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2014 Review: Minor League Awards Edition

We've reviewed the season and given out the team awards now it's time to look at the system as a whole and hand 'em out at the organizational level. For full columns and reviews of each team be sure to refer back to the Story Stream of the individual articles.

Rob Kaminsky, Serious Face
Rob Kaminsky, Serious Face

Position Player of the Year


Magneuris Sierra, GCL Cardinals (R)

Rowan Wick, State College Spikes (SS-A)

Charlie Tilson, Palm Beach Cardinals (A+)

Jacob Wilson, Springfield Cardinals (AA)

Tommy Pham, Memphis Redbirds (AAA)

Winner:  Tommy Pham

Hitting .324/.395/.491 in this Cardinal farm system is a darn good head start to winning the position player of the year award, and then you throw in all the extras:

  • Above average defense in CF
  • 20 for 22 stealing bases (91% success rate)
  • Put up the lowest strikeout rate of his career (20.2%) while keeping his walk rate steady at his career rate (9.7%)
Yeah, he's 26, and he's been in the organization for 8 years, but when you factor all of the developmental time that Pham has missed over the years, his age becomes a bit of a secondary concern.  Most everyone who follows the Cardinal minor leagues has long thought that Pham had this kind of potential, so it's nice to see him reach it finally.

Pitcher of the Year


David Oca, DSL Cardinals (R)

Ian McKinney, Johnson City Cardinals (R)

Rob Kaminsky, Peoria Chiefs (A)

Alex Reyes, Peoria Chiefs (A)

Chris Perry, Peoria Chiefs/Palm Beach Cardinals (A/A+)

Sam Tuivailala, Palm Beach Cardinals/Springfield Cardinals (A+/AA)

Winner: Rob Kaminsky

Sure, Alex Reyes might be the better prospect (and we'll find out in February, won't we?), but Kaminsky had the better season, especially from a developmental point of view. A fastball/curve pitcher entering the Cardinals organization out of high school, Kaminsky showed excellent command of those two pitches in first stint in a full season league, and developed what appears to be 50/55 grade changeup during the year.  Supposedly picking up some pointers on how to throw it from changeup maestro Marco Gonzales, Kaminsky flashed it and impressed multiple evaluators with not only the movement but also his command of the ball.

I wrote about the knocks on Kaminsky during Peoria's season review, so head over there to check them out.  Or, just wait until after the first of the year as he'll no doubt be profiled as part of our Top 20 coverage during January and February.

Most Improved Player


Jacob Wilson, Palm Beach Cardinals/Springfield Cardinals (A+/AA)

Cody Stanley, Springfield Cardinals (AA)

Magneuris Sierra, GCL Cardinals (R)

Jose Godoy, Johnson City Cardinals (R)

Winner: Magneuris Sierra

This was the toughest award to adjudicate, mostly because making big strides at the AA level is a bit more difficult from making those same type of strides in a Rookie league.

Thing is, while both Wilson and Stanley improved on their 2013 performance considerably, Sierra went from a player who was kind of an afterthought to teammate Edmundo Sosa last spring (and one who didn't make a single watch list that I read a year ago) to one who is likely to be included on the cusp of the top ten prospects in the system.  That's what happens when you hit .386/.434/.505 in pretty much any league: You get noticed.

Newcomer of the Year


Nick Thompson, State College Spikes (SS-A)

Darren Seferina, State College Spikes (SS-A)

Aledmys Diaz, Springfield Cardinals (AA)

Blake Drake, Johnson City Cardinals (R)

Daniel Poncedeleon, State College Spikes (SS-A)

Jack Flaherty, GCL Cardinals (R)

Winner: Daniel Poncedeleon

Drafted for the fourth time by the fourth different team, Poncedeleon showed why: 2.44 ERA, 1.87 FIP, 2.79 SIERA and a 52/14 K/BB ratio in his first 44.1 innings in the Cardinals organization.  He struck out just over 28% of the hitters he faced, which is one of the better non-Alex Reyes debut seasons we've seen from a starting pitcher in the Cardinals minor leagues in some time.

I think this kid has major league potential and I've said it a number of different times since he's been drafted.  Dan Kantrovitz and others on the Cardinal scouting and development team love the potential of his stuff.  Could be a very quick mover up the ranks, much like Zach Petrick and Tim Cooney were the past few seasons.