Tyler O’Neill, Dakota Hudson Named Cardinals Minor League Player & Pitcher of Year

BOTH PLAYERS MADE MLB DEBUT THIS PAST SEASON

              ST. LOUIS, Mo., December 17, 2018– The St. Louis Cardinals announced today their 2018 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year selections, honoring outfielder Tyler O’Neill and right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson for their accomplishments on the field.

“We are pleased to recognize Tyler O’Neill and Dakota Hudson for their selection as the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year for 2018,” said Mike Girsch, Cardinals Vice President & General Manager. “Both players were important pieces of the Cardinals’ resurgent stretch run after the All-Star Break last season, and we look forward to their contributions in 2019.”

“O’Neill and Hudson both made their Major League debuts in 2018, following outstanding seasons for Memphis,” said Gary LaRocque, Cardinals Director of Player Development.  “We are thrilled to honor these exceptional players as our 2018 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year.”

O’Neill, 23, slashed .311/.385/.693 with 26 home runs and 63 RBI in 64 games for Memphis (AAA), ranking second in the Cardinals organization in home runs and eighth in RBI. The right-handed hitter, who posted six multi-home run efforts, including a season-high three blasts vs. Colorado Springs on July 22, was recalled by St. Louis on five different occasions during the course of the season. At the time of his final recall on July 31, O’Neill’s home run total led the Pacific Coast League and were the second-most hit across all of Minor League Baseball. The Canada native made 57 starts across all three outfield positions and threw out six runners, second-most on the Redbirds.

At the conclusion of the season, O’Neill was named to the PCL Post-Season All-Star team and recognized by Baseball America as a Triple-A All-Star, Second Team Minor League All-Star, and the PCL’s No. 5 overall prospect and “Best Power Hitter” in their Best Tools Survey.

O’Neill, who made his Major League debut at Wrigley Field on April 19, appeared in 61 games (27 starts) across all three St. Louis outfield positions, 42 of which came after the All-Star Break when he led the Cardinals with a .523 slugging percentage. Overall, the Canadian outfielder led National League rookies with a 14.4 home run/at-bat ratio (min. 100 at-bats) and finished 10th with nine home runs, which is the 9th-highest total in Cardinals history for a player in his first 61 career games played. His final home run of the season (and 35th between Memphis and St. Louis) marked his first career walk-off and extra-inning blast, a uniform-shredding 10th inning dinger off San Francisco’s Mark Melancon on September 22.

Hudson, 24, was 13-3 in the 2.50 ERA (111.2 IP) in 19 starts for Memphis (AAA) before having his contract purchased on July 27 and making his Major League debut the following day vs. Chicago (NL).  His 13 wins led all of Minor League Baseball at the time of his promotion and finished tied for second in the Memphis record books for a single season.

Hudson’s accolades included being named the PCL Pitcher of the Year, a PCL Mid-Season All-Star, and the league’s Post-Season All-Star at right-handed starting pitcher. Baseball America selected him as one of six pitchers (five starters) on the Triple-A All Star team and recognized him as the PCL’s No. 13 overall prospect and “Best Pitching Prospect” in their Best Tools Survey.  He also appeared in the Major League Baseball’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Washington D.C. for the USA Team.

Hudson pitched out of the St. Louis bullpen, making 26 relief appearances and posting a 4-1 record with a 2.63 ERA.  The Cardinals won the first 12 games Hudson appeared in, and his four wins in those 12 games were one shy of the club record.  Seven of his 11 Holds came in the month of August, matching the Major League lead that month.

Total between St. Louis and Memphis, Hudson pitched 139.0 innings, totaled 17 wins and struck out 106 batters.  He allowed just one home run and his 1.88 ground out/fly out ratio ranked 2nd among Triple-A pitchers.

O’Neill was acquired by the Cardinals from Seattle in exchange for left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales (July 21, 2017), while Hudson was the Cardinals Supplemental first round draft pick (34th overall) in the June, 2016 First Year Player draft out of Mississippi State University. Both players will be presented with their awards at the 61st annual St. Louis Baseball Writers Association of America Awards Dinner on Sunday, January 20, 2019.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS MINOR LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR                                                               PITCHER OF THE YEAR

YEAR    NAME                                 TEAM(S)                                     NAME                                      TEAM(S) 

1995      Mike Gulan, 3B                 Louisville/Arkansas                 Mike Busby, RHP                                                              Louisville/Arkansas

1996      Dmitri Young, INF           Louisville                                    Britt Reames, RHP               Peoria

1997      Brent Butler, INF             Peoria                                           Cliff Politte, RHP                   Prince Wm./Arkansas

1998      Pablo Ozuna, INF             Peoria                                           Rick Ankiel, LHP                                                              Peoria/Prince Wm.

1999      Adam Kennedy, INF        Memphis                                      Rick Ankiel, LHP                                                              Arkansas/Memphis

2000      Albert Pujols, 3B              Peoria/Potomac                         Bud Smith, LHP                                                              Arkansas/Memphis

2001      Covelli Crisp, OF              Potomac                                       Jimmy Journell, RHP                                                              Potomac/New Haven

2002      John Gall, 1B                     New Haven                                  Tyler Johnson, LHP              Peoria

2003      John Gall, 1B                     Tennessee/Memphis                Dan Haren, RHP                                                              Tennessee/Memphis

2004      Reid Gorecki, OF              Palm Beach/Tenn.                     Anthony Reyes, RHP            Palm Beach/Tenn.

2005      Travis Hanson, 3B           Springfield                                   Mark Worrell, RHP              Palm Beach

2006      Colby Rasmus, OF           Quad Cities/PB                           Blake Hawksworth, RHP                                                              Palm Beach/Springfield

2007      Colby Rasmus, OF           Springfield                                   P.J. Walters, RHP                                                              QC/Palm Beach/ Springfield

2008      Daryl Jones, OF                Palm Beach/Springfield           Jess Todd, RHP                                                              PB/Spfd./Mem.

2009      Allen Craig, OF                 Memphis                                      Lance Lynn, RHP                                                              PB/Spfd./Mem.

2010      Matt Carpenter, 3B         Palm Beach/Springfield           Shelby Miller, RHP               Quad Cities

2011      Matt Adams, 1B               Springfield                                   Shelby Miller, RHP               Palm Beach/Springfield

2012      Oscar Tavares, OF           Springfield                                   Seth Maness, RHP                 Palm Beach/Springfield

2013      Kolten Wong, 2B              Memphis                                      Zach Petrick, RHP                                                              Peoria/PB/ Springfield

2014      Magneuris Sierra, OF     GCL Cardinals                             Marco Gonzales, LHP          PB/ Springfield/Memphis

2015      Stephen Piscotty, OF      Memphis                                      Austin Gomber, LHP*          Peoria

Alex Reyes, RHP*                  Palm Beach/GCL/ Springfield

2016      Carson Kelly, C                 Springfield/Memphis                Luke Weaver, RHP                                                              Springfield/Memphis

2017      Harrison Bader, OF         Memphis                                      Jack Flaherty, RHP                                                              Springfield/Memphis

2018      Tyler O’Neill, OF              Memphis                                      Dakota Hudson, RHP                                                              Memphis

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