photo: Gordon Graceffo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
St. Louis Cardinals release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Thursday, May 5) their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for April, with Springfield Cardinals (AA) outfielder Moisés Gómez and Peoria Chiefs (High-A) right-handed starter Gordon Graceffo (gruh-SEFF-oh) taking the honors for the first time.
Gómez, 23, hit for an .429 average (27-for-63), with 11 home runs, six doubles, 25 RBI and 22 runs scored in 17 games with Springfield. His 1.048 slugging percentage and 1.519 OPS led all Minor League qualified hitters for the month, while also ranking first in home runs, extra base hits (17) and total bases (66). Among Double-A players, Gómez ranked first in average, RBI and runs as well. He reached base safely in 16-of-17 games last month (multiple hits in 11) and had multiple RBI in 10 of those contests. Gómez’s output has already earned him back-to-back Texas League Player of the Week honors.
“Moisés’ outstanding start offensively in April lead him to a well-earned ‘Player of the Month’ selection,” said Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.
The 5’11”, 200-pound right-handed hitting Venezuelan signed with the Cardinals as a minor league free agent this past offseason after spending seven seasons in the Tampa Bay minor league system. Ranked as the Best Power Hitter in the Rays system by Baseball America in 2020 and 2021, his 11 home runs already represent the third-highest total for any single season of his career.
Graceffo, 22, posted a 2-0 record with a 0.83 ERA (2 ER/21.2 IP) and 30 strikeouts in his first four starts of the season. He led all Cardinals minor league starting pitchers with a .133 average against and a 0.51 WHIP, while ranking second in ERA and strikeouts. The New Jersey native had a strikeout rate of 39.5% and only walked one of his 76 total batters faced.
“Gordon’s excellent month of April was highlighted by four quality starts, one walk in 21.2 innings, and only 11 baserunners on the way to earning ‘Pitcher of the Month’ honors,” stated LaRocque.
Drafted by the Cardinals in the 5th round (150th overall) of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Villanova University, the 6’4 right-hander had a 1.73 ERA in 11 appearances (one start) for Single-A Palm Beach last season. He began the season ranked as the 15th best prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America. He has not allowed more than three hits in any start this season and struck out a career-high nine batters in each of his last two starts.
Brian Walton’s take
These honors are deserved and they coincide with The Cardinal Nation’s own selections announced earlier this week. Refer to the following articles for details on a number of other finalists as well as the two winners.
As noted above, Gomez, TCN’s no. 37 prospect, doubled as the Texas League Player of the Month in his first month in the organization. For the Cardinals organizational honor, he edged International League Player of the Month Nolan Gorman among others.
Oddly, Graceffo lost out on the Midwest League Pitcher of the Month honors to Peoria teammate Michael McGreevy. The latter also had a strong April showing, but as the data in the above article indicates, Graceffo won the major comparisons between the two.
The only exceptions are that McGreevy was a higher round draft pick in 2021 and is a higher-ranked prospect – but neither should matter in a performance-based measure such as Pitcher of the Month. Further, Graceffo is also a very promising prospect. Here at The Cardinal Nation, McGreevy is currently seventh and Graceffo is 13th among top prospects in the Cardinals system, with both having improved in our April rankings update.
Both pitchers have bright futures ahead, with their next stop at some point this season being Double-A. But by then, Gomez might have already been promoted to Memphis.
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