Springfield, MO -- The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Tuesday that a trio of Springfield Cardinals have swept St. Louis's 2022 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards. Springfield Cardinals OF Moises Gomez and 3B/OF Jordan Walker have been named the organization's Minor League Co-Players of the Year,
Springfield, MO -- The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Tuesday that a trio of Springfield Cardinals have swept St. Louis's 2022 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards. Springfield Cardinals OF Moises Gomez and 3B/OF Jordan Walker have been named the organization's Minor League Co-Players of the Year, with RHP Gordon Graceffo named the Minor League Pitcher of the Year. It marks the 8th time that Springfield Cardinals have swept the Cardinals Minor League Yearly Awards, and first since OF Dylan Carlson and RHP Angel Rondon claimed the honors in 2019.
Gomez, 24, had one of the most powerful seasons in Springfield Cardinals history with an incredible and league-leading 23 home runs in just 60 games throughout the first half of the season in Springfield, while hitting .321 with 54 RBIs and 17 doubles. His 23 round-trippers are tied for 5th most in a single season in team history, and are the most ever hit in one half by a Springfield Cardinal. At the time of his promotion to AAA-Memphis on 6/28/22, Gomez led the league in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage (.705), OPS (1.106), extra-base hits (40) and total bases (158), while ranking among league leaders in batting average (4th, .321), OBP (7th, .401), doubles (t-6th, 17) and runs (5th, 53).
In addition to earning St. Louis's Minor League Co-Player of the Year, the Caracas, Venezuela native was named the 2022 Texas League Most Valuable Player, becoming just the fourth player in team history to capture the league's MVP/Player of the Year award. He joins OF Dylan Carlson (2019), OF Oscar Taveras (2012) and 1B Matt Adams (2011) as Springfield Cardinals to win the prestigious award. Gomez finished the season as the 2022 MiLB Home Run King, slugging 16 more home runs with AAA-Memphis through the second half of the season to lead all of Minor League Baseball with 39 total homers in 2022. The first-ever Springfield Cardinal and just the second-ever St. Louis Cardinals farmhand to be crowned the MiLB Home Run King, Gomez's 39 round-trippers also broke the St. Louis Cardinals all-time single-season home run record for a Minor Leaguer. Currently ranked as the Cardinals #30 prospect by MLB.com, Gomez was added by the St. Louis Cardinals to their 40-Man Roster in November.
Walker, 20, had one of the most complete and consistent offensive seasons of any player in the Cardinals farm system this year, despite opening the campaign as the youngest player in all of Double-A at just 19 years old. The Cardinals Top Prospect and #6 prospect in all of Minor League Baseball, Walker hit .306 with 19 home runs, 31 doubles and 68 RBIs in 119 games with Springfield. He set Springfield's all-time single-season record with a Texas League-leading 100 runs scored this year, while ranking among league leaders in batting average (6th), hits (2nd, 141), total bases (2nd, 235), OPS (5th, .898), slugging percentage (3rd, .510), extra-base hits (4th, 53) and OBP (7th, .388). In addition to all the damage with the bat, he added 22 stolen bases, finishing the campaign just one long-ball shy of authoring Springfield's first-ever 20 HR/20 SB season in team history.
In addition to St. Louis's Minor League Co-Player of the Year honors, the 20-year-old was also named the 2022 Texas League's Top MLB Prospect by Minor League Baseball. He was selected to the 2022 MLB All-Star Future's Game at Dodger Stadium during MLB All-Star Weekend and represented the Cardinals in the prestigious 2022 Arizona Fall League. He hit .290 with five homers (t-2nd in the league) and 13 RBIs in 19 games during the Fall League, earning a selection to the 2022 Fall Stars Game.
Graceffo, 22, had a break-out season for both High-A Peoria and Springfield, just one year after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB Draft by St. Louis. Before his promotion to Double-A, the Cardinals #3 prospect led the Midwest League with a miniscule 0.99 ERA through 45.2 innings, with 56 strikeouts, 0.68 WHIP, and .170 opposing batting average. He continued to excel with Springfield through the rest of the season, going 7-4 with a 3.94 ERA in 18 Double-A starts, finishing the campaign ranked among Cardinals organizational leaders in ERA (2nd, 2.97), WHIP (1st, 0.94), strikeouts (4th, 139), starts (t-2nd, 26) and innings pitched (4th, 139.1).
In a season full of accolades, Graceffo was named St. Louis's Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April and May, becoming the first Cardinals pitcher to win back-to-back Pitcher of the Month honors since LHP Austin Gomber (August 2017 & April 2018) and the first to do so in the same calendar year since LHP Bud Smith (July 2000 & August 2000). He was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week twice last season, with the first on June 20 after two dominant 7.0-inning starts against Corpus Christi on June 14 and 19, during which he allowed just two total runs on six hits while striking out 12. The right-hander then earned the season’s final Texas League Pitcher of the Week award for September 12-18 after he retired the first 17 batters in a row to begin his final start on September 15, allowing just one hit with 9 strikeouts through 6.0 shutout innings. Graceffo’s final masterpiece capped a stretch of three straight scoreless outings in September, during which he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, striking out 22 batters with just five hits and two walks through 16.2 shutout innings to close his season.