Highlights from the first 70 games:
Tyler Rahmatulla was promoted last week as was announced here. The infielder led the league in batting average for the first half with a mark of .322. Colin Walsh was just a shade behind him at .321 for second place in the league and Juan Castillo was sixth at .313. Luis Mateo just barely missed the top ten as his .301 was good for eleventh.
Walsh (.936) and Rahmatulla (.910) were second and third in OPS. Anthony Garcia (.895) placed fifth and Juan Castillo (.844) was ninth. Again, Mateo just missed the top ten with an OPS of .842. For slugging, Walsh (.590) and Rahmatulla (.546) were again first and second. Garcia (.521) and Mateo (.493) also placed in the top ten.
Walsh led the league in home runs with 15. Nick Martini was right behind Walsh for the most hits at 53. Walsh also leads the league in RBI with 58.
Among the starting pitchers, Hector Hernandez has been the work horse, registering over 70 innings. Kyle Hald and Sam Gaviglio are right behind him in innings pitched. Heath Wyatt has the most saves out of the bullpen with 11. Ethan Cole has logged the most bullpen innings with 43.2.
Heath Wyatt receives my vote for the most entertaining delivery from the mound. His submarining sidearm motion is a thing of beauty. Robert Stock takes my vote for the most intriguing player. He hasn't raced out of the blocks, but it has been very interesting watching last year's catcher develop as a pitcher this year. He'll take a little more time to completely develop, but I think he has a real chance to make it as a hurler.
Overall, the team's batting average (.264) is good for second in the league behind Bowling Green. The Bandits' OPS average overall (.749) is also second behind Bowling Green. Quad Cities held the top spot in the league for home runs in the first half at 62.
The lowlights from the first 70 games:
I'm concerned about the pitching. The overall ERA for the Bandits was 3.85 - only eighth-best in the league. There have too many games this year that should have been won easily but failed because of one bad inning. Last week, the team scored 15 runs in Burlington and lost the game. In Peoria this week, they scored 11 and were again defeated. That shouldn't happen.
I don't play the game of pitchers vs. batters but it seems that this year the difference in the W-L column has been in the pitching. I wish there was an easy answer to fix this situation. It's hard to ask the batters to do more when they outscored all other teams by 59 runs in the first half. As I often say, that's why there are 140 games a year. I believe they will find the way to win.
Others who weren't at the top of the stats charts who are going to be fun to watch as the season progresses include:
Casey Rasmus - He has the speed of a Rasmus and I have to remind myself that he's a catcher and "should" be slower!
Matt Williams – The shortstop is one of the steadiest players who comes up with big plays when his team needs them. He gets overlooked too often.
Nick Martini - I get the feeling that the outfielder just about to explode and show the world that he's one of the best. I hope he does it soon.
David Medina - One of the most underrated players in the league, I think. He's steady and he's good. He'll make a good platoon player even if he's never an All-Star.
Garrett Wittels - He's taking some time in short season but I still have a sense about him that says he's going to be great. After three decades of watching MiLB, my gut doesn't miss very often.
Danny Miranda - I think the left-hander would probably be a good starter on just about any other roster. He's has good stuff and the fans relax when he takes the mound.
Jonathan Cornelius - A sleeper who is going to show the league that you don't mess with him. Now that he has established his spot in the rotation, all he has to do is keep proving that he's in the right spot.
Tyrell Jenkins - My disappointment with the top prospect has been in the way the Cardinals have kept him on a fairly short leash. I think when he gets to throw more pitches we'll all see why he was a first-round pick.
Robert Stock - As I said earlier, he's finding it. I hope the Cards give him a fair shot to prove that they didn't make a mistake.
I can't believe that we're half way to the end of another season already! By the time the team is back for their first home game of the half on Thursday, the temperature is supposed to be over 90 degrees with humidity to match it. This will be what the guys have been requesting since early April.
This is the time of the year that I love - when I get to sit on the berm in the outfield, taking in the "whole" game from the outfield fence. This is when I wish I had played little league ball and maybe had a shot at a contract. But this is also the time of the year that now as an "old man" I get to enjoy the game as if these guys are my sons.
Once again, I invite questions and suggestions! Contact me on the forum if there's something that you'd like to read in these reports.
Thanks for reading!
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