Sierra, Gonzales named Cardinals’ top minor leaguers of 2014

Marco Gonzales spent about six weeks in the major leagues and emerged as a key factor out of the bullpen in the postseason.

Jeff Curry/Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — Magneuris Sierra and Marco Gonzales represent different ends of the scouting and development spectrum for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Sierra is an 18-year-old outfielder who came up through the Cardinals Dominican Academy. Gonzales is a 22-year-old polished left-hander who reached the majors just more than a year after being a first-round pick out of Gonzaga in 2013.

But the pair have something in common today. They were named the Cardinals’ Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year and will be honored at the 57th St. Louis Baseball Writers’ dinner next month.

Sierra led the short-season Gulf Coast League with a .386 batting average (78 for 202) and finished third with a .434 on-base percentage. Listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, Sierra is a speedster more than a slugger, finishing with 13 stolen bases and two homers. He is the first player to come out of the team’s Dominican academy to win the club’s minor league honor since the late Oscar Taveras in 2012.

Gonzales spent about six weeks in the major leagues and emerged as a key factor out of the bullpen in the postseason. While in the minors, he made stops at Class A Palm Beach, AA Springfield and AAA Memphis, finishing 9-5 with a 2.43 ERA in 21 starts. He struck out 117 batters and walked 27 in 122 innings. Gonzales is expected to compete with Carlos Martinez for a starting job in spring training and, depending on how that goes, could end up in the Cardinals’ bullpen for 2015.

You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @StanMcNeal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.