The St. Louis Cardinals announced their Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for April by honoring a pair of Springfield (AA) players for their accomplishments on the field, outfielder Harrison Bader and pitcher Andrew Morales.
Bader, 21, the Cardinals 3rd round (100th overall) selection out of the University of Florida in last year's draft (2015), batted .338 (5th) with a .398 (8th) on base pct., to pace his Springfield team and rank among Texas League leaders in both. Bader collected 27 hits, 3rd in the Texas League, hit five home runs and totaled 13 RBI in 20 games, all at centerfield. The right-handed hitting slugger led all Cardinals minor leaguers in hits and batting average, and ranked 3rd in on base+slugging (OPS) at .960. He began the season hitting in five straight games (11-for-25, .440), all multi-hit games, and closed out the month of April hitting in five straight games (11-for-22, .500), which included a season high four hits on April 27 vs. NW Arkansas.
"Harrison led the Springfield Cardinals offense with solid production from the leadoff spot, a .960 OPS and steady defensive play in centerfield," said Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.
Morales, 23, is a 2nd round (71st overall) pick by the Cardinals from the June, 2014 player draft. The right-handed starter was 3-1 with a Texas League 6th-ranked 2.16 ERA in four starts for Springfield, striking out 22 batters over 25 innings pitched. His last two starts in the month were shutout performances, giving him a current 13.0-inning scoreless streak; he allowed four hits in each start but no runs in 7.0 innings, April 22 at Arkansas, and no runs in 6.0 frames, April 27 vs. NW Arkansas. Batters hit just .172 against Morales, 2nd-lowest in the Texas League, and he walked just five in his four starts, giving him a 0.84 WHIP (walks+hits/IP), ranking 3rd. Morales' 25.0 IP was 2nd on the team and T8th among Texas League hurlers, and his 22 K's tied for the team lead, T10th in the league.
"In four games started and 25.0 innings pitched for the Springfield Cardinals, Andrew showed excellent command, with strong performances the entire month," said LaRocque.