The Pacific Coast League announced Thursday that Memphis Redbirds right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon has been named the league's Player of the Month for August, following a vote of the League's field managers. Ponce de Leon, along with winners from other leagues, will be presented with an award from Minor League Baseball and Uncle Ray's Potato Chips in recognition of his performance for the month. Uncle Ray's Potato Chips are the official potato chip of Minor League Baseball.
Ponce de Leon led the league in ERA (0.93), strikeouts (39), WHIP (0.90), average against (.131) and finished tied for second in wins (4). Among pitchers with five or more starts, he is the only player with fewer than 20 hits allowed (13) and had the fewest runs allowed (3).
The La Mirada, Calif., native began the month tossing four scoreless innings against the El Paso Chihuahuas, striking out eight while walking three batters in the Redbirds 2-0 victory. Arguably Ponce de Leon's best outing came in his very next start against the Sacramento River Cats on August 9 where the right-hander racked up a season-high 11 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings. Ponce de Leon surrendered just two hits and did not issue a walk, and was named the PCL's Pitcher of the Week for the week of August 11. He continued to roll off three more wins and pitch another scoreless outing on August 15 against Iowa, before surrendering one run against the Round Rock Express on August 20 and two runs in five innings on August 25 against the Omaha Storm Chasers.
Ponce de Leon was recalled by the St. Louis Cardinals when rosters expanded on September 1, and pitched against the Cincinnati Reds that night. He has now spent parts of the past two seasons at the Major League level with the Cardinals, having pitched in 22 games with 12 starts. This season for the Redbirds, Ponce de Leon was 8-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 16 starts. In 84.1 innings, he struck out 86 batters while walking 44 batters and notched a 1.25 WHIP. For Ponce de Leon, this is the first Player of the Month honor in his six-year career.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.