Scouting Report: Quad Cities River Bandits
I saw last Saturday's game between the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Burlington Bees. Here is my report on Quad Cities, Low-A Midwest League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. This team has several players who haven't received much attention but who are performing well.
Juan Castillo, C: Age 22, right-handed hitter, listed 5-11, 190. Signed from Dominican Republic in 2006. Compact swing with decent bat speed. Hitting .299/.366/.470 on the year, 19 walks, 25 strikeouts in 164 at-bats, impressive numbers for the Midwest League. Alert and active on the field, quick release with good arm strength. I thought he looked quite sharp, especially with the glove, and he looks like a sleeper prospect to me.
Anthony Garcia, OF: Age 20, right-handed hitter, listed at 6-0, 180 but looks bigger than that, drafted in 18th round in 2009 from Puerto Rico. Hasn't received much attention, but is playing quite well this year, hitting .285/.370/.489 with 20 walks, 49 strikeouts in 186 at-bats. His bat speed looked above average and he showed some feel for the strike zone, or at least in this particular game he avoided the impatience common to young hitters. Average running speed, good throwing arm. I don't know why this guy hasn't gotten more attention: he's young, performing well, and has some tools.
Hector Hernandez, LHP: Another guy from Puerto Rico, age 21, drafted in the 10th round in 2009, listed at 6-1, 202, which seems about right. 4.20 ERA this year with a 36/29 K/BB in 60 innings, 62 hits. His command was a problem in this game, with six walks in 5.2 innings. Fastball was 86-89 MPH. Best pitch was his curveball, which showed very good rotation although he didn't locate it well. He has a chance to be interesting if he can throw strikes more consistently.
Luis Mateo, 2B: Age 22, another guy from Puerto Rico, drafted in the 20th round in 2008. Obviously the Cardinals are making an effort on the island. Listed 6-0, 175, appears a bit shorter than that. Runs very well and shows good defensive actions at second base, though I don't think his arm is good enough for shortstop. Hitting .298/.349/.482 this year and has more pop than you might expect, good bat speed although he's aggressive and somewhat impatient. Has stolen 15 bases in 18 attempts. We need data from higher levels, but he has a chance to surprise.
Danny Miranda, LHP: Pitched 2.1 innings of relief, allowing one hit, zero runs, while fanning three. Listed at 6-0, 225, age 21, drafted in the eighth round in 2011 from the University of Miami. Pitching fairly well this year, 3.34 ERA with 28/9 K/BB in 32 innings, 30 hits, 1.52 GO/AO. Fastball wasn't too fast, just 85-87, but his changeup at 77-78 MPH was very good and he relied on that for his strikeouts. Even when they knew the changeup was coming, the Burlington hitters couldn't do anything with it. He'll continue pitching well in A-ball but we'll have to see how his stuff holds up against more experienced hitters.
Tyler Rahmatulla, 2B: Age 22, right-handed hitter, listed 5-10, 190, drafted in the 34th round in 2011 from UCLA, which looks like a bargain right now. He was DHing in this game so I didn't get a read on his defense, but the bat was impressive: he went 2-for-3 with a triple, then followed that up by going 6-for-6 with two homers on Sunday. Unfortunately I was driving home and didn't see that game. None of his athletic tools stand out, but he hustles and has a technically sound swing with good bat speed and surprising sock for his size. He also plays with intensity and emotion. I like him.
Colin Walsh, OF: Age 22, switch-hitter, listed at 6-0, 190 but appears slightly taller than that. 13th round pick in 2010 from Stanford. Hitting .315/.419/.594 on the season, 14 homers, 39 walks, 33 strikeouts in 219 at-bats. He has been one of the most dangerous hitters in the Midwest League, but is repeating the circuit after hitting .239/.360/.378 last year. I was impressed with him: I thought his bat speed from the left side was very good, and he controlled the strike zone very well. There is no buzz about this guy at all, but I liked his swing and the numbers are quite good this year. Being groomed as a utility player, has spent time at left field, third base, second base, first base, and DH. He was in the outfield in this game but I didn't see enough to judge him on defense.