Quad Cities River Bandits Report: 08/14/08

This week, our St. Louis Cardinals Midwest League club report features an interview with right-handed pitcher Jared Bradford, taken in the 18th round of the 2008 draft.

The Quad Cities River Bandits are currently tied with Beloit for third place in the Midwest League Western Division, a game and a half behind Cedar Rapids for second place and a spot in the post-season. Burlington leads the division, 3.5 games ahead of the Bandits. Burlington comes to Davenport for a weekend series this week; it could be the biggest opportunity of the season for the young birds.


Nick Additon was promoted to Palm Beach this week. He was replaced by Derek Hooker. With Hooker's appearance on Wednesday, he became the 54th player to be named on the Bandits' roster this season. The first time I got to see Jameson Maj (pronounced May), he threw pitches that were turned into fly balls—he trusts the defense to do their jobs. Jon Edwards has added a much-needed spark to the team. He has two hits—both bombs—and four RBIs in just seven games.


Brett Wallace leads the current roster in OBP (.427), SLG (.534), OPS (.961) and BA (.344). What more can be said? It has been nice having him here in the Quad Cities but we know this one won't make a repeat appearance here. Blake Murphy and Jon Edwards are the only other current players whose OPS top .800.


Tommy Pham, Jon Edwards, and Ross Oeder combined forces in Friday evening's game to hit four home runs, accounting for all eight of the team's runs in the game. Tommy is now at 15 homers for the Bandits; he seems to be coming out of his slump.


Lance Lynn missed his scheduled start on Monday this week with some muscle stiffness. Jared Bradford stepped up and stepped in and threw five solid innings in the win. Earlier this week I was able to share a post-game dinner with Jared to talk baseball and more. Here is some of what we discussed:


Jared, what part of your game are you working on this year to improve?


I'm concentrating on the basics; fewer walks, giving up fewer runs. I'm working to strengthen what I have and to know my own limits.


Where did you go to school?


I'm just a few classes short of graduating from LSU.


Do you have a favorite color?


It's blue.


What's your favorite meal?


Steak and baked potatoes.


Who was your favorite team when you were growing up?


I was a Braves fan.


You haven't been here very long, but from what you've seen so far who do you think is most like you on the team as far as the way you play?


I'd say it's Pete Parise (note: this was just before Pete was promoted). We are both very locked in and focused when we're on the mound.


What has been the highlight of your baseball career so far?


It was in Omaha at the College World Series. We were playing North Carolina in an elimination game. The bases were loaded and I got out of the inning without allowing a run.


Among MLB players, who was your childhood hero?


I always looked up to Greg Maddux.


What about a sports hero outside of baseball?


Michael Jordan. Not only was he great at basketball, but he played professional baseball while he was retired, before he went back.


Do you have any superstitions?


I used to, but not anymore. I decided that nothing is stronger than me.


When you make it to the majors, what number do you want to wear?


I really don't care if I'm there! I'll wear 99, 120, 3, I don't care!


Do you have any phobias?


I don't like clowns. They're hiding something! All that makeup and masks—that's just creepy!


If you were a car, what kind would you be?


I'd either be a four wheel drive truck or a muscle car of some kind.


On or off the field, who inspires you?


My Dad; he has always been there and I know he always will be.


If you could have an intro song played as you take the mound, what song would you choose?


I'd have two. It would be Thunderstruck by AC/DC or The Son of a Preacher Man.


Let me guess, is your dad a preacher?


He sure is! I'm proud of him!


What's your favorite baseball movie?


For Love of the Game.


Do you have a preference in sports gear brands?


I use Under Armor and Nike.


What else do you want readers to know about you as a person or as a player?


I want them to know that as much as I love this game, I know there's more to life than playing baseball. I want to play as long as I can, but I have a plan for after I'm done. I enjoy simplicity in my life—I'm a Christian, I like a nice day, I see the beauty in things around me, I like a good book, my family and friends are very important. I just enjoy life.


Thanks, Jared!



Deal this week


Chuckie Fick remains hot on the mound. He is going deeper into the game than other starters and his control at the plate gets better and better. Adron Chambers has played in 80 games, more than any other current player, and he is getting better as he goes with better offense and he's making bigger and bigger plays in the outfield.


Nick Peoples deserves a mention here also. He's not a superstar; he's a workhorse who is part of every win. I'm including the entire team in this section tonight, too. As I write this I am listening to the game in Beloit. Going into the ninth inning they were down 0-1. They just won, 5-3, in yet another come from behind victory


No Deal this week


Carlos Pupo hit a nice long homer over the right center fence in Cedar Rapids on Friday night, but he is still struggling seriously at the plate.  Oliver Marmol needs to get his AVG up or he won't be able to justify a spot on the roster—his field presence is impressive, though. 


Dylan Gonzalez is still on the list. He did get the win Wednesday night, but he still needs to show how much he wants to be a pitcher.


Stay Tuned


As always, I am paying attention to the new members of the team. Jon Edwards has been mentioned above, as has Jameson Maj and Derek Hooker. Tommy Pham seems to have started to come around. I'm looking for a breakout soon. Ryan Kulik is pitching on Friday night in Beloit—I'll be at the game and hope for a great start.


I'll also be watching the revolving door on the clubhouse—we have had 28 position players and 26 pitchers on the roster so far this year and I don't think we're done yet!



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