Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (July 5-11)
Alex Bregman, the Astros 2015 top amateur draft pick, is off to a slow start in his professional career. Although twice he had three hits in a game, his average in 15 games with the River Bandits is .242, with an OBP of .329. Quad Cities lost some punch when catcher Jacob Nottingham was promoted to Lancaster; Bregman and his teammates need to step up and fill the void. Although they are already guaranteed a spot in the post-season playoffs, it’s a point of pride to continue playing great baseball.
The River Bandits had a difficult run from July 5-10, going 3-3 with 20 runs. They were 1-3 early, scoring only five runs in four games before the bats came alive in the final two contests of the week on Friday and Saturday. The 6-2 and 9-1 wins over the Burlington Bees combined great pitching and live bats, allowing the Bandits to even their record for the week. They were the best in the Midwest League in the first half but have slipped to third place in the Western Division (10-6), four games behind the Kane County Cougars after 16 games.
Nick Tanielu leads the Bandits in batting average. Photo courtesy of @QCBanditPhotog.
While Bregman is trying to figure out Midwest League pitching, Nick Tanielu (1B/3B) continues to lead the Bandits. The 2014, 14th round pick out of Washington State University is hitting .305 on the season, .357 in the last ten games. Tanielu is followed by outfielders Jason Martin (.290), and Ramon Laureano (.284) at the top of the Bandits leader board, and has been consistent at the plate, getting at least one hit in eight of his last ten games.
Trent Woodward, DH/C/1B has only been with Quad Cities since June 28 and is a solid contributor, at the plate and with his versatility in the field. After a brief stint with Tri-City in the NY/Penn League, the 2014, 20th round draft pick is hitting .360 with an on-base percentage of .448 in eight games with the River Bandits. Woodward has big shoes to fill, as he replaced the popular and hot hitting Nottingham. Woodward should give Tanielu a run for his money in the team batting lead.
Tanielu, Woodward, and Ritchie are surely aware that a first base roster spot has opened up at Lancaster, with A.J. Reed‘s promotion on July 11 to Double-A Corpus Christi. One of those players could soon be called to replace Reed in the JetHawks lineup. It is the nature of minor league baseball that the great players don’t stay in one place for long, and Quad Cities will likely lose one of their hitters in the next week or so.
Team leaders among current roster players include Jamie Ritchie in runs (46), walks (69), OBP (.435), and OPS (.810). Tanielu leads in hits (83), doubles (15), and total bases (108); Laureano in triples (4), and slugging percentage (.474), Martin in home runs (5), Ryan Bottger in RBI (36), and Bobby Boyd in stolen bases (19).
Ritchie is the only Quad Cities player leading an offensive league category. He is first in walks (69) and OBP (.435).
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As a team, the Bandits are second in the league in runs (408) and RBI (365), first in walks (361), first in OBP (.350), and second in OPS (.733).
RHP Brock Dykxhoorn leads current players in wins (5), Joshua James, innings (69.1) and ERA (2.47 among pitchers that meet criteria for league leaders of .8 IP/team game), Eric Peterson and Jose Montero in saves (4).
The Quad Cities pitching staff leads the league in wins (55), ERA (2.70), saves (28), and WHIP (1.15). Bandits pitchers have allowed the fewest hits (635), fewest runs (278) and earned runs (226), and are second best in fewest home runs allowed (31).
Starting Saturday, July 11, the River Bandits play three more games against Burlington at Modern Woodmen Park, three road games against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, and start a home series with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
The photos of Alex Bregman and Nick Tanielu are courtesy of @QCBanditPhotog.
- LHP Jordan Mills was promoted on July 5 to High-A Lancaster. Mills was 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 13 games and 16 innings with the River Bandits.
- RHP Frances Martes had a 16.1 inning scoreless streak over four outings from June 20 until it was snapped on July 9, when he gave up two doubles and a run against the Clinton LumberKings. He threw 4.2 perfect innings, and a total of 6.1 innings that night, allowing four hits, two runs, and striking out five.
- RHP Angel Heredia was Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for June 29-July 5. Heredia has not allowed a hit in nine innings pitched.
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