photo: Rangel Ravelo (Memphis Redbirds)
This is the final part 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 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 list of June system-wide hitting leaders.
Ravelo claims TCN’s top hitting honors
While a number of position players in the Cardinals system had strong Junes, one hitter distinguished himself from the rest, utilizing a terrific stretch of offense to get a portion of the St. Louis fan base clamoring for his call-up to the big leagues.
Our June Player of the Month is Triple-A Memphis’ Rangel Ravelo, who should also have a strong case to claim the still-to-be-announced Cardinals organization and the Pacific Coast League Player of the Month honors.
Despite appearing in only 19 games in June, Ravelo made the most of his time in the field with the Redbirds and then some, posting a system-best .463/.538/.806 slash line among hitters in the organization with at least 60 at-bats.
“He is a good corner guy, meaning first base and a corner guy in the outfield,” Memphis manager Stubby Clapp said of Ravelo last year. “Very versatile and he has got a good bat. Can hit the ball to all sides of the field. He pulled the ball better and used his size and his strength to the pull-side.”
The 26-year old Cuban also finished second in the system with 31 hits, behind only Springfield middle infielder Tommy Edman, who tallied 36 knocks in 35 additional at-bats.
Not only that, Ravelo provided plenty of punch in the middle of the order for Memphis in June, leading the system with six home runs. He was also the best run-producer in the organization with 23 RBI, topping even a number of big league hitters in Jose Martinez (21 RBI in 86 at-bats), Marcell Ozuna (21 RBI in 102 at-bats), Yadier Molina (15 RBI in 76 at-bats), and Matt Carpenter (15 RBI in 99 at-bats).
His bat-to-ball skills were impressive, as evidenced by his 4-to-9 strikeout to walk ratio in 78 total plate appearances.
Overall on the season, Ravelo carries a .321/.404/.536 slash line for a .940 OPS over 58 games. His results include 11 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, and 42 RBI. His 2018 strikeout to walk ratio sits at 24-to-22 over 196 at-bats for Memphis.
Ravelo was signed by the Cardinals as a minor league free agent last season due to Memphis being short on offensive firepower. He had been released by the Oakland Athletics after 2017 spring training and hasn’t looked back in terms of his performance at the plate.
While his offense is clearly his carrying tool, the Chicago White Sox’ 2012 sixth-round pick has split time between first base and left field this year. He also has experience in right field in the past.
Though scouts think Ravelo lacks the power to play first base every day, he could be a tough right-handed bat off the bench in the big leagues.
Late Monday afternoon, the Cardinals organization announced that Ravelo is their June Player of the Month, as well.
Runner-up to Ravelo is the aforementioned Edman, who ranks as TCN’s No. 33 prospect and broke the Double-A Springfield all-time record with a 33-game on-base streak on Friday, moving past former farmhand Aaron Luna in the record books.
Oh, and he had an outstanding month of June as well. Edman was the most durable player in the system, taking the most at-bats (102). The 23-year old was second among qualified hitters with a .353 average and OPS’d .803 over 25 games for the month.
“He is not a big guy, but he is very durable,” Springfield manager Johnny Rodriguez said regarding Edman. “I would think he would be tired. He has shown some signs – I won’t say tired but it is just wear and tear and the grind of the heat. The long travels of this league.
“Well, guess what? He has picked up 30 points on his average. He has been really good – both sides of the plate.”
Another worthy mention was Dominican Summer League Cardinals Blue center fielder Diomedes Del Rio, who received strong consideration despite being at the lowest level of competition in the minors. In 20 games, Del Rio tore up DSL pitching, slashing .339/.494/.758 with 13 extra-base hits (four doubles, eight triples, and two homers) as well as 17 RBI. The 5-foot-10 left-handed hitter also has a robust 21-to-14 K/BB count through 62 at-bats.
In his third season at the Academy, Del Rio has finally found traction after a disappointing pro debut two years ago and less than stellar 2017. The 20-year old was a part of the Cardinals prestigious 2016 international signing class, signing for $200,000 out of Venezuela. He shows signs of a solid offensive approach and contact ability from the left-side, playing center field with above-average speed.
DSL Cardinals Red outfielder Joerlin De Los Santos also had a strong month of June, hitting .338 with a .918 OPS. The 17-year old, who signed for $250,000 last year out of the Dominican, collected seven doubles, one triple, and 12 RBI over 22 games this past month. A 70 runner, De Los Santos swiped 12 bags in 14 chances as well.
De Los Santos spent time in the infield and outfield as an amateur, but center field was the best match with his speed. He has solid barrel-to-ball skills as evident by his 13-to-16 strikeout to walk count in his first 77 pro at-bats and has the speed to leg out extra-base hits.
In addition to Ravelo, a handful of Memphis batters had solid Junes – outfielder Tyler O’Neill (five home runs in 69 at-bats and a .958 OPS), third baseman Patrick Wisdom (13 extra-base hits in 88 at-bats and a .940 OPS), and outfielder Adolis Garcia (10 extra-base hits in 76 at-bats and a .858 OPS).
Between Memphis and Springfield, TCN’s No. 7 prospect Andrew Knizner had a nice month, batting .295 with three doubles and a home run in 19 games, highlighted by a perfect 4-for-4 effort on June 23 all while continuing to improve his defense behind the plate.
Lane Thomas was up-and-down but was the primary power source for the S-Cards, leading the club with four homers and 17 RBI. The outfielder finished the month with a .287/.349/.468 slash line for a .817 OPS in 94 at-bats. Stefan Trosclair (.828 OPS in 58 at-bats) and Chris Chinea (.800 OPS in 78 at-bats) were productive in June for Springfield.
In the pitcher-friendly confines of the Florida State League, High-A Palm Beach was led by outfielder J.B. Woodman, who posted a .327/.473/.387 slash line with 10 extra-base hits and 10 RBI in 55 at-bats. Johan Mieses (.814 OPS in 69 at-bats), Andy Young (.808 OPS in 83 at-bats), and Dylan Carlson (.800 OPS in 76 at-bats) were also key contributors.
At Low-A Peoria, TCN’s No. 18 prospect Elehuris Montero continued his breakout season for the Chiefs, slashing .289/.372/.518 with five doubles, four homers and 17 RBI over 83 at-bats. The third baseman does not turn 20 until August 17. Matt Fiedler (.841 OPS in 67 at-bats), Scott Hurst (.804 OPS in 62 at-bats), Bryce Denton (.762 OPS in 73 at-bats), and Nick Plummer (.758 OPS in 55 at-bats) had good Junes as well for Peoria.
Related article: The Cardinal Nation June Pitcher of the Month – Dakota Hudson
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