Brian Kalmer – Picture by Stephanie Lynn

The August All-Star team is sort of bittersweet. This month we’ve seen a lot of hitters just have destructive months at the plate. There were several that got over 20 RBI and a couple that approached double digit home runs for the month. But this is also the last All-Star team of the 2023 season. South Bend and Myrtle Beach finish their regular season in nine days. Tennessee is done on the 17th while Iowa plays until the 27th.

Today, though, is really all about celebrating the performances of the past 31 days. Let’s get to it!

Hitter of the Month – Brian Kalmer

This was a close race between Alexander Canario and Kalmer. It was almost as if Canario was playing catch-up, and then took a little lead with about a week ago, and then Kalmer just kept chugging along, consistent as ever, while Canario hit a bump for a few games. Kalmer wound up hitting .349/.414/.651/1.065 with 7 home runs and 29 RBI. That was good enough to nudge out Canario’s slash line of .305/.356/.632/.988 with 7 HRs, 25 RBI in a tight race.

Iowa – Alexander Canario, Bryce Windham, Luis Vazquez, Chase Strumpf, Matt Mervis, PCA
Tennessee – BJ Murray, Owen Caissie, Andy Weber, Jordan Nwogu
South Bend – Matt Shaw, Luis Verdugo, Christian Franklin, Yohendrick Pinango, Moises Ballesteros, Felix Stevens
Myrtle Beach – Brett Bateman, Brian Kalmer, Jonathan Long, Reivaj Garcia, Ismael Mena, Pedro Ramirez

There’s a lot of familiar names in the list above. I was most excited to see Luis Verdugo bounce back after a rough first half at Tennessee. He seems to do really well against High-A pitching and just needs to make the adjustment when he moves back up to Tennessee next year. He is still just 22.

You should also note that Christian Franklin has made more All-Star teams this year than he didn’t. This is the second straight month and third out of five on the season. It is also good to see Jordan Nwogu make his first of the year

I also love the fact that four draft picks made this months list with one in South Bend/Tennessee and three at Myrtle Beach.

Starting Pitcher of the Month – Cade Horton

For the first time all year, this award was not really a contest. Horton ran away with it, and has pretty much cemented him self as the guy who’s going to win the pitcher of the year award in the system. What I like most about Horton is that he seems to improve every month since coming up from Myrtle Beach to South Bend and now Tennessee. He is pitching his best at the end the year as he has set a career high in innings. Some of you may find that odd as he’s only thrown just over 80 innings as of Wednesday. For August, he had a 1.57 ERA with 28 Ks in 23 innings. Hitters hit just .183 against for the month.

Iowa – Shane Greene, Caleb Kilian, Jordan Wicks
Tennessee – Cade Horton, Walker Powell
South Bend – Tyler Santana, Brody McCullough
Myrtle Beach – Koen Moreno, Jackson Ferris, Luis Rujano, Marino Santy

August is always a tough month for starting pitchers because they start to get worn down as they get in that 80 to 100 innings range. But these guys are still going strong. I am most jacked about the young guys at Myrtle Beach.  These kids are all 21 and under and I can’t wait to take pictures of them next year when they are pitching for South Bend on the road.

Reliever of the Month – Blake Whitney

Whitney was just plain nails all month. He did not allow and run in 9 appearances and should be at Iowa instead of AA. I also like the fact that he’s missing a lot of bats these days and he struck out 16 in 14 innings.

Iowa – Luke Little, Brendon Little
Tennessee – Blake Whitney, Zac Leigh, Eduarniel Nunez
South Bend – Frankie Scalzo, Yovanny Cruz
Myrtle Beach – Jose Romero 

Just like starting pitchers, relievers took one on the chin this month throughout the system is, they’ve also been worn down a little bit in the wear and tear of the season. I think this is a smallest amount of relievers we’ve seen all year on an All-Star team.