More roster moves this week are once again changing the make-up of the Quad-Cities River Bandits, something that manager Omar Lopez gets accustomed to as the Midwest League season continues.
“I feel in some respects like we are working with our third different team this year at this point,’’ Lopez said. “We have a few players who have been around all season, but moves do impact what a team looks like and how it competes.’’
Lopez feels like a series of moves with about a month left in the first half left him with a different team as the half ended, and he believes the latest moves have changed things again.
“We were an older team at the start of the season, but now with different players we are a younger team,’’ Lopez said. “As a coaches, we deal differently with groups based on the body language and attitude you see from one day to the next. This team is different than the one we worked with in April.’’
That leads to different approaches in how staff works with players, extending from on-field work to off-field meetings.
“Right now, I feel like we are starting over, pushing the refresh button,’’ Lopez said. “We will see where that leads us.’’
With Tyler White’s promotion Tuesday, Quad-Cities has had 14 players promoted to higher levels in the Astros organization, five more than during the River Bandits’ entire 2013 Midwest League championship season.
RECORD RUN: Andrew Velasquez of South Bend established a new minor-league record for reaching base when he reached safely for the 72nd straight game with a hit during a game Sunday against Fort Wayne.
The Silver Hawks’ 19-year-old shortstop had tied the previous record of 71 set by future major-leaguer Kevin Millar in 1978 and matched by Kevin Youkilis in 2003 with a hit in his final at-bat one night earlier.
“I’m enjoying this streak and the little buzz going on around it,’’ Velasquez told MiLB.com. “…I’ve seen the ball pretty well, taking a lot of good pitches, just having good at-bats.’’
Velasquez now has his eyes on the professional baseball record of 84, which was set by Ted Williams in 1949.
His streak started in a game against Dayton following an 0-for-4 effort during a game at Quad-Cities on April 19.
POWER SURGE: Conrad Gregor became a social-media sensation earlier this season when his father caught a home run ball hit by the River Bandits first baseman during a Memorial Day weekend game at Modern Woodmen Park.
Gregor was promoted by Houston to high-A Lancaster the following week and has continued to put his power on display, named the California League player of the week Monday.
He homered three straight games for the JetHawks last week, driving in nine runs while going 8-for-25. Gregor is hitting .368 through 46 games with Lancaster and has hit nine homers since joining the team.
In the Midwest League, Kane County’s Jeimer Candelario was named the player of the week and South Bend’s Blayne Weller was named pitcher of the week after striking out 12 and throwing a no-hitter against Dayton.
MONTHLY HONORS: Peoria pitcher Rob Kaminsky, the first-round choice of the Cardinals in the 2013 draft, and former Clinton infielder D.J. Peterson were among players of the month for June chosen by Minor League Baseball.
Kaminsky took Midwest League honors, going 4-0 with an 0.89 ERA for the month. He struck out 28 batters and walked three in 30.1 innings.
Peterson was honored for his work in the California League where he drove home 33 runs and had an .838 slugging percentage in June for High Desert.
IN THE LEAGUE: Padres first-round draft pick Trea Turner made his Midwest League debut Sunday for Fort Wayne with a 1-for-5 game for the TinCaps.
The 13th pick overall in the June draft from North Carolina State won the Brooks Walker Award this season as the top shortstop in collegiate baseball.
ROAD WOES: Now managing the Cardinals’ short-season team Johnson City, former River Bandits manager Johnny Rodriguez found himself in a bit of predicament Friday night.
After losing an Appalachian League road game against Astros-affiliated Greeneville, Rodriguez returned to the team bus to find that a driver irritated with a long postgame wait had walked away, taking the keys with him and leaving the team stranded 30 miles away from home.
Player Chris Rivera revealed the situation to the world on Twitter, writing, “Bus driver just left with the keys and said we can find our own way home.’’
About an hour later, the bus company sent a replacement vehicle to rescue the team and at a series of home game this week, any and all bus drivers who present a commercial driver’s license at the gate are being admitted free.
TODAY: vs. Fort Wayne, 7 p.m. (Modern Woodmen half-price night and hat giveaway, Thirst-Day Thursday beverage discounts)
FRIDAY: vs. Fort Wayne, 7 p.m. (Agriculture Night, River Bandits pint glass giveaway presented by the Illinois Farm Bureau, postgame fireworks)
SATURDAY: vs. Lake County, 6 p.m. (Rascal holiday gnome giveaway presented by the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, Christmas in July)
SUNDAY: vs. Lake County, 5 p.m. (Mega candy drop, Hy-Vee tote bag giveaway, Family Day, pregame autographs)
MONDAY: vs. Lake County, 1 p.m. (Camp Day and Senior Day)
WEDNESDAY: at Dayton, 6 p.m.
TODAY: at Great Lakes, 6 p.m.
FRIDAY: at Great Lakes, 6 p.m.
SATURDAY: at Lansing, 6 p.m.
SUNDAY: at Lansing, 1 p.m.
MONDAY: at Lansing, 11 a.m.
WEDNESDAY: vs. West Michigan, 6:30 p.m. (McDonald’s/Mediacom LumberKings baseball card strip giveaway No. 5)
BY THE NUMBERS
10: Blayne Weller threw the 10th no-hitter in minor-league baseball this season and the sixth in South Bend history last week in a 7-1 win over Dayton
108: Midwest League-leading strikeout total of West Michigan’s Buck Farmer. The fifth-round pick of the Tigers in 2013 from Georgia Tech and the Whitecaps visit Clinton next week.
COMING TO THE Q-C
DUSTIN PETERSON: Ranking second in the Midwest League with 66 RBIs this season, the Fort Wayne infielder is batting .268 on the year but his average rises to .283 with runners on base. Peterson was a second-round draft pick of the Padres in 2013.
NELLIE RODRIGUEZ: The Lake County first baseman is second is second on the Midwest League home run charts with 16 this season. A .258 hitter for the Captains, Rodriguez was a 15th-round draft pick of the Indians in 2012.
Minnesota closer Glen Perkins earned the save in Tuesday’s all-star game in his home state, the second straight year Perkins has been selected as an American League all-star.
Currently 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA and 22 saves for the Twins, Perkins pitched for Quad-Cities in 2004. He made nine starts that season, going 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA. Perkins struck out 49 batters and walked 12 in 48.1 innings of work shortly after being drafted out of the University of Minnesota.