St. Louis Cardinals 2018 minor league awards

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals makes a catch on Jason Heyward #22 of the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning on September 28, 2018 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals makes a catch on Jason Heyward #22 of the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning on September 28, 2018 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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St. Louis Cardinals
ST LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 12: Daniel Ponceddeleon #62 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on September 12, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Daniel Poncedeleon

Level(s): AAA Memphis, MLB St. Louis Cardinals
Stats: Minors: 9-4, 19 G, 18 GS, 96 1/3 IP, 2.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 50/110 BB/K; Majors: 0-2, 1 save, 11 G, 4 GS, 33 IP, 2.73 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 13/31 BB/K

One of the scariest moments of the 2017 minor league season was when Daniel Poncedeleon took a comebacker off his head, leading to immediate issues and ending his season. Back on the mound in 2018 was an accomplishment on its own, but Poncedeleon dominated beyond even his successful pre-injury 2017.

Poncedeleon was excellent with Memphis, striking out over a batter per inning, but his premier moment came in his MLB debut. Poncedeleon tossed 7 no-hit innings, allowing 3 walks and striking out 3 before leaving the game only to see the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen not only lose the no-hitter, but also lose the game!

Over his major league time, Poncedeleon displayed a rare abiity to handle switching between starting and relieving, which could allow him to possess a unique role as a long man and spot starter, giving him tremendous value to the 2019 Cardinals pitching staff.

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Though his major league home is almost certainly in the bullpen (and a 2.63 ERA over 27 1/3 IP showed his strength in that role with the Cardinals), Dakota Hudson had a dominant season starting for Memphis with his heavy sinker/slider combination. He posted a 2.50 ERA over 19 starts and 111 2/3 innings, with a 38/87 BB/K ratio.

While teammate Nunez was dominating at the plate, Julio Puello was incredibly impressive for the DSL Cardinals Blue squad. He went 7-0 in his 15 games, 13 of them starts, tossing 74 2/3 innings, with a 2.05 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and a 23/82 BB/K ratio. The 6’4″ righty should see stateside ball in 2019.

A great example of the St. Louis Cardinals grabbing value late in the draft, Alex Fagalde was drafted in the 30th round in 2017 out of California-Riverside. He’s jumped up the system, blowing through both A-ball levels in 2018. He tossed 116 2/3 innings combined in 2018, posting a 2.16 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and a 26/116 BB/K ratio. He’ll face upper levels in 2019.

Jake Walsh was a surprising sign in the 2017 draft, selected in the 16th round, but expected to go to a 4-year school if he wasn’t a first 3 round selection. Instead, he signed, and he showed in 2018 just how talented he truly is, pitching across both A-ball levels, and posting a 2.51 ERA over 139 2/3 innings with a 36/116 BB/K ratio.

Viewed as a prototype college lefty coming out of Illinois-Chicago in the 21st round of the 2017 draft, Jake Dahlberg is older than the average player that was at State College or on Peoria’s roster, but he still had plenty of success. He combined to toss 97 1/3 innings on the year, with a 2.50 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a 19/77 BB/K ratio. His advanced feel on the mound could allow him to bump up to high-A or perhaps even AA to open 2019.

Next. Pirates minor league awards. dark

The 2018 season was one of peaks and valleys at the major league level for the St. Louis Cardinals, but the minor leagues showed plenty of very good performances that give hope for the future.