Quad Cities Bandits Notebook: 2012 Week 20

Reaching the playoffs again is proving to be a challenge for the defending Midwest League champion.

Only two weeks remain in the Midwest League regular season. The Quad Cities River Bandits are 4.0 games out of a playoff spot. As hard as I try to remain positive and as objective as I can in these reports, it's becoming difficult to believe that there will be a post-season for the club this year. It's especially disappointing since most of this team played together and won together in Johnson City last year.

There have been highlights this season. I'm sure it has been disappointing to Colin Walsh that he hasn't been promoted but he has made it fun to watch baseball this year. Sam Gaviglio had a rough start on the season but he has matured into a great young pitcher who knows how to control the game. The team has received several needed sparks from Matt Williams at crucial points in games that made them more exciting.

Although he has had some streaky times, Luis Mateo is showing signs of leadership that is needed in the system. Anthony Garcia had been out on injury lately and I don't know why. I was under the impression that it was an "administrative" visit to the DL to make room for others but he has been hitting well and I can't imagine benching him so someone else can play. Juan Castillo and Casey Rasmus both have the potential to push Yadier Molina in the catcher's spot.

Nick Martini shows flashes of brilliance and I believe that he's on his way to a great career. Robert Stock didn't put up great numbers this year but he has improved more than anyone on the team and I applaud him for being able to make the transition from catcher to pitcher this year. David Bergin has only been here part of the season but he has added a lot of pop to the team - he'll be a good addition in whatever level he plays next year. Jonathan Cornelius came in as a starter and moved to the bullpen and remained solid all summer. Of course, Stephen Piscotty is bound to be an All-Star someday.

There have also been some serious disappointments this year. Tyrell Jenkins seemed to have "Seth Blair Syndrome" all summer. We all knew he would be good, but we very rarely saw that in his performance. He just earned his first home win this week. David Medina started the spring on a hot streak but has faded in the heat of the summer. I think he is a lot better than he is playing now. Jordan Walton has only been here a few games but he has not impressed anyone yet. He has only one hit in 14 AB and always seems to turn the wrong direction when he's fielding a ball.

It is difficult to write much positive about the pitching staff overall. Hector Hernandez had some brilliant games and he had some horrible outings. It has become impossible to predict which Dail Villanueva we'll see on the mound from one game to the next. I understand that at this level of baseball it is more about player development than it is about winning games, but as a fan I want to see wins!

I hesitate to point an accusing finger at anyone but this year I think the problem comes down to a very laid back Luis Aguayo. I've never heard the team talking about getting chewed out for bad losses. I've never heard them say anything about having a tough practice. I've never heard him say much about wanting the team to win more games. Finally, he IS the manager and the quality of play comes down to him.

There are still 14 games left and the 2011 Cardinals taught me that nothing is impossible in baseball. If the Bandits hit a hot streak, they might still make it. If not, it's going to be a longer off season than normal.

This week there are a couple of exciting promotions. Wednesday will be the second World Series Replica Ring giveaway to the first 2000 fans. Thursday is the Great Annual Car Giveaway! Five lucky fans will each go home with a free used car!

As the season winds down, please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. You can contact me through the forum at sport61201.

Thanks for reading!

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