Quad Cities River Bandits Notebook: Week 8

This week's update from the St. Louis Cardinals' Class A Midwest League home. Niko Vasquez and Scott Schneider led the way during May.

The Quad Cities River Bandits (31-20) are now 51 games into the season, 19 games from the mid-season break. They are in second place in the Western Division, two games behind Cedar Rapids and 1.5 games ahead of the third-place Clinton Lumber Kings. If the Bandits maintain at least second place in the division going into the break they will be guaranteed a place in the post-season play-offs.

At the end of May, the team batting average is .256. They have a team total of 236 RBI, 35 home runs, and 35 stolen bases. They have 403 Ks against them, with only 241 walks. To maintain a competitive edge, they will need to reduce the Ks and increase the hits.

The team is performing much better at home (18-7) than on the road (13-13). They have shown improvement recently, going 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Individually, D'Marcus Ingram is the current leader in AVG (.339), runs scored (38), hits (50), triples (6), and stolen bases (10). He has been the spark plug that this young team needs. Matt Adams has played in 50 of the 51 games, has the most doubles (16), and has had the most at bats (186).

The bright spot on the team this year has been Niko Vasquez. He has produced better than expected on several levels. He and Adams share the lead for home runs at seven. Although his K count is creeping up, he leads the team in base on balls with 47. Last year he swung at everything that was thrown toward the plate so this is a real improvement. I also like the leadership he seems to take on the field. For this, I'm choosing Vasquez as my personal player of the month for May.

The pitching staff remains a bit of a mystery. Eric Fornataro has been the work horse. He has posted 54.2 innings. In those innings he has an ERA of 2.63 (16 ER on 44 hits) and he leads the team with five wins. Deryk Hooker has posted an ERA of 2.70 and has struck out 49 batters. Shelby Miller leads the pitchers with 54 Ks but he has also given up a team-high 28 runs—22 of them earned. Aaron Terry leads with 8 saves. Joe Kelly is my sleeper—I'm still waiting for his break out. He's better than we've seen so far.

Scott Schneider gets my nod for pitcher of the month. With an ERA of 2.08 on the season and a WHIP of 0.80, his command of the mound is impressive. In 47.2 innings he has only given up 11 earned runs and 14 walks. He has posted 45 Ks.

After some scheduling conflicts that have kept me from the game recently, I'm looking forward to getting back to the stadium after this week's extended road trip to Great Lakes and Lansing. I'll have more eye-witness reports soon.

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