The Quad Cities area has a long baseball history with professional baseball teams playing there since 1879. The stadium is no exception as games have been played at Modern Woodman park since it was built in 1931 although it has also been previously known as Municipal Stadium and John O’Donnell Stadium. In that long and storied history, many players started and continued their careers playing in the Quad Cities. Over the past 10 years, approximately 415 players have taken the field for the River Bandits and Swing of the Quad Cities. Of the 415, 41 saw action in the Majors. Here’s a quick look at the 25 Quad Cities alumni who are currently still active in MLB. (We’ll look at the other former 16 players in a future post.)
Class of 2014:
George Springer and Anthony Bass: Both rehabbed with the River Bandits for three games during the 2014 season before being called back up to the Astros. Springer is still with the Astros organization while Bass is now part of the Texas Rangers pitching staff.
Class of 2011:
Oscar Taveras: Taveras played in 78 games over the course of the 2011 season. He was promoted to the Springfield Cardinals in 2012 where he was named the MVP of the Texas League All-Star game, played in the MLB Futures game, won the Texas League championship with the Cardinals and was named the Texas League Player Of The Year. In 2013, he was promoted to Memphis before making the St Louis Cardinals major league roster in 2014. After a standout rookie season, he was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on October, 24, 2014. Many teams have continued to honor Taveras in the off-season and so far in 2015 including the River Bandits who played a tribute video in Taveras’ honor before the home opener on April 12th.
Kolten Wong: Wong played in 47 games for the River Bandits in 2011 before spending the 2012 season with the Springfield Cardinals. In 2013 he split time with Memphis and the St Louis Cardinals. He made his MLB debut on August 16, 2013. He has been a mainstay of the Cardinals roster ever since 2014.
Seth Maness: Maness only pitched in two games for Quad Cities because he worked his way up through three levels of baseball in the Cardinals system during 2011. He was part of Springfield’s championship team in 2012 before being promoted to the St Louis Cardinals as one of their relievers.
Carlos Martinez: Martinez pitched in eight games before being promoted. He has steadily worked his way up the minor league system to join the Cardinals in a combined 78 games throughout the 2013-2014 seasons.
Trevor Rosenthal: Rosenthal spent the 2011 season with the River Bandits pitching in 22 games. He quickly worked his way up the minor league ladder to make his MLB debut with the Cardinals on July 18, 2012. (Just 12 days after I interviewed him in Frisco.) He has been a deadly addition to the Cardinals bullpen and has become their go-to closer for the past three seasons.
Kevin Siegrist: Siegrist pitched in nine games in the Quad Cities before steadily moving his way up before being promoted to St Louis on June 6, 2013. He pitched in a combined 20 games for the Cards throughout 2013 and 2014 and looks to add to those numbers for the 2015 season.
Class of 2010:
Matt Adams: Adams played in 121 games for the River Bandits. He made his Major League debut with the Cards on May 20, 2012 and has been their primary first baseman for the past three seasons.
Michael Blazek: The pitcher tossed in 32 games back in 2010 and worked his way up to his MLB debut with the Cards in 2013. He was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in the off-season in a trade for John Axford. He spent the 2014 season with the Nashville Sounds, the then-AAA affiliate of the Brewers, and is spending the 2015 season up with the parent club having already made five appearances for Milwaukee. (As of 4/20/15).
Ryan Jackson: Jackson played in 84 games for the River Bandits before being promoted to Advanced-A Palm Beach. He made his MLB debut on the tail-end of the 2012 season and pitched in seven games with the St Louis Cardinals during 2013 but was released after the season. He was picked up by the Padres and played in their farm system for one year before the Kansas City Royals picked him up and assigned him to the Omaha Stormchasers for 2015.
Joe Kelly: The starting pitcher had 26 appearances with Quad Cities. He made his MLB debut in 2012. The Cards traded Kelly to Boston during the 2014 season in exchange for John Lackey. (Note: Allen Craig was also sent over in the Kelly trade). Kelly is one of the starting pitchers in Boston’s rotation.
Shelby Miller: Miller spent part of the 2009 and 2010 campaigns with the River Bandits pitching in two games and 24 games respectively. He debuted with the Cardinals in 2012. During this past off-season Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins were sent to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. As of 4/20/15, Miller has a 2-0 record in three appearances on the season.
Class of 2009:
Matt Carpenter: Carpenter played in 29 games before being promoted to Palm Beach. He worked his way up the system and the Cardinals held onto him since his MLB debut in 2011. Carpenter only missed two games for St Louis last season and looks to be a solid force again in 2015.
Jon Edwards: Edwards pitched for Quad Cities in 2008 and 2009 as he has navigated the minor league systems of both the Cardinals and the Texas Rangers to finally make his MLB debut in 2014. Edwards will be part of the Rangers bullpen in 2015.
David Carpenter: Carpenter played in 52 games for the River Bandits in 2009. But he didn’t stay in the Cardinals system long. After spending six games in Palm Beach, he was traded to the Houston Astros for Pedro Feliz. He spent a few years in the Astros system before a 2012 trade sent him over to the Blue Jays system with J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon. He played in 16 games for the Las Vegas 51s, the Blue Jays AAA affiliate, before Toronto sent him to Boston. However, Boston waived him before Atlanta picked him up for two seasons. Coming into 2015, Carpenter was traded to the Yankees in exchange for Manny Banuelos.
Class of 2008:
Pete Kozma: Kozma played in 99 games during the 2008 season and has worked him way up the ladder to debut with the Cards in 2011. Since then he has gone back and forth between St Louis and Memphis, spending the majority of the 2014 with the latter.
Lance Lynn: Lynn played for two games with the River Bandits in 2008. He shot up the ladder to Memphis for 2009 and 2010 before his MLB debut in 2011. He has since been part of the St Louis pitching staff with over 30 appearances in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Class of 2007:
Donovan Solano: Solano spent 82 games with Quad Cities in 2007. He made it as far as Triple-A Memphis before being cut at the end of the 2011 season. The Miami Marlins invited him to be a spring training non-roster invitee and made it onto the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs where he stayed until he was called up on May 21, 2012. He has been a utility infielder for the Marlins since then.
Tony Cruz: Cruz played for four teams during the 2007 season before spending the last 49 games of the year with the River Bandits, also known as Swing of the Quad Cities. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2011 and has been used as a utility man at third base and catcher for the past four seasons.
Class of 2006:
Jaime Garcia: After playing 13 games with the River Bandits, Garcia ascended the minor league ladder quickly making his big league debut in 2008. He has been a vital part of the St Louis Cardinals roster ever since. He had surgery on his left shoulder midway through the 2014 season due to thoracic outlet syndrome and is still focusing on rehabbing and recovering from that surgery.
Jon Jay: Jay played in 60 games during his first professional baseball season. He continued on through the minor league system to join the Cardinals on April 26, 2010. He has been a big part of their lineup ever since.
Colby Rasmus: Rasmus spent 78 games in Davenport during the 2006 season. He made his MLB debut with the Cardinals in 2009. In 2011, he was traded to Toronto in a seven-player trade that also included River Bandits alum Brian Tallet. Rasmus’ contract was up after the 2014 season and the Blue Jays chose not to re-sign him. However, the Houston Astros picked him up for the 2015 season signing him to a one-year, $8 million contract.
Shane Robinson: Robinson played in 63 games during the 2006 season. The right fielder had major league time with the Cardinals in 2009 and from 2011-2014. St Louis gave him his release after the season concluded and he was picked up by the Minnesota Twins for the 2015 season.
Jason Motte: Mott had eight games in the Quad Cities and made his MLB debut in 2008 with the Cardinals. He was with the organization until the end of the 2014 season. In 2015, he signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Adam Ottavino: Ottavino also had eight appearances with the River Bandits. He debuted with the Cardinals in 2010. In 2012, he was claimed off of waivers by the Colorado Rockies and has been a relief pitcher for them for the past three seasons.
Next time we’ll take a look at River Bandits In The Majors: Past…..