THOMAS SAGGESE & MAX RAJCIC NAMED CARDINALS TOP MINOR LEAGUERS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST
Saggese Led Cardinals Minor Leaguers in Hits, RBI, Slugging, OPS & Total Bases; Rajcic Awarded Second Cardinals Pitcher of the Month Honor
ST. LOUIS, Mo., September 5, 2023 – The St. Louis Cardinals today announced their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August, with Double-A Springfield Cardinals infielder Thomas Saggese (pronounced soo-JAY-see) and High-A Peoria right-handed starter Max Rajcic (pronounced like “magic”) taking home the honors.
Acquired at the MLB Trade deadline in a package from the Rangers in exchange for Jordan Montgomery, the 21-year-old Saggese slashed .352/.426/.714 in August and led all qualified Cardinals minor leaguers in hits (37), RBI (26), slugging, OPS (1.141), runs scored (23), triples (3), extra-base hits (17), and total bases (75), while sharing the system lead in home runs (9). Additionally, the right-handed-hitting infielder ranked among minor league leaders in total bases (2nd), extra-base hits (T-3rd), slugging (5th), hits (T-7th), home runs (T-6th), and OPS (T-9th).
“Since joining the Cardinals, Thomas has put together an outstanding August, with his slugging and OPS among the top hitters in our system,” said Cardinals Assistant GM & Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.
Overall this season, Saggese is hitting .320/.387/.553 with 24 home runs between Springfield and Frisco in the Double-A Texas League, and leads all of Minor League Baseball in hits (154) and total bases (266) while ranking 4th in RBI (104). Saggese also leads the Texas League in batting average and RBI, but trails only teammate Chandler Redmond (29) in home runs in his pursuit of the league’s triple crown.
The Carlsbad, California native has appeared primarily at second base for Springfield, while hitting safely in 23 of 27 August games, highlighted by hitting for the cycle on August 19 vs. Wichita (AA-Twins).
Saggese, ranked as the organization’s 12th-overall prospect by Baseball America, joins Nick Dunn (June) as the second Springfield Cardinals infielder this season to be recognized.
Rajcic, 22, went 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and a .248 average against across five starts in August, ranking among Cardinals August qualified leaders in ERA (1st), WHIP (1st), innings pitched (29.0, 4th), opponent average (3rd), and strikeouts (24, T-7th). He began the month with 13.0 scoreless innings across two starts, and never yielded more than two runs in any start in August.
“Max was impressive in five games in August, helping to lead Peoria to an 18-9 record for the month,” stated LaRocque.
The 6’0” Orange County, California native also was awarded the Cardinals Pitcher of the Month of June, becoming the organization’s first two-time winner since Gordon Graceffo and Inohan Paniagua last season and only the second ever to take home Pitcher of the Month honors twice in his first professional season, joining left-hander Rick Ankiel in May and June 1998.
Selected in the 6th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, the former UCLA Bruin owns an 9-6 record with a 2.48 ERA, 1.014 WHIP, and 123 strikeouts across 123.1 innings pitched in 23 starts. Ranked as the club’s 18th overall prospect by Baseball America, the right-hander leads all qualified Cardinals minor leaguers this season in ERA, average against (.217), and opponent OPS (.575) and ranks 2nd in strikeouts and WHIP.
— STL —