photo: Moises Gomez (Springfield Cardinals)
In this new baseball world where MLB now calls the shots for Minor League Baseball, the traditional league All-Star Games each summer have disappeared. As a result, two full squads of players in each league division miss out on special recognition as well as playing in a mid-season exhibition game.
Post-season all-star teams remain, however. This is a much more exclusive recognition, as just one player per league per position is typically selected (vs. four or more when All-Star Games were played).
This past week, Minor League Baseball announced the various league all-star squads of 12 players each. They include three outfielders, a designated hitter, left- and right-handed starting pitchers and a reliever. A Manager of the Year is also named.
The St. Louis Cardinals have four 2022 all-star selections, with two players each representing two of their six affiliates, Double-A Springfield and Low-A Palm Beach.
Shut out of 2022 all-star selections are the Cardinals’ other four clubs – Triple-A Memphis, High-A Peoria and both rookie-level teams, in the Florida Complex League and Dominican Summer League.
The four honorees include one league Most Valuable Player, outfielder Moises Gomez from the Double-A Texas League. The 23-year-old was also The Cardinal Nation’s Springfield Player of the Year and TCN’s system-wide Player of the Year for 2022. (Click on the hot links for details on Gomez’ season, both at Springfield and with Memphis.)
Two Cardinals all-stars were also named as the top MLB prospects in their respective leagues, outfielder Jordan Walker in the Texas League and right-handed starting pitcher Tink Hence in the Low-A Florida State League. Both finished their 2022 as Fall Stars Game selections in the Arizona Fall League prospect showcase.
The other Cardinals all-star is the FSL’s top reliever in 2022, Andrew Marrero. The right-hander was the system-wide Pitcher of the Month for August and our Palm Beach Relief Pitcher of the Year, so click on the link for more information on Marrero’s standout season.
In the final 2022 Cardinals prospect rankings here at The Cardinal Nation, Gomez is no. 16. Walker is no. 1 and Hence checked in at no. 7. Marrero is ranked 44th.
Compared to last year
In 2021, Memphis had two International League All-Stars, Matthew Liberatore and Juan Yepez. In all fairness, the IL consists of 20 teams’ worth of players competing for those 12 all-star berths, so last year was special and this year more or less balances out 2021.
Springfield, High-A Peoria and Palm Beach were all shut out of all-star selections in 2021, with 2022 the second consecutive year no Peoria Chiefs were Midwest League All-Stars.
At the rookie level in 2021, the Cardinals had one all-star in the Florida Complex League but none in the Dominican Summer League. However, remember the latter has 45 teams of players vying for the very exclusive 12 DSL all-star selections, so the Cardinals missing two years in a row is not unreasonable.
All told, the Cardinals’ total of four all-stars this season exceeds last year’s take of three.
The last time the organization had a league Most Valuable Player (or Pitcher of the Year) was in 2019, when Dylan Carlson received Texas League MVP honors. In fact, 2021 was the first time since at least 2009 that the Cardinals had neither a league top player or pitcher somewhere in the system. So, perhaps Gomez has started a new league-best streak.
Congratulations to all four Cardinals 2022 All-Stars!
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