Astros Minors: Dexture McCall and Andrew Thome Playing Well

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Dexture McCall, Quad Cities River Bandits. Photo courtesy @QCBanditPhotog
Dexture McCall, Quad Cities River Bandits. Photo courtesy @QCBanditPhotog /
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Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (May 15-21)

Dexture McCall and Andrew Thome are not in the Houston Astros Top 30 prospect list, however, they are making a case for themselves at Quad Cities. Although the River Bandits are struggling early in the 2016 season, McCall and Thome are making their mark for a team that will hopefully turn it around to compete for a Midwest League title. McCall is hitting .310 in his last 10 games, while Thome is 2-0, with a 1.88 ERA, and four saves in his last ten appearances.

McCall, 22, was picked in the 31st round in the 2014 Amateur Draft, by Houston out of Hillsborough Community College, and hit .250 in 50 games for the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) Astros. He hit one home run with 29 RBI, with an OBP of .338 in his first professional season. Last year, he upped his game to .295/.376/.400, with four home runs and 37 RBI for the short season Tri-City Valley Cats. So far this season, McCall is batting .265/.350//723 with one home run.

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Thome was signed in 2011 as a minor league free agent by the Astros, and went to Greeneville. His 2-1, 0.87 ERA, one walk and 19 K’s in 31 innings earned him a late season promotion to Quad Cities. He appeared in just one game, four innings, where he gave up three hits, one run, and struck out two. This year, Thome is 2-0, 1.73 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in 26 innings.

The Astros made numerous roster moves throughout the system last week, many of them involved the River Bandits, as mentioned in the notes below.

Other notes:

  • Alex Winkelman threw six innings allowing only one hit on May 15. He walked one and struck out seven to get his seventh win, with the lone hit coming in the bottom of the sixth. Winkelman was followed by Jose Hernandez (2 innings, no hits), and and Zac Person (1 inning, no hits) to complete one of the outstanding pitching performances of the season.
  • Brooks Marlow was promoted on May 16 to Lancaster. The infielder was hitting .261 with 2 home runs, 5 RBI, in 25 games for Quad Cities.
  • Keach Ballard joined the River Bandits on May 17, replacing Marlow. The 23-year-old shortstop was drafted by Houston in 2015 in the 31st round of the Amateur draft, and then played 45 games for the Short Season Class-A Tri-City Valley Cats of the New York-Penn League. Ballard got a hit in two at bats in his first appearance with Quad Cities on May 17.
  • RHP Makay Nelson was assigned on May 18 to Quad Cities from the Greeneville Astros. He was a 2015 Round 20 amateur draft pick out of the College of Southern Idaho. Nelson spent last season with Greeneville, going 0-2, 4.45 ERA in 12 games, 30.1 innings.
  • RHP Franklin Perez joined Quad Cities on May 18 from the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) Astros. He was signed as an International free agent, and spent 2015 with the Astros Orange squad in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League Astros (both Rookie Leagues). Perez pitched 50 innings overall last season, with a 1-4 won/loss record, and a 4.50 ERA. He walked 14 and struck out 61.
  • OF Johnny Sewald and INF Antonio Nunez were both promoted on May 19 to Lancaster. Sewald was hitting .219 with one home run in 29 games. Nunez was at .198 in 29 games.
  • The corresponding roster moves brought OF Myles Straw and INF Arturo Michelena to Quad Cities from Greeneville (Rookie). The 21-year-old Straw was a 2015 Round 12 amateur draft pick for Houston, who hit .268 in 58 games last season for the Rookie League Astros. Michelena, also 21, signed as a free agent in 2011, and spent two seasons with the Astros Dominican Summer League (Rookie) team, one season with the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) Astros, and 2015 with Greeneville. In four seasons, 178 games, Michelena has hit .221 with two home runs.
  • Astros #11 prospect Albert Abreu is having a rough stretch. In eight games, five starts, and 28 innings, the 20-year-old right hander is 0-5, with a 5.79 ERA. He has given up 23 hits, 18 earned runs, and 17 walks. On the plus side, his 46 strikeouts leads the River Bandits by a lot (13 more than second place Alex Winkelman.
  • LHP Luis Ramirez was assigned to Quad Cities from the yet to be active Tri-City Valley Cats. The 20-year-old Venezuelan has played for three Astros Rookie League teams since 2014. He started with the Dominican League Blue team, moving in 2015 to the Gulf Coast League Astros and then Greeneville. In two seasons, Ramirez is 2-5, 3.27 ERA, in 26 games/55 innings, with 13 walks and 43 strikeouts.
  • RHPs Juan Santos and Ralph Garza were both sent on May 21 to Astros Extended Spring Training.
  • RHP Ricardo Castro was promoted on May 21 to Quad Cities from the Astros Dominican Blue squad.

Next: Houston Astros: The Rise of Michael Feliz

Quad Cities went 4-2 this week, and remain in 7th place in the Western Division. Next week, (May 22-28), the River Bandits play the final two games of an away series at Cedar Rapids, and they finish the road trip with three games in Beloit. Then it’s back home for the first two of a four game home stand against the Peoria Chiefs.

**Statistics provided by MiLB.com. Cover photo courtesy @QCBanditPhotog.**

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