Astros’ Prospect Thomas Eshelman Makes First Class-A Start

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Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (August 15-21)

Thomas Eshelman, the Astros’ second round draft pick in 2015, was promoted on August 20 from the GCL Astros (Rookie League) to Quad Cities. In his first Midwest League start on August 21, Eshelman went 3.1 innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, with two walks and three strikeouts. His outing broke a 56-year-old League record, as he was the 32nd pitcher to make an appearance in a game for Quad Cities.

Astros scouting director Mike Elias said of Eshelman in July, according to a Ryan Dunsmore, Crawfish Boxes story, “He has a good pitcher’s frame, a sound delivery and three Major League quality pitches. His control has been impeccable during his college career and he really knows how to pitch with his fastball.”

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Elias was also quoted in the same story: “These accomplishments and abilities point to a starting pitcher who should be able to advance steadily in our program…”

Jim Callis, senior writer for MLB.com, wrote that Eshelman is the “best strike-thrower in NCAA history.”

The River Bandits went 4-2 this week, and now stand third in the Midwest League’s Western Division, four games behind first place Kane County, and one game out of second place. Quad Cities still owns the best record in the league, 78-43, 33-20 in the second half.

The team has slipped a bit since the promotions of several players earlier in the season, though as a team, the Bandits are first in OBP (.346), second in slugging percentage (.377), and second in OPS (.723). They dropped to third in runs scored, fourth in average (.265), and fifth in hits.

The pitching staff leads in wins (78), ERA (2.55), WHIP (1.15), fewest hits allowed (896), fewest runs and earned runs (385, 307), and fewest home runs (42). They are tied for first in shutouts (14), and are second in saves (39).

Infielder Nick Tanielu is hitting .316 in his last ten games (.311 overall). OF Bobby Boyd has raised his season average to .282 with a .316 average in his last ten.

Other notes:

  • The River Bandits lost their sixth straight game on August 15, getting shut out in three of the last four. They scored only five runs during the streak.
  • According to QC Online, Quad Cities was named “No. 1 minor-league sports market by the SportsBusiness Journal.” The story indicates that QC was first of 228 other minor league markets.
  • RHP Brandon McNitt retired on August 18. The 23-year-old was 3-4, 4.15 ERA, with 32 walks and 70 strikeouts in 26 games and 86.2 innings over two seasons with Tri-City (NY-Penn Lg.), and Quad Cities. McNitt was a 2014, Round 27 amateur pick by the Astros out of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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