Quad Cities Player of the Year: 2008

Shortstop Pete Kozma is the clear selection as our top position player on the 2008 Quad Cities River Bandits, the St. Louis Cardinals affiliate in the Class-A Midwest League.

The Position Player of the Year for the Quad Cities River Bandits was just as difficult to choose as were the Pitchers of the Year. In the 140-game season, nobody played 100 games; nobody had 400 at bats; nobody had 20 home runs; nobody had 20 stolen bases. Eleven of the thirty position players averaged below .200 at the plate. Twenty two of them had slugging averages at .400 or below.


David Carpenter was the first to be promoted on April 21. Oliver Marmol was the last to be promoted on August 22. Matt Spade was the first player to join the team on April 8 and Matt Frevert was the last on August 26. Between re-assignments, retirements, disabilities, promotions, and releases, the 25-man roster had 59 members throughout the season. Exactly one man started and ended the season in the Quad Cities and that was Adron Chambers.


So how do you choose a "best"? There were a few standouts. There were a few real disappointments. For the most part, there were a lot of very solid, everyday players that came together as a good team. However, my assignment was to choose one. Only one.


Once again, I set some criteria for the qualifiers. I started by thinking that a player of the year should have played in at least half of the games this year. That eliminated too many since only six players met that standard, so I set that number at one third of the games (47) and again, there were too few to consider. So, I chose the arbitrary number at 40 games. That number eliminated a couple of outstanding players in Aaron Luna and Jon Edwards, but they just weren't here long enough to be a player of the year.


Next, I took out the three players whose batting average was below .200. Oliver Marmol, Nick Peoples, and Jose Garcia didn't make this cut. Then I removed Mike Folli and Paul Vazquez because they each had fewer than 150 plate appearances. The final elimination, for fewer than 50 hits, brought the departure of Brett Wallace and Matt Arburr. That left seven in the running for the position Player of the Year. In alphabetical order they are:


Domnit Bolivar, age 19 for most of the season (.257, 88 H, 28 R, 89 K, 17 BB, in 91 games). He was one of the most improved players over the course of the season. Bolivar spent the month of July in Batavia and looked much better when he returned in August. Due to the position he played, he had the most errors on the team. His lack of English made him very quiet and that came across as a lack of leadership.


Adron Chambers, age 21 (. 238, 80 H, 56 R, 66 K, 33 BB in 95 games). Adron, as mentioned above, was the only River Bandit who was here for the entire season, but he didn't appear in the most games. He led the team in triples and was third in overall hits. I see a future for Adron as a solid outfielder but I don't believe he will ever become an All-Star.


D'Marcus Ingram, age 20 (.235, 60 H, 37 R, 47 K, 24 BB in 76 games). Ingram was very quiet but very impressive all summer. He joined the team just after they arrived in Davenport and contributed at every opportunity. He doesn't have the size of the stereotypical "modern" pro player, but I think he will become a good addition to a Major League roster someday.


Charlie Kingrey, 23 before the start of the season (.289, 72 H, 33 R, 60 K, 23 BB in 68 games). Charlie immediately became a fan favorite when the season started. His fielding was always exciting and his personality endeared him to the regulars at the Modern Woodmen Field Tiki Lounge on the right field berm. When Charlie was promoted, it was quieter at the stadium.


Pete Kozma, age 20 for all but the first two weeks of the season (.284, 107 H, 58 R, 69 K, 45 BB in 99 games). What can be said about Pete that hasn't been said many times? He could easily score from first on a single. He showed incredible leadership on the field as he directed the infield. He's young, but he shows very good control at the plate. I look forward to seeing him in the infield at Busch Stadium someday soon.


Tommy Pham, age 20 (.218, 68 H, 51 R, 126 K, 27 BB in 86 games). When Tommy joined the team, he played with a vengeance! He seemed to be angry at having been sent from Palm Beach to QC. As he settled into the season, he put a lot of pressure on himself to be a star. In a few late-season talks with him, I was impressed with his consuming desire to improve his performance. Tommy has excelled at everything he has done; that won't change as he makes his way to St. Louis.


Francisco Rivera, age 19 (.291, 72 H, 21 R, 37, K, 23 BB in 71 games). It surprised me when Rivera made the cut for my list. He did a good job all summer but he didn't ever really stand out. Since he's just 19, he'll be fun to watch as he develops.


With those seven players on the nomination list, it became easier to see a few finalists. I chose Kingrey, Pham, and Kozma as the final three and my nod goes to Pete Kozma for the Quad Cities River Bandits Player of the Year for 2008. Did you really expect anyone else?


It has been an incredible journey again this year bringing the weekly Quad Cities report to you. I still hate this time of the year because it's going to be 178 days until the Bandits are back in Davenport for a home game. If you hear a repeated thumping for the next five months, it's just me banging my head on the wall waiting for the season to start. I'll see you soon!



Master article with all 2008 Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Players of the Year and the schedule for daily announcements: link. (This link is also permanently located at the lower left of The Birdhouse home page.)



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