS, Valera and Anthony Garcia are head and shoulders above the others. Six others logged an OPS of at least .900 in August.
Now, let’s look at the system-wide August leaders in home runs, RBI, runs scored and stolen bases.
|Adolis Garcia||7||SPR/MEM||Luis Bandes||26||JC|
|Luis Bandes||7||JC||Yariel Gonzalez||25||SC|
|Patrick Wisdom||7||MEM||Adolis Garcia||23||SPR/MEM|
|Tyler O’Neill||6||MEM||Julio Rodriguez||19||JC|
|Breyvic Valera||5||MEM||Breyvic Valera||18||MEM|
|Brady Whelan||5||JC||Elehuris Montero||17||GCL|
|Brian O’Keefe||5||PEO/PB||Patrick Wisdom||17||MEM|
|Stefan Trosclair||5||PEO||Stefan Trosclair||17||PEO|
|Brady Whelan||23||JC||Wilfredo Tovar||8/12||MEM|
|Irving Lopez||21||JC||Jonatan Machado||6/7||GCL|
|Kramer Robertson||21||PEO||Harrison Bader||6/9||MEM|
|Breyvic Valera||19||MEM||Edwin Figuera||5/7||SC|
|Adolis Garcia||19||SPR/MEM||Magneuris Sierra||4/5||Spr|
|Leobaldo Pina||18||PB||Darren Seferina||4/5||SPR|
|Stefan Trosclair||18||PEO||Kramer Robertson||4/5||PEO|
|Edwin Figuera||17||SC||Carlos Soler||4/6||DSL|
We have some short-season names on top here, including Bandes and Yariel Gonzalez. Bandes of Johnson City is the sole leader in RBI, with an amazing 26 in 23 games, followed by State College’s Gonzalez with 25.
Bandes is joined by Patrick Wisdom of Memphis and Adolis Garcia with seven August long balls each. Next is newcomer Tyler O’Neill with six homers.
In runs scored, JC teammates Brady Whelan (23) and Irving Lopez (21) are first and tied for second, respectively. Also at 21 is Kramer Robertson of Peoria, with Valera and Adolis Garcia next.
A surprise leader in stolen bases with eight is Memphis’ Tovar, though his success rate was just 66%. Jonatan Machado from the GCL was more effective, swiping six of seven bags attempted.
If I could combine the two Garcias, Adolis for his power and Anthony for his rate stats, they/he would be the winner.
However, in terms of overall success across the board, Valera checks more boxes. In the eight lists of leaders above, the Memphis utilityman appears on seven, only falling short in stolen bases.
With the top OPS in the system as well as strong performance in both scoring runs and driving them in, Valera is officially named The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Month for August.
Last month’s winners
TCN’s July Player of the Month honors also went to Valera, who despite his good play is completing his second season since competing in the Arizona Fall League and first on the 40-man roster without a promotion to St. Louis.
Given his exceptionally strong second half, it seems surprising Valera’s hold on his 40-man spot could be tenuous.
To be specific, in the second half, Valera’s slash line is an impressive .370/.431/.580/1.011.
The Cardinals organization instead named Valera’s Memphis teammate Harrison Bader as their July Player of the Month.
Over the prior 31 days, the outfield prospect had just one extra-base hit, slashing .222/.320/.259/.579 for the Redbirds. Bader did appear among the August steals leaders noted above, but was caught one-third of the time.
September began with Bader’s return to the majors, with a home run in his first game back.
Look for TCN’s Cardinals Pitcher of the Month as well the Cardinals organization’s announcement of their choices as the top pitching and hitting performers from August.
© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.