He played more games, had more at bats, more hits, more runs, more doubles, more home runs, more total bases, higher slugging average, better batting average, and better on base percentage than any other player who was on the team at least half of the season. There was an unconfirmed rumor in the stadium this summer that Matt had an offer to be promoted to Palm Beach fairly early in the season but he turned it down for an opportunity to play daily and to help his team get to the playoffs.
Matt is a soft-spoken leader whose maturity on the field made the difference in many of the team's close games. He will be a long term asset to the entire organization. I'm glad to name him as my choice for the Quad Cities River Bandits Player of the Year for 2010.
It would be easy to stop right there and let this be a short report about the best player in the Midwest League this summer but there are several who were here at least half of the season who deserve mention as runners up for this honor. I'll highlight a few of each of their strengths.
Edgar Lara (pictured) was one of the bright spots on the whole season. He's the only one of our pitchers to end the season with a 0.00 ERA and a win - in his one inning pitched! His real contribution to the team was with his cannon arm from the outfield.
Luis Mateo (pictured) impressed me from the very first day when the press got to meet the team. His quick smile melted many of the girls' hearts this summer, too! He led the team in stolen bases for those who were here most of the year.
C.J. Beatty hit .259 in 72 games. Every time he took the field, he showed good hustle - sometimes bordering on showboating, but he was always fun to watch.
Ivan Castro was a great leader from behind the plate most of the summer, especially going into the playoff stretch. He batted north of .250 in over 200 at bats.
Frederick Parejo (pictured) was one of my favorite players this summer. He struggled some at the plate but he was consistently fast in center field. He has a high wall in front of him if he wants to take center field from Colby Rasmus, but he has the heart and will contribute to the Cards or to another team during his career.
Ryan Jackson was a spark plug that kept the team firing for the first part of the season before he earned his promotion. He had a lot of quirky moves on the field, always exciting in his fielding. He had 82 hits in 302 at bats.
Ryde Rodriguez (pictured), mi amigo, played from his heart every game. He hit .274 while he was here and he truly deserved his promotion this summer. Ryde also served as the translator/liaison for the Hispanic players this summer and was looked upon as the big brother for that contingent.
Niko Vasquez was here for 73 games, just over half of the season. Niko's big gain this year was his patience at the plate. He drew more walks in half a season than any of the other players did all summer.
Robert Stock (pictured) has been the subject of a lot of discussion in 2010. He didn't have a stellar year here but he certainly was a solid contributor to the team. His stats were not great, but he still impresses fans with his ability to hit the second baseman from his knees. As Brian Walton wrote in an article earlier this summer, Rob performed better when he wasn't catching Shelby Miller.
Congratulations to Matt and to all of this year's nominees! Thanks to all the readers for allowing me the pleasure of writing again this year. See you in the Spring!
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