Cardinals name Walker, Gomez Minor League Co-Players of the Year
RHP Gordon Graceffo earned the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Cardinals top prospect Jordan Walker hasn’t yet put the birds on the bat on his back at the Major League level for St. Louis, but he’s already been busy earning hardware for his efforts in the organization.
The Cardinals announced Tuesday that Walker has been named Minor League Co-Player of the Year for 2022, sharing the honor with outfielder Moises Gomez. It’s Walker’s second consecutive season with a share of the award, as he received the honor in tandem with Cardinals outfielder Juan Yepez in 2021.
A rapid riser up league-wide prospect rankings throughout his professional career, Walker spent the 2022 campaign at Double-A Springfield where he tested his skills against Texas League competition that was, on average, more than four years his senior. Walker opened the season in Springfield as a 19-year-old before turning 20 in late May.
A step-up in the caliber of his competition did nothing to diminish Walker’s impact at the plate, as he compiled a .306/.388/.510 batting line with 21 doubles, 19 home runs and 22 stolen bases across 536 plate appearances. Following the Cardinals’ trade of Harrison Bader to New York, the long-time third baseman shifted defensively to the outfield in preparation for a big-league career that could begin at some point during the upcoming 2023 season.
Gomez also made an impression on the Cardinals over the past season after signing as a minor-league free agent following his release from the Tampa Bay organization. Gomez turned heads with his power-hitting stroke in Springfield, posting 23 home runs and a 1.106 OPS before forcing a mid-summer promotion to Triple-A.
He maintained strong numbers in Memphis, too, posting an .882 OPS while adding 16 more home runs. With a combined 39 home runs between Springfield and Memphis, Gomez set the Cardinals’ franchise record for minor-league home runs in a season. His strong campaign earn him a spot on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster, which could mean an outside shot for the 24-year-old Venezuelan outfielder to earn a spot on the big-league club.
The Cardinals also announced Gordon Graceffo as the club’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The 22-year-old righty put together a 2.97 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP while averaging nearly a strikeout per inning. He logged 139.1 IP between Springfield and High-A Peoria. Graceffo earned his promotion from Peoria to Springfield by starting off the season with a sub-1.00 ERA and a 56:4 K:BB ratio in 45.2 innings at High-A.
A fifth-round draft pick out of Villanova in the 2021 MLB Draft, Graceffo earned Texas League Pitcher of the Month honors in September as he began to gain considerable traction in prospect rankings due to his tremendous season.
Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.