The Quad Cities River Bandits should be exciting to watch this year, especially with their Opening Day roster including a pair of top-five Houston Astros prospects with major-league pedigrees.
Outfielders Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron — ranked Nos. 4 and 5 among Astros prospects by Baseball America — are expected to excel in the Midwest League. Tucker is the younger brother of Astros outfielder Preston Tucker, and Cameron is the son of former big-leaguer Mike Cameron (who, incidentally, played in the Midwest League in 1992 and 1993).
Baseball America says Tucker “has his brother’s power potential, but he brings with it more bat speed, a better body and more athleticism. … He has excellent bat speed and has present pull power, although opposite-field power will have to wait until he adds strength. … long-term, he’s a corner outfielder who has a chance to be above-average defensively.”
About Cameron, Baseball America says “Daz isn’t the top-of-the-scale defender his father was in center, but he’s a plus defender with good routes, anticipation and above-average speed once underway. He has plus bat speed and solid bat-to-ball skills, but he doesn’t have as much explosiveness in his bat or athletically as scouts once hoped. He projects more as a fringe-average hitter with average power.”
The other ranked prospect on the QC roster is RHP Albert Abreu (No. 12). According to Baseball America, Abreu has a 93-96 mph fastball that can reach 99 mph, an above-average changeup, and an average slider. He posted a 2.51 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 21 walks in 47 IP (13 games/7 starts) in the Appalachian League last year.
A couple other right-handers to watch are Jacob Dorris and Andrew Thome. Both excelled in limited action last season.
You can see the complete River Bandits roster here. It currently consists of 26 players and will be reduced by one by the time the Midwest League season starts on Thursday.
Omar Lopez is managing the River Bandits this year. You can read about him and his coaching staff here.