Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Look at the Quad Cities River Bandits Opening Day Roster

Earlier this week, I dissected the Opening Day rosters for the Fresno Grizzlies, Corpus Christi Hooks and Lancaster JetHawks. Today let's look at the Quad Cities River Bandits. With very few exceptions, this team is on whole new to the level, including a few young players who are being promoted very aggressively. The Banditos are 0-2 to start the season (on the road against the Twins Low A affiliate Cedar Rapids). They will again face Cedar Rapids in their home opener today.

Kyle Tucker - June 2015
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green

A good chunk of the River Bandits pitching staff comes from the 2015 draft. Kevin McCanna (13th round), Adam Whitt (16th round), Alex Winkelman (21st round), Matt Bower (23rd round), Chris Murphy (24th round), Ralph Garza (26th round), and Ryan Deemes (36th round) all ended their seasons with Tri-City and are seeing their first Low A competition for Quad Cities. All of these players, with the exception of Adam Whitt, had some experience starting in 2015 so I anticipate some movement between the starting rotation and the bullpen throughout the year as these players get sorted out to get the most out of their abilities.

Jacob Dorris and Andrew Thome were also signed in 2015, but both were non-drafted free agents. Thome started a handful of games in 2015, but Dorris was strictly a reliever. Those two players, along with late 2014 Cuban signee Rogelio Armenteros, are the only players from this group who saw any regular season time with the Banditos last season. Jose Hernandez is yet another recent signing (March 2015 out of Mexico) who will be a part of the pitching staff. He finished the 2015 season in Tri-City.

That leaves us with lefty Sebastian Kessay who last pitched for Tri-City in July 2014 before reportedly undergoing Tommy John surgery at some point, and highly regarded prospect Albert Abreu who spent 2015 pitching in Rookie level Greeneville. There is definitely talent in this pitching staff, but there is not a lot of experience. Some guys will struggle and some will rise to the top. Of course that happens with any team, but I have a feeling that the divide may be more dramatic out of this particular group. In any event, it will be a lively competition.

Two more 2015 signings, Anthony Hermelyn (4th round draft pick) and Christian Correa (NDFA) will be charged with handling the pitching staff. Veteran Astros farmhand Marlon Avea was listed on the preliminary roster, but was since re-assigned.

2015 29th round pick Brooks Marlow and 30th round pick Bobby Wernes, and 2014 18th round pick Antonio Nunez and 31st round pick Dex McCall all spent their 2015 seasons with Tri-City. They will be joined by 20-year old SS Osvaldo Duarte. Duarte is in his third season with the Astros and spent his 2015 season with Greeneville.

Like Duarte, 19-year old co-first round draft picks Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron will be skipping Tri-City and are being aggressively promoted directly to Quad Cities. 2015 draft picks Johnny Sewald (14th round), Pat Porter (15th round) and Aaron Mizell (32nd round) all played for Tri-City in 2015 and will be rounding out the outfield.

All told, none of the position players on this team have any experience at the level and the three pitchers who have experience combined for a grand total of 28 regular season innings at the level. Between that and game time temperatures in the 40's to start the season, it could be rocky going early on!

QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS

RHP Albert Abreu
RHP Rogelio Armenteros
LHP Matt Bower
RHP Ryan Deemes
RHP Jacob Dorris
RHP Ralph Garza
RHP Jose Hernandez
LHP Sebastian Kessay
RHP Kevin McCanna
RHP Chris Murphy
RHP Andrew Thome
RHP Adam Whitt
LHP Alex Winkelman

C Christian Correa
C Anthony Hermelyn

SS Osvaldo Duarte
*2B Brooks Marlow
1B Dex McCall
SS Antonio Nunez
3B Bobby Wernes

OF Daz Cameron
*OF Aaron Mizell
*OF Pat Porter
*OF Johnny Sewald
*Kyle Tucker

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For more info on all of these players, the best resource available is the 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook. If you haven't already purchased this invaluable book, you are in luck. It is ON SALE for another few hours for only $7.99. Get yours today!


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