OUTFIELDER MAGNEURIS SIERRA & LEFTY MARCO GONZALES EARN ACCOLADES
ST. LOUIS, Mo., December 18, 2014 – The St. Louis Cardinals today announced the recipients of the team’s 2014 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards with outfielder Magneuris Sierra and left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales taking the honors. The Cardinals first began awarding their Minor League Player & Pitcher of the Year in 1995.
Sierra, 18, a native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic and a product of the Cardinals Dominican Academy, batted a league-leading .386 (78-for-202) this past season while also topping the Gulf Coast League in hits. The left-handed hitting Sierra ranked 3rd in the GCL in on-base pct. (.434) and 9th in stolen bases (13) while helping the Cardinals to a first place finish in the GCL East Division at 37-23.
Sierra earned the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month selection in July when he batted .439 (36-for-82) with a .489 on-base pct. and nine stolen bases, as the Cardinals went 24-13 to pace the GCL. The 5-11, 160-pound Sierra is the first short-season player to win the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year award and the second to have come up through the Cardinals Dominican Academy, joining Oscar Taveras (2012).
Gonzales, 22, excelled at four levels (A, AA, AAA, MLB) during the 2014 season, and was a key member of the Major League pitching staff during the postseason when he posted a pair of wins during the Cardinals best-of-five Division Series win over the Dodgers.
Overall, Gonzalez was a combined 13-7 with a 2.81 ERA in 2014. He was 9-5 with a 2.43 mark in 21 minor league starts, striking out 117 batters in 122.0 innings pitched. The 6-1, 195-pound Gonzales, who was the Cardinals 1st round draft selection (19th player overall) in 2013 out of Gonzaga University, made his Major League debut in a start on June 10 at Colorado and finished the year with a 4-2 mark and a 4.15 ERA in 10 games (5 starts) with the big league club. He earned Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors in August, going 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts for Memphis (AAA).
Gonzales joins Rick Ankiel (1998 & 1999), Bud Smith (2000) and Tyler Johnson (2002) as former left-handers to have won the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year award.
Sierra and Gonzales will be presented their awards at the 57th annual St. Louis BBWAA awards dinner on Sunday, January 18.