Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (July 3-9)
Ralph Garza is doing what his mother told him to do before she passed away from cancer in 2011 – he is following his dream. Now, five years after her death, and in his second professional season, the 22-year-old from Edinburg, Texas, is getting sharper as a pitcher for the River Bandits. Garza has lowered his ERA over his last ten appearances from 4.56 to 2.60, not allowing any earned runs in that time period.
His high school coach called him in 2012, “the best all-around player” he had coached, according to a Lorne Chan, MySA.com article. Chan referred to Garza in that story as possibly being: “the best high school baseball player in Greater San Antonio.”
After high school, Garza went to the University of Oklahoma, where he pitched in 84 games, with four starts. His three-year record at OU was 12-8 with a 4.20 ERA, nine saves, 57 walks, and 123 strikeouts.
The Astros drafted him in the 26th round of the 2015 Amateur Draft, and sent him to the Tri-City Valley Cats of the Class-A, Short Season, New York/Penn League. In August of his first professional season, Garza was part of a three-pitcher effort throwing a combined no-hitter. He relieved Kevin McCanna in the fifth, pitched four innings, struck out seven, and got the win after Zac Person closed it out. Garza told Josh Jackson of MiLB.com that he was unaware until the ninth inning that none of the three Valley Cats pitchers had allowed a hit.
“I came in, and I never looked at the scoreboard,” said Garza in Jackson’s story.
Garza finished out that season with a 1-1 record, 3.89 ERA, in 14 games, and 37 innings.
He moved up to Quad Cities in 2016 and got off to a bit of a rough start, with his ERA as high as 4.56 in early June. He has been extremely sharp in recent games with no runs allowed (0.00 ERA in his last ten games), with three walks and 15 strikeouts. So far in 2016, Garza his thrown 45 innings, walked 11 and struck out 32, for a 3-3 record. Although his WHIP is 1.27, and his opponent’s are batting .271 against him, his last ten outings prove Garza is finding his groove as a professional.
Look for this young man to continue to pursue the dream. It is a safe bet that his mother would be proud.
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- Albert Abreu, #10 prospect, on July 3 threw eight superb, shutout innings, allowing two hits, two walks, and striking out five, and leading 1-0. Adam Whitt blew the save in the ninth, giving up three quick hits, loading the bases. He struck out the next batter, and then gave up a walk-off double to take the loss.
- Elieser Hernandez had a fantastic Fourth of July. The 21-year-old righty threw eight innings, gave up only one hit, no runs, walked one, and struck out ten. He earned his fourth win, as the Bandits hammered out 13 hits and nine runs.
- Myles Straw went 3 for 4 in the same game, continuing his sizzling hot hitting.
- RHP Juan Santos was sent on July 6 to Tri-City. The 20-year-old had an 8.10 ERA in 16.2 innings with the River Bandits. He allowed 14 walks and struck out 14 in his short stint with the team.
- Kyle Tucker, Astros #4 prospect, leads the Midwest League in stolen bases with 28.
- Astros #5 prospect, Daz Cameron, playing for Tri-City (Class-A, Short-season) two hits on July 3. He was hit by a pitch in the first inning on July 6, and was forced to leave the game. According to this tweet, Cameron suffered a broken left first finger, and will likely be out for the rest of the season.
- The Astros 2016, #6 amateur draft pick, Stephen Wrenn, has hit eight home runs in 20 games for Tri-City (New York/Penn League, Class-A, Short season). He is hitting .337/.414/.721 with a 1.135 OPS.
- Gilberto Celestino, Astros #14 prospect, hit .317 in his last ten games.
- With the departure of former Top 30 prospect Alfredo Gonzalez (DFA’d, and traded to the White Sox), INF Wander Franco replaced him on the list. Franco, 19, from the Dominican Republic, is now #29.
- #15 prospect Miguelangel Sierra has hit seven home runs in the last ten games for Greeneville, including two in the July 9 game with Elizabethton. He is now hitting .309, with a league second best slugging percentage of .765, and OPS of 1.110.
Quad Cities went 4-3 this week. Next week, (July 10-16), the River Bandits finish the homestand with two against Clinton. Then it’s three at Fort Wayne, and the first two of three at Lake County.
**Statistics provided by MiLB.com.**