Astros Minors: Newcomer Arturo Michelena Off To Great Start

Quad Cities River Bandits, Photo courtesy @QCBanditPhotog.
Quad Cities River Bandits, Photo courtesy @QCBanditPhotog. /

Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (May 22-28)

Astros minor leaguer Arturo Michelena is one of the newest additions to the River Bandits, and the 21-year-old infielder is off to a great start. After Saturday’s game, he has appeared in seven games since his promotion on May 19, hitting .458 with five RBI and a .962 OPS.

Michelena, from Maracaibo, Venezuela, was signed in late 2011 by Houston as an undrafted free agent and assigned to the Dominican Summer League (Rookie) Astros. In 2012, he appeared in 34 games, hitting .202 with 12 RBI. The following year, he played 67 games for the same team, improving to .226 with 28 RBI. He spent the next two seasons with different Rookie League teams, the Gulf Coast League Astros, and the Greeneville Astros, reaching his top average in 2014 at .235.

This year, he moved up on May 19 to the Class-A Midwest League affiliate of the Astros, getting a chance to see what he could do against a different level of pitching. He waited until his second game to get his first hit and RBI, and it was a big night for him. He banged out four hits and three RBI in that game, a 14 hit barrage by the River Bandits in a 10-4 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

He did it again six nights later with another four-hit effort, this time against the Peoria Chiefs. Since joining the River Bandits, Michelena has been held hitless only twice in seven games and has struck out only four times in 24 at bats.

The young infielder hadn’t shown much in his four minor league campaigns in the Astros system before 2016. For whatever reason, the promotion to the Midwest League seems to have dramatically improved his hitting, at least for now.

Other notes:

  • Ralph Garza, Jose Hernandez, Luis Ramirez, Ricardo Castro, and Juan Santos have all been caught in the revolving door between Quad Cities and Astros Extended Spring Training this week.
  • The latest River Bandits to be promoted to Lancaster are pitchers Andrew Thome and Alex Winkelman. Thome’s record with Quad Cities was 2-1, 1.88 ERA, four walks, 16 K’s, in 12 games/28.2 innings. Winkelman was the top winner for QC, 5-1, 3.72 ERA, 15 walks, 37 K’s, in eight games, 36.1 innings.
  • To fill those roster spots, pitcher Dave Schmidt moved from the Double-A Hooks to Quad Cities, and Elieser Hernandez returned to the River Bandits from Lancaster.
  • Astros #4 prospect Kyle Tucker has slumped recently, hitting only .216 in his last 10 games, dropping his average from .323 to .295.

Next: Astros’ Class-A Jethawks Score 29 Runs in 8 Innings

Quad Cities went 3-4 this week, dropping to 21-27, and falling to last place in the Midwest League’s Western Division. Next week, (May 29-June 4), the River Bandits play two at home against Peoria, three away games with Clinton, and then return home to host Burlington.

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