Astros Class-A Report: Quad Cities River Bandits (June 27-July 4)
After another winning week, the Quad Cities River Bandits boast the best record in the Midwest League, and among the best in all of professional baseball. The bad news for them is top hitter, All-Star catcher Jacob Nottingham, has moved up another rung on the Houston Astros minor league ladder.
The River Bandits won five in a row from June 26 through the first game of the double-header on June 30, dropped the next two, and finished the week by winning three straight over Peoria. The first half champions are second in the Western Division early in the second half chase, and went 7-2 this week, for a Midwest League best 52-26 overall record.
Nottingham (.326 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI in 59 games) moved up on June 29 to the High-A Lancaster JetHawks. A few days after he got two hits for the Western Division All-Stars, Nottingham got the call to head out to Lancaster, California. River Bandits’ fans will be sorry to see him go, as he has been one of the key pieces in the first place Quad Cities lineup.
The best game of the week was probably the July 3, 9-1 win over the Peoria Chiefs. The biggest crowd at Modern Woodmen Park in six years saw the Bandits score nine runs on 12 hits (11 singles). All-Star catcher Jamie Ritchie and new shortstop Alex Bregman each had three hits and scored three runs, with Ritchie getting the only extra base hit (a double) for the Bandits. Outfielders Jason Martin and Ramon Laureano had two hits apiece in the onslaught. Bandits hitters walked eight times, with no strikeouts; according to Marco LaNave’s game recap, the first time in eight years a Quad Cities team accomplished the feat.
Three Bandits pitchers allowed one run on nine scattered hits. Winning pitcher Frances Martes threw six innings, giving up four hits, no runs, two walks, and he struck out 10. Martes lowered his ERA to 0.88 in a fine outing. New pitcher Riley Ferrell pitched two innings, giving up two hits and striking out one, and Ryan Thompson gave up three hits and the only Chiefs run in the ninth.
Outfielder Ramon Laureano took over the team lead in batting average among active River Bandits (.306), although he has only played 25 games. He’s two points ahead of infielder Nick Tanielu at .304. Jamie Ritchie leads in runs (44), Tanielu in hits (77), Jason Martin in home runs (5), and Ryan Bottger in RBI (35). Bobby Boyd leads in steals (16), Ritchie in OBP (.434), Laureano in slugging percentage (.531) and OPS (.861).
Ritchie is the Midwest League leader in walks with 66, and OBP (.434). As a team, Quad Cities leads the Midwest League in walks (340), OBP (.354), and OPS (.747).
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Brock Dykxhoorn leads active Bandits pitchers with five wins; Martes 0.88 ERA and 0.88 WHIP tops Bandits pitchers with more than 20 innings pitched. Dykxhoorn is the strikeout leader with 63.
River Bandits’ pitchers lead the league in wins (52), ERA (2.69), fewest earned runs (210), and lowest WHIP (1.14).
Next week, the River Bandits play one more in Peoria, a four game home and home series with the Clinton LumberKings, followed by a four game home stand with the Burlington Bees.
- 1B Trent Woodward was assigned on June 28 to Quad Cities from Tri-City (Class-A short season NY-Penn. League). Woodward was hitting .222 with one home run and four RBI in seven games with the Valley Cats.
- Top Astros draft pick Alex Bregman hit his first professional home run on June 28 in the win/loss over/against Cedar Rapids.
- RHP Riley Ferrell, recently signed draftee, was assigned to Quad Cities.
- RHP Aaron Greenwood was promoted on June 29 from Quad Cities to Lancaster. Greenwood was 0-0 with an 0.63 ERA, an 0.98 WHIP in nine games and 14.1 innings.
- Bregman’s first four professional games saw him go 1 for 5 each time. He ended the week going 3-5 on July 3 and again on July 4 against Peoria, batting .310.
- OF Jason Martin was named Bandits’ June Player of the Month. Martin hit .294 with three home runs, 10 RBI and an OBP of .384
- RHP Joshua James was named Pitcher of the Month. James went 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA in four games.
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