The Player of the Month in the St. Louis Cardinals system for May, Quad Cities River Bandits utility man Colin Walsh, picked up another honor on Monday. The 22-year-old will lead three other River Bandits into the Midwest League All-Star Game on July 19. They are catcher Juan Castillo, infielder Luis Mateo and right-handed relief pitcher Heath Wyatt.
Walsh will be the starting designated hitter while Castillo, Mateo and Wyatt will be reserves for the Western Division team. The 2012 Midwest League All-Star Game will be hosted by the Kane County Cougars in Geneva, Ill.
Walsh was the 13th-round pick by Cardinals from Stanford University in 2010. He leads the Midwest League with 119 total bases, 36 bases on balls, a .626 slugging percentage and a .438 on-base percentage. The switch-hitter is tied for lead in home runs (13) and RBIs (44). He is second in the league in batting average (.326) and runs scored (39) and is tied for second in extra-base hits (28).
Walsh, who played for the River Bandits for 28 games in 2010 and 69 games in 2011, already has career highs in hits (62), runs, home runs, extra-base hits and RBIs. His batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are the highest of his career. He had a team-high nine-game hitting streak May 11-20.
Castillo, 22, is a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and signed with the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in July 2006. He was a New York-Penn League midseason All-Star for the short-season Batavia Muckdogs in 2011.
Currently, the catcher is 13th in the Midwest League with a .304 batting average, with a career-high five home runs and 26 RBIs. Castillo had his first career two-homer game as part of a 4-for-4 night at Cedar Rapids April 13, and he homered in consecutive games May 10-11 at Wisconsin.
The right-handed hitter played in 13 games for Quad Cities in 2011, and he has played 41 games for the River Bandits this season.
Mateo, 22, is a native of Orocovis, Puerto Rico, and was drafted by the Cardinals in the 20th round in 2008. In his third career stint with Quad Cities, Mateo is hitting .298 with a team-high 13 stolen bases through 46 games. The second baseman already has a career-high seven home runs – good for second on the River Bandits team – and is third in the league with 38 runs scored.
Mateo scored a run in eight straight games May 17-26, a streak that is tied for the team season high. On May 20, he went 3-for-4 and tied a career high with five RBIs in his first-ever multi-homer game. The right-handed hitter played for Class-A Advanced Palm Beach the first three months of the 2011 season. Mateo previously participated in 99 games with the River Bandits in 2010, when he led the team with 10 stolen bases and was second in hits, doubles and triples.
Wyatt, 23, was the Cardinals’ 33rd round pick from Southeastern Oklahoma State in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He is 2-2 with a 1.38 ERA and leads the River Bandits with seven saves in 10 opportunities. The right-hander is second in the league with 22 appearances and 20 games finished. Wyatt did not allow a run in his first six appearances April 6-17, a span of 7 1/3 innings, and has held opponents to a .196 batting average.
Last season for rookie-level Johnson City, Wyatt had a team-high 23 appearances and was third in the Appalachian League with eight saves. At Southeastern Oklahoma State, he was a two-time Division II first-team All-American. Wyatt tied the program record and the Division II lead with 16 saves as a senior in 2011. He is the only one of the four All-Stars who is a first-year River Bandit.
The River Bandits had six Western Division All-Stars in 2011, when the team hosted the All-Star Game at Modern Woodmen Park. They were pitchers Anthony Ferrara, Trevor Rosenthal and Justin Wright, infielders Starlin Rodriguez and Greg Garcia plus catcher Cody Stanley.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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