Photo: Moisés Gómez (Springfield Cardinals Fanatic Photos)
It is time to select The Cardinal Nation’s first Player of the Month for the 2022 season. This article covers play during April across the four full-season affiliates. The two short-season rookie level clubs will not be considered since they have not yet begun play.
As a reminder, this is NOT the “Pitcher of the Month Among Top Prospects”. Every player in the system has an equal chance, with only their performance during the month used to differentiate the best of the best. Age and level, which are key prospect considerations, are not factors here.
There is very little drama in this decision, so I’ll just say it upfront. Springfield outfielder Moisés Gómez is the Player of the Month after a scintillating first month in the organization.
To qualify, a player must have had at least 50 plate appearances in April. To make the list of finalists an OPS over .900 was required, a high mark which demonstrates the hitting excellence of these finalists this month. There are eight finalists from three levels, with Palm Beach the only team not represented, which is unsurprising considering the pitcher friendly nature of the Florida State League.
We will take two views of the data. The first look will be at rate stats, followed by counting stats. Names are listed in the same sequence in both tables, in descending OPS order. Leaders are bolded.
Rate Stats – Finalists
An impressive six of the eight finalists batted above .300 with Moisés Gómez the sole member of the .400 club. Exactly half of the finalists OBP’ed over .450 and four also OPS’ed over 1.000. This was a great month for a number of prospects, but none more so than Gómez, whose slugging percentage was higher than all but four players in the system (min 50 PAs).
Gómez led in every rate stat except for on-base percentage, topped only by Masyn Winn, who also had the second highest batting average.
Nolan Gorman put his power on display with a slugging percentage of .811, which would normally lead the system by a substantial margin. Gomez’s red-hot April is the only thing that kept Gorman in second for the first month of the season.
Most of the players on this list are corner players who need to have strong bats to provide value. Pedro Pages, Chase Pinder and Winn are the exceptions as the latter two play up the middle and the former is a catcher. It’s a good sign for the system that it got excellent offensive production from the most demanding defensive positions.
Counting Stats – Finalists
Moisés Gómez and Nolan Gorman not only led the Cardinals organization in home runs in April with 11, they also led all of the minor leagues.
Gómez also topped the organization in runs scored and RBI, which isn’t surprising considering he had the second highest OBP in the system to go with his 11 home runs. He also hit six doubles as his power onslaught was not limited to balls that cleared the fence.
Another way to see Gómez’ April dominance is by looking at his ratio of games played to runs scored. The outfielder averaged over one run per game, making him a huge part of Springfield’s offense. The 23-year-old was the Texas League Player of the Week for each of the first two weeks of the season – another indication of dominance!
Gorman had the dubious distinction of leading the organization in strikeouts as his power came with some swing and miss. Our top ranked Cardinals prospect had nine multi-strikeout outings, including a pair of games in which he fanned three times. Don’t let that detract too much from his incredible month, though.
Juan Yepez didn’t quite match the power output of Gómez and Gorman, but his eight long balls and 23 RBI made him a force to be reckoned within the heart of the Memphis batting order.
Masyn Winn, the system leader in OBP, took a different route to high end production as he tied for the lead in walks among finalists while stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts and legging out five triples. Given the rarity of the triple in the modern game, this is no mean feat. Winn’s on-base skills and speed made for a deadly combination for opposing pitchers this month.
Pages and Pinder tied Winn for the lead in walks and Pages also tied Winn and Alec Burleson for the fewest strikeouts among the group of finalists.
TCN’s Player of the Month – Moisés Gómez
Moisés Gómez is a newcomer to the Cardinals organization, joining via free agency this winter. Thus, he is our Player of the Month in his first month of action with his new organization. That’s a great way to endear yourself to decision makers!
His first and only other organization was the Rays, who signed him out of Venezuela and allowed him to make his professional debut at the age of 16. Gómez dominated the Venezuelan Winter League (which no longer exists) in 2015 but then struggled more as he advanced through the various rookie ball levels.
The slugger really found his power once he hit full-season ball, clubbing 19 long balls and tallying a .223 ISO in 2018 at Single-A.
It was this performance that really put him on the prospect map. Baseball America ranked him as the 10th best prospect in the Rays system prior to the start of the 2019 season. Gómez was unable to repeat his success in High-A, but he didn’t have a bad year by any means, finishing with 16 home runs and a 106 wRC+, making him a slightly above league average hitter at the level.
He bumped down to 15th in Baseball America’s ranking the following year before a disastrous 2021 season in Double-A in which his strikeout rate ballooned over 38%, his batting average fell way below the Mendoza Line (.171) and wRC+ was a measly 58.
The lost 2020 minor league season may have been a detriment, but he has certainly bounced back so far in 2022. He has plenty of pop and has dropped his strikeout rate below 30% for the first time since A-ball. Gómez should be well on his way to a new career high for home runs in a season, as he needs just nine the rest of the year to break his previous high of 19.
There were plenty of strong candidates for this recognition but Gómez stood head and shoulders above the rest of the field after dominating Double-A competition. He is the clear choice and a deserving winner of our Player of the Month award.
The St. Louis Cardinals should follow soon with their picks for the best pitcher and the best hitter in April. The Cardinals’ choices will be posted here when they are announced.
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