Quad Cities Bandits 2011 Starter of the Year

Trevor Rosenthal is our pick as the top starting pitcher on the Midwest League champion River Bandits.

Last year, I purposely chose a dark horse candidate for The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Quad Cities River Bandits' Starting Pitcher of the Year. This year, no matter who I name, it will be a controversial choice because there are several guys who deserve the honor. After a month of debate with myself, I'm happy to name Trevor Rosenthal as the Quad Cities River Bandits' Starting Pitcher of 2011.

Trevor's poise and leadership at the end of the season gave him the edge in the most difficult choice I've had to make in the five years that I've been making this selection. In the playoffs, he threw the only complete game of the season and carried the Bandits to the Western Conference Finals and he was the chosen starter in the final game of the Championship Series.

For the year, he struck out more than 1.1 batters per inning (133 in 120.1 innings) and allowed less than one hit per inning (111). In those 120.1 innings, Rosenthal he only gave up 39 walks. He started all 22 games in which he appeared. Opponents only hit seven home runs against Trevor.

From the beginning of the season, I said that Trevor had a presence on the mound that couldn't be ignored. At the end of the season, batters were recognizing that presence and giving it a lot of respect. It was a very difficult task to narrow the field to one, but Trevor deserves this and I'm proud to have been able to watch him this season.

Just a hair's breadth behind Rosenthal, Anthony Ferrara ended the season with an overall record of 13-7 on 22 starts. His ERA was 3.03, the lowest of any of the Bandits' full-season starters. He threw over 127 innings in his first full season of baseball to show that he has the stamina to succeed in the game. Ferrara allowed 103 hits and only 43 ER. He walked 53 opponents.

The only thing I found "wrong" with Anthony was the fact that he always called me "sir" and made me think my dad was standing behind me! As hard as he tried, he just couldn't call me by my first name. I got used to it and really ended up liking it. He and Trevor were ALMOST equal; if I could choose two, they would be co-recipients.

Boone Whiting had the lowest ERA (2.41) of the starters at the end of the year. He only started 14 of his 30 appearances because he made a successful transition from the bullpen after the season began. Boone was one of the real students of the game and showed that he was a thinking pitcher. His WHIP was an impressive 0.89. Boone ended his season on an especially high note as he proposed to a local young woman and will be getting married this off season.

Zack Russell was the last of our full-season starters that I will recap here. He was a quiet leader, easy to overlook but impossible to ignore. He had more starts than anyone else on the staff with 23; he threw 113.1 innings. He struck out 98 batters and allowed 105 hits. Zack is grounded in being a southern gentleman and he does it well.

Ryan Copeland joined the team later in the season and provided part of what was needed to take the championship in September. He's a powerful force on the mound and will add to the roster wherever he plays next year. Copeland's stats weren't as impressive as the rest of the starters but when you figure in the fact that he moved into the rotation he had an equally impressive year.

These five starters each had a season to remember. Each will have great years next year and in years to come. Without any one of them, I truly believe that the Bandits would not have had the season that they had. Congratulations to each of them - we'll miss them when April arrives.

Note: Link to article with links to all articles about previous award winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming announcements as well as 2011 team recaps, much of it exclusively for The Cardinal Nation subscribers.

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