A pair of 2015 draft picks were dubbed the Quad Cities River Bandits Players of the Month for April on Thursday. 29th round selection Brooks Marlow and 36th rounder Ryan Deemes were notified by manager Omar Lopez after Wednesday's game that they had earned the distinction.
In 16 games, Marlow hit .295 with a .348 on-base percentage, clubbing one homer and driving in four. His batting average and OBP rank second on the team behind catcher Anthony Hermelyn. Marlow has started off May on a roll too, batting .364 with a .417 OBP in three games. He finished April by recording a hit in six of his last seven games which included a 5-for-5 performance on the 26th against the South Bend Cubs.
Deemes finished May with a 0.64 ERA spanning 14 innings over seven games. His propensity for inducing ground balls (1.89 ground ball rate) and a 0.93 WHIP certainly helped to contribute to his good first month. I asked Deemes what has been working for him this season, and he mentioned that being able to control both sides of the plate while attacking hitters early and often has been been working pretty well.
Deemes says that his approach on the bump is "To just believe in my stuff and know that I'm better than the guy in the box." It's a simple approach that works for many pitchers throughout baseball, and it has certainly been working for Deemes this year. In his one appearance in May, he tossed 3.1 perfect innings while striking out five on Tuesday night.
Of course, to stay on top of hitters and continue to move up the organizational ladder there have to be improvements and adjustments made throughout the course of the year. To that point, Deemes said that he is mainly working on his off-speed pitches while continuing to throw strikes on a daily basis.
Both Marlow and Deemes got Thursday night off in the River Bandits 1-0 loss. Quad Cities pitching allowed just one hit but walked nine, which ended up being what doomed the team on this evening. After walking the bases loaded in the 3rd, a double play ball scored the game's only run and gave the Lansing Lugnuts enough to seal the victory.
Bandits from a season ago also earned honors with their new clubs, including pitcher Joe Musgrove and shortstop Alex Bregman with the Hooks, as well as infielder Nick Tanielu and pitcher Brock Dykxhoorn with the Lancaster Jethawks.