photo: Adolis Garcia (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)
This is the second of The Cardinal Nation’s monthly two-part series as we name our Players and Pitchers of the Month across the St. Louis Cardinals organization. While the Cardinals themselves recognize their top players as well, we undertake our own independent analysis unencumbered by the organization’s selection criteria.
Let’s get right to it with a look at the August system-wide hitting leaders.
Garcia claims TCN’s top August hitting honors
While a number of hitters in the Cardinals system had strong Augusts, one hitter distinguished himself from the rest, utilizing a terrific stretch of hitting to help Triple-A Memphis climb back into playoff contention.
Our August Player of the Month is Memphis slugger Adolis Garcia, who should have a strong case to claim the still-to-be-announced Pacific Coast League Player of the Month honors.
Among hitters across the Cardinals system with at least 75 at-bats, Garcia finished with the highest OPS (1.160). He also slugged a system-best eight homers and drove in the second most runs (21) in August.
Overall, Garcia slashed .338/.407/.753 and collected 14 extra-base hits through 25 games.
Memphis manager Ben Johnson explained where Garcia was in his game at the end of July.
“He’s had some ups and downs this year, but he hasn’t given in,” Johnson told The Cardinal Nation. “[Garcia] has worked diligently day-in and day-out, and now he’s finding his rhythm and staying in shape. He’s maintained his bat speed, strength and he’s taken off.”
While the strong finish to 2019 was not enough to earn him a September call-up to St. Louis, Garcia’s phenomenal month of August helped him cross the 30-homer and 90-RBI threshold.
“Thanks to God, everything has been coming out great this month,” Garcia told TCN reporter Frank Ramirez. “It took making various adjustments to make a better game plan, and thanks to that, everything has been better.”
His 95 RBI makes him the first Memphis batter since Nick Stavinoha (109 in 2011) to record 90-plus RBI in a year. He’s also the first Redbird since Rick Ankiel in 2007 to slug at least 32 homers.
Runner-up to Garcia is High-A Palm Beach first baseman Luken Baker, who posted a .346/.413/.654 slash line over 23 games in August. The 22-year-old collected a system-best 16 extra-base hits and produced 14 RBIs for the Beach Birds.
Baker’s OPS of 1.067 ranked second only to Garcia among hitters with at least 75 at-bats.
After the most robust month of his professional career, Baker is poised to open 2020 at Double-A Springfield, where he has a chance to blossom.
A trio of others who also received consideration are Memphis outfielders Justin Williams, Dylan Carlson and Randy Arozarena.
Finally healthy, Williams hit .353/.434/.576 in August and tied for a system-best with 21 RBIs over 27 games. The 23-year-old had an injury-plagued 2019, but goes into this offseason with offensive momentum.
Carlson’s breakthrough season continued into August, which earned him a taste of Memphis to conclude 2019. The 20-year-old, named Texas League Player of the Year this past week, slashed .311/.387/.594 in 28 games between Double-A Springfield and Memphis.
Carlson also collected 14 extra-base hits and swiped six bags in eight chances.
Arozarena, whose tremendous month of July powered him to his major-league debut in August, also performed well when with the Redbirds. The 24-year-old hit .314/.410/.643 with six homers and 12 RBIs for Memphis.
Memphis infielder Ramon Urias also put together a solid August, hitting .310 with a .912 OPS in 28 games. The 25-year-old tallied 13 extra-base hits and knocked in 21 runs. Infielder Edmundo Sosa also hit well down the stretch for Memphis, hitting .345 with a .894 OPS in 27 games.
Sosa and Arozarena are expected to join St. Louis on Tuesday, with Carlson scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League.
In The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect Rankings for August, Carlson is no .1, Arozarena is ninth, Garcia came in at no. 14, Williams is 19th, Baker 24th and Urias checked in at no. 33.
Link to related article
This coming week, the Cardinals organization will disclose its choices of their top performers in the final month of the 2019 season.
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation
Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.
Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.
© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.