Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (July 10-16)
Astros minor league outfielder Myles Straw has been the brightest light in a difficult 2016 season for the River Bandits. Playing for a team struggling to stay above .500, Straw in his first full professional season continues to impress with his bat and glove. Although we wrote about Straw just a month ago, his first-rate hitting and defense earn this young player another spotlight.
The June Quad Cities Player of the Month is hitting .335/.405/.431 in 46 games since his May 19 promotion from Greeneville. Straw started July off in grand style, going 5-5 in the first game of the month, and he continues to rake. He is one of the steadiest hitters in the Quad Cities lineup, maintaining his average well above .300, batting .394 in his last ten games, as of July 15.
Not a power guy, Straw has yet to hit a home run as a pro, but that is by no means a negative. Of his 56 hits for Quad Cities, 12 are for extra bases, with eight doubles and four triples. His 72 total bases rank him fifth on the River Bandits, playing in considerably fewer games than the first four.
According to Baseball America, Straw is hitting .457 against left-handed pitchers, and .303 against righties. Since his promotion to Quad Cities, he has hit progressively better each month. In May, he hit .257, but it didn’t take him long to heat up at the plate, batting .326 in June, and a sizzling .413 so far in July.
As noted, it is not just Straw’s hitting that makes him stand out, but also his exceptional play in the outfield. So far in 2016, Straw had six outfield assists and was part of three double plays, making only one error in 46 games. Diving, making spectacular catches, and gunning runners down on the base paths prove he is at least as valuable with a glove as he is with a bat.
Straw’s talents in all phases of the game make him a solid early contender for a league MVP award, and should soon put him in a position to contribute to the success of the Astros.
- Jose Hernandez was razor-sharp on July 11. He threw seven innings, gave up one hit and one walk to pick up his second win of the season.
- On July 15, Astros #16 prospect Franklin Perez pitched five innings, allowed three hits and two walks, while striking out seven Fort Wayne batters. Reliever Albert Abreu (#10 prospect) threw the final four innings, giving up only one hit, no walks, no runs, striking out five.
- The River Bandits are tied for second place in the Western Division, with a 13-11 record so far in the second half.
- On July 16, Hernandez had another outstanding outing. He went six innings, gave up five scattered hits, no walks, no runs, and struck out a career-high 13 Lake County batters. In one inning of relief, Dave Schmidt allowed two base runners but nailed down the save to preserve the shutout. Hernandez got his third win of the season, and his second consecutive superb effort.
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- Miguelangel Sierra, Astros #15 prospect, was named on July 12, to the MLB Pipeline’s Team of the Week, for July 4-10. In five games, Sierra hit .500/.571/1.444, with six runs, one triple, five home runs, and five RBI. As of July 15, he is hitting .338 with eight home runs, 52 total bases in 17 games.
- Carmen Benedetti, Astros 2016, 12th round amateur pick is one of the hot hitters with the Tri-City Valley Cats of the Class-A Short Season New York/Penn League. In his first 16 professional games, the first baseman is hitting a team-leading .409 (not enough at-bats to qualify for the league lead).
- Randy Cesar, a fifth-year pro, still in the low minor leagues, is off to a torrid start with Tri-City. The infielder is hitting .447 in his last ten games and leads the league with a .367 average in the first 26 games of the season.
- Infielder Ryne Birk is also swinging a hot bat for Tri-City. 2016, Round 13 draft pick is batting .372 in his last ten appearances, .333 in 21 games since signing with the Astros.
Quad Cities went 4-3 this week. Next week, (July 17-23), the River Bandits play one game at Lake County, host Dayton for three at Modern Woodmen Park, and the first of three home games against Bowling Green.
**Statistics provided by MiLB.com and Baseball America. **