Brian's Batavia Bits – August 10

News bytes from the St. Louis Cardinals' New-York Penn League affiliate Batavia Muckdogs brought to you by Brian Walton.

I attended the Batavia Muckdogs' series against the Hudson Valley Renegades and figured I would use this space to fill in our readers on some miscellaneous happenings. After losing two of three, the 18-30 Muckdogs are in fifth place in the New York-Penn's Pinckney Division.


A name rarely, if ever, spoken around these parts, outfielder Mateo Marquez, smacked a two-run home run in the second inning to put his club out front Thursday night and had three RBI overall. As an indication of how rough the start to his season was, even after collecting six hits in his last four games, Marquez is still hitting just .187 on the year.


On the bad side, Marquez, hitting in the number seven spot, fanned two more times Thursday night. For the season, he is whiffing over 1/3 of the time - 32 in 91 at-bats. The 22-year-old was this season's 47th round draft pick.


Though he did not start on Wednesday, I saw Domnit Bolivar for the first time in the line-up on Thursday. On the field, Bolivar seems to be a cruiser. I don't necessarily mean that badly, but it didn't seem like he ever went full dead out.


At short, the 18-year-old was very busy. In the first inning, he muffed a grounder for an error. In the eighth, as his team coughed up a 5-3 lead, Bolivar tried a barehanded stop on a screamer, but dropped it on a play that was scored a hit. Next batter, he was victimized by a bad hop, as the ball scooted below his glove into left.


While Bolivar's average is clearly lacking (.083 in 12 at-bats at this level, following a .240 mark at Johnson City), I noted pop in his bat, both in batting practice and in the game. However, his selectivity at the plate needs a lot of help. He looked to be swinging at anything. On this night, he grounded out 6-3 twice and hit a short fly to right.


In the ninth inning with two down, Tommy Pham hit for Bolivar. While Pham singled, he was picked off first base and was caught in a rundown to end the game. The former shortstop, now outfielder, never seems to be without a bat in his hands. He spent extra cage time before the game on both days I saw him. Pham's reply was simply, "I need it!" The 19-year-old is currently batting .223.


Catcher David Carpenter seemed to handle the staff well, but I noticed several of his throws to second base were high and to the first base side. The Renegades were running wild on Wednesday, attempting five steals. In all fairness, two of them were gunned down, including one at third. So, while Carpenter took one error, it wasn't a total loss for him, to be sure.


On Wednesday, first baseman Andrew Brown blasted a two-run home run just inside the left-field foul pole to put his club out on top. Two innings later, they relinquished the lead, a common thread over the last two games of the series. Brown celebrated his All-Star selection by going 2-for-3 with three RBI that night.


Thomas Eager was the second starter on Thursday and took the loss. The righty pitched a scoreless sixth before allowing one run in the seventh. In the eighth, with one run in and two on, he was relieved by Davis Bilardello. Bilardello's first offering exited the park as the three-run shot turned a lead into a loss.


Eager has an interesting delivery. He stands toward third base, comes to a stop, then twists with his back toward the plate, hesitates, then comes home in kind of a corkscrew motion.


New York-Penn All-Star Josh Dew hasn't seen game action since August 1 due to elbow discomfort. Dew threw fastballs before the game on Wednesday and was allowed to use his whole repertoire on Thursday, carefully icing down his elbow after each session. The 22-year-old is scheduled to return to game action on Saturday.


Second-rounder David Kopp made just two appearances for Batavia before being sent back to Florida. He experienced shoulder discomfort and while it was not deemed serious, given that the former Clemson hurler had already tossed over 100 innings this season, the decision to go cautious was made.


Scott Thomas is a name some may have forgotten. The catcher/first baseman had been a part of the Batavia squad but hasn't seen action due to a lower back injury. He was also sent to Jupiter for treatment and rehab.


There were several scouts in attendance, including a representative of the Kansas City Royals. Don't think for a moment that the coaches don't know they're being watched. On Wednesday, with the temperatures in the upper 90's, Manager Mark DeJohn allowed his team to take batting and fielding practice in their liners only. That meant no numerical identification for the players that day.


Future coaches? Several players took turns in the first base coaching box, including catcher Paul Vazquez and outfielders Pham and Justin Roberson.  


Here are the current tandem starter pairs for the Muckdogs:


Pete Parise/Josh Fritsche

Brandon Garner/J.D. Stambaugh

Jess Todd/Blake King

Thomas Eager/Clay Long


The two take turns being the first and second starter, with the first getting 75 pitches and the latter going 65.


In case anyone missed it, the Muckdogs had three players selected to participate in the League All-Star Game this coming Tuesday, August 14. They are pitchers Josh Dew, Jess Todd and first baseman Andrew Brown. Interviews with all three are planned in the upcoming days, as well as others with outfielder Tyler Henley, coach Mike Shildt and skipper Mark DeJohn. More details on the All-Star selections here.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at


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