Astros Minor Leaguer Osvaldo Duarte Leads River Bandits
By Larry Manch
Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (April 10-16)
Astros minor leaguer Osvaldo Duarte continued his hot hitting this week, leading the otherwise weak hitting River Bandits. The shortstop is batting .370, with ten hits, three triples, and an on-base percentage of .393. The River Bandits had a difficult week, going 2-5, and 2-8 to open the season.
One of last year’s best minor league teams, so far the Bandits are in last place in the Midwest League Western Division. They are hitting only .181 as a team, good for last place, while Bandits hitters lead the league in strikeouts, whiffing 102 times in the first ten games.
Bandits pitchers also had a difficult time, with some exceptions. Overall, the River Bandits are next to last in team ERA (4.60), and are second in runs and earned runs allowed (52, 45). Errors have played a big role early on this year, with Quad Cities fielders committing 17 miscues, led by infielder Antonio Nunez with six.
Duarte has so far been the bright spot for the team that has several top Astros prospects. The 20-year-old Dominican Republic native is beginning his third professional season after playing in the Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast Leagues in 2014, and for Greeneville in the Appalachian (Rookie) League in 2015.
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Astros Top 30 prospects Kyle Tucker (#4), and Daz Cameron (#5) had very different first week experiences. Tucker is hitting .290/.395/.419, with nine hits, one double, a home run, and 13 RBI. He had six walks and struck out seven times in 31 at bats. Cameron is at .129/.263/.226 with only four hits, including a double and a triple. The free-swinging Cameron has six walks and has struck out 14 times.
Although in last place, four River Bandits pitchers have yet to give up a run. Ryan Deemes, in four games, leads the team in innings (10), has allowed just six hits, only two walks, and 11 strikeouts. Andrew Thome (7.1 innings) has given up six hits, Kevin McCanna, five innings and three hits while Jacob Dorris has thrown 2.1 hitless innings. Number 11 prospect Albert Abreau has pitched 6.2 innings and allowed five earned runs while fanning a team leading 13. Rogelio Armenteros has a 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings, with zero walks and 11 strikeouts.
- LHP Zac Person was assigned on April 11 to Quad Cities from the Tri-City Valley Cats
Next: Houston Astros: Corpus Christi Player Spotlight – Alex Bregman
This week, (April 17-23), the River Bandits finish the home series with the Kane County Cougars on Sunday and then embark on a seven-game road trip. The games include three at Wisconsin and four at Kane County.
**Statistics provided by MiLB.com. Cover photo courtesy @QCBanditPhotog.**