Quad Cities Bandits 2010 Reliever of the Year

Jesse Simpson is the top relief pitcher on the 2010 Quad Cities River Bandits, the Cardinals' Class A Midwest League team.

My selection as The Cardinal Nation Quad Cities River Bandits Relief Pitcher of the Year is Jesse Simpson.

The right-hander had a record of 3-2 in 36 appearances. His overall ERA was 2.87 in 59.2 innings. Simpson struck out more than one batter per inning and walked less than one every two innings before being promoted to Palm Beach in early August. Having watched the 23-year-old pitch most of the summer, he has a good fastball, curve, slider, and change-up but I can't say there was anything that really stands out about his pitching except that he always got he job done in middle relief.

The Bandits had a fairly solid bullpen this year. Simpson, taken in the 40th round of the 2009 draft, stood out as the guy who fans trusted to keep the team in the game. There were only a couple of guys who brought a sense of uneasiness to the stadium when they took the mound. I've always said that I'm glad I'm not the one who has to decide who stays and who goes, but it won't surprise me if they are included on the list of players who will be released this winter.

With the piggy-back starting system used here most of the summer, it's difficult to distinguish sometimes between the starters and relievers. I limited my nominations to those who were not part of a starting dual for most of the summer. I would have liked to have separated this category into choosing a reliever and a closer. Oh, to live in a perfect world!

Others who appeared this summer as relievers (outside the piggy-back role) were:
Aaron Terry
Daniel Calhoun
Jorge Rondon
Justin Smith
Chris Notti
Dean Kiekhefer
Chris Corrigan
Jose Rada
LaCurtis Mayes
Edgar Lara
Jason Novak

I eliminated Mayes, Kiekhefer, and Rondon because they posted ERAs over five. As part of this year's draft class, I think that Kiekhefer has a lot more upside than the other two.

Daniel Calhoun (pictured) was a very consistent workhorse. He averaged almost three innings per appearance and he always seemed to come up with what was needed when he took the mound.

Aaron Terry would have been my choice for the closer of the year. His numbers don't reflect what he contributed. He made 51 trips to the mound for the team this summer, more than one-third of their games played.

Chris Corrigan started and ended the season with the Bandits. Sometimes I wondered how a guy as thin as he is could stand up against the wind coming off the river, but he's another one who shows promise. His percentage of earned runs vs. runs allowed was lower than anyone else on the team.

Chris Notti (pictured) had his ups and downs all summer. Since I learned more about some of the things that went on behind the scenes this year, I understand better why he struggled to live up to his expectations. Notti is one of the pitchers who I hope will be back here next Spring to have a chance to show his fans that he's as good as we think he is.

Jose Rada and Jason Novak just quietly went about the business of relief pitching. Neither of them lit up the radar but they both had a very solid summer here.

Edgar Lara? Yes, he made a one inning appearance as an emergency reliever and was credited with the win that night. He's the only batter who recorded pitching stats all summer.

Look for my selection for Quad Cities Starting Pitcher of the Year next week. I won't be surprised if you are surprised!

Note: Link to article with all award winners across the system as well as 2010 team recaps, exclusively for subscribers!

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