Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Meet the 2017 Quad Cities River Bandits

2017 marks the fifth season of the Quad Cities River Bandits' second stint as a minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros.

The Quad Cities River Bandits play at Modern Woodmen Park, located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa. Davenport is the largest of the four cities that make up the Quad Cities region, which spans Iowa and Illinois. The other three cities that make up the Quad Cities are Bettendorf (Iowa), Moline, and Rock Island (both in Illinois).

One of the iconic features of Modern Woodmen Park is its Ferris wheel. The ballpark also provides a stunning view of the Centennial Bridge, which connects Rock Island and Davenport.

The Banditos play in the Midwest League's Western division, which they share with Beloit (A's), Burlington (Angels), Cedar Rapids (Twins), Clinton (Mariners), Kane County (D-Backs), Peoria (Cardinals), and Wisconsin (Brewers).

Russ Steinhorn will be at the helm of the River Bandits. He's back in America after his journey overseas to serve as the manager of the Astros' DSL Blue team in 2016. Ben Rosenthal will serve as the hitting coach, and Drew French is the pitching coach.

2016 first-rounder Forrest Whitley will headline an intriguing pitching staff that also features fireballer Jorge Alcala and a rising arm in Hector Perez.

Derick Velazquez, a seventh-round pick in 2014, has resurfaced after missing two years due to multiple arm surgeries. Tyler Britton and Ryan Hartman are two 2016 draftees who had solid professional debuts and are looking to build on that momentum.

Daz Cameron will return for a second shot at the Midwest League. He'll be joined in the outfield by 2016 second-round pick Ronnie Dawson and Stephen Wrenn, who took the New York-Penn League by storm before cooling off a little after getting promoted to Quad Cities. There will be some power in this lineup; Taylor Jones swatted eight home runs with Tri-City, and Spencer Johnson clubbed ten across three levels after leading Division I with 24 home runs at Missouri State. Wrenn and Dawson are power threats themselves. Anibal Sierra makes his way stateside after spending his debut season in the Dominican Summer League.

Quad Cities opens at home against Wisconsin on Thursday at 6:35.


Team - @QCRiverBandits
Russ Steinhorn, manager - @Russ_Steinhorn
Craig Wieczorkiewicz, Midwest League Traveler - @MWLTraveler
Rich Guill, team photographer - @QCBanditPhotog
Steve Batterson, sportswriter for the Quad-City Times - @sbatt79
Jake Levy, play-by-play announcer - @JakeLevyVoice

So... without further ado, here are your 2017 Quad Cities River Bandits!

Italics - player bats/throws left-handed
Asterisk - player is a switch hitter

Oldest player on roster: Spencer Johnson (born November 1, 1993)
Youngest player on roster: Forrest Whitley (born September 15, 1997)

The youngest guy on the roster is also the largest guy on the roster. Whitley is 6'7", 240, which just beats out Taylor Jones, who is also 6'7", but weighs 225.

Randy César, who was signed in 2011, is the longest-tenured player on the team.


Manager: Russ Steinhorn
Hitting Coach: Ben Rosenthal
Pitching Coach: Drew French
Development Coach: Jason Bell
Athletic Trainer: Elliot Diehl
Strength & Conditioning: Hazael Wessin


Forrest Whitley - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Brett Adcock - 4th round, 2016 draft (Michigan); played at Tri-City in 2016
Jorge Alcala - International free agent, 2014 (Dominican Republic); GCL/Greeneville/Tri-City
Tyler Britton - 21st round, 2016 draft (High Point); Greeneville/Tri-City/Quad Cities
Ryan Hartman - 9th round, 2016 draft (Tennessee Wesleyan); Tri-City
Dustin Hunt - 10th round, 2016 draft (Northeastern); Tri-City
Carson LaRue - 14th round, 2016 draft (Cowley Community College); GCL/Greeneville
Hector Perez - International free agent, 2014 (Dominican Republic); Tri-City/Quad Cities
Erasmo Pinales - International free agent, 2012 (Dominican Republic); Tri-City
Abdiel Saldaña - International free agent, 2013 (Panama); Greeneville/Tri-City/Quad Cities
Edgardo Sandoval - International free agent, 2014 (Panama); Tri-City, with cameos in Lancaster and Corpus Christi
Carlos Sierra - International free agent, 2016 (left Cuba legally, pitched in Spain after leaving); Tri-City/Quad Cities
Derick Velazquez - 7th round, 2014 draft (Fresno State); last played in 2014 with Tri-City
Forrest Whitley - 1st round, 2016 draft (Alamo Heights HS, San Antonio); GCL/Greeneville


Chuckie Robinson - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Ray Henderson-Lozano - 22nd round, 2016 draft (Grayson College); Greeneville
Jake Rogers - 3rd round, 2016 draft (Tulane); Tri-City/Quad Cities
Chuckie Robinson - 21st round, 2016 draft (Southern Miss); Tri-City


Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Rodrigo Ayarza - Minor league free agent, 2014; Tri-City with a cameo in Corpus Christi
Randy César - International free agent, 2011; Tri-City/Quad Cities
Alex De Goti - 15th round, 2016 draft (Barry); Tri-City
Taylor Jones - 19th round, 2016 draft (Gonzaga); Tri-City
Spencer Johnson - 16th round, 2016 draft (Missouri State); Greeneville/Tri-City/Quad Cities
Anibal Sierra - International free agent, 2016 (defected from Cuba); DSL Blue

Why is Jonathan Arauz not here? Well....

Carmen Benedetti - 12th round, 2016 draft (Michigan); Tri-City
Daz Cameron - Competitive balance round A, 2015 draft (Eagle's Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, Georgia); Quad Cities/Tri-City
Ronnie Dawson - 2nd round, 2016 draft (Ohio State); Tri-City
Stephen Wrenn - 6th round, 2016 draft (Georgia); Tri-City/Quad Cities

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