The St. Louis Cardinals announced today their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August, with Memphis (AAA) taking home both awards honoring left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore and first baseman Juan Yepez.
Liberatore, 21, a former first round draft selection by the Tampa Bay Rays, was acquired by the Cardinals via trade in 2020, won the award for the second time this season also taking home the honors in June. The No. 2 prospect in the Cardinals organization entering the 2021 season, according to Baseball America, was 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts during the month for Memphis. He pitched 25.1 innings and struck out 24 while holding opponents to a .240 batting average. He threw three consecutive 7.0 inning starts to finish the month with a 68.2 percent strike rate over the trifecta of starts. Liberatore matched his season-high in strikeouts with nine for the third time this season in a seven-inning start vs. Nashville on August 17.
“Matthew’s Pitcher of the Month of August follows his June selection as well, starting four games, highlighted by a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio over 25.1 innings,” complimented Gary LaRocque, St. Louis Cardinals Director of Player Development.
Yepez, 23, a Venezuelan-born trade acquisition by the Cardinals from the Atlanta Braves in 2017, batted .355 (27-95) with 10 doubles, seven home runs, 22 RBI and posted a positive walk to strikeout rate at 14:13 for the month of July. The right-handed slugger posted a .453 on-base percentage with a .763 slugging percentage. His 20 home runs in Memphis this season leads the squad and rank T-8th in Triple-A East, despite joining the club on June 2nd. Since July 6, Yepez’s leads all minor league players with a .722 slugging percentage, while his 18 home runs ranks T-5th and his 45 RBI are T-7th over that span. On August 22 vs. Nashville, Yepez came within one double of the Memphis club record (Keith McDonald, 5, 2001) hitting four doubles. He followed the effort a week later with two home runs and team-high seven RBI including his third career grand slam, coming vs. Columbus on August 28.
“Juan leads the Triple-A East in slugging and OPS, and the month of August was impressive offensively with a 1.216 OPS and .763 slugging percentage,” said LaRocque.