The current season is the sixth for the River Bandits as the Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.
Both organizations are coming off of championships in 2017, the Astros having won the World Series and the Bandits securing the Midwest League title. The current affiliation is the second distinct player development contract between Houston and the Quad Cities, the first coming in a six-year stretch from 1993 to 1998. Including 2018, the River Bandits have been affiliated with the Astros for 12 seasons. Seven of those seasons have resulted in playoff appearances and two have ended with Midwest League championships.
“The Midwest League Champion River Bandits are pleased to extend our Player Development Contract with the World Champion Houston Astros for another two years,” said Bandits’ owner Dave Heller. “We are two championship organizations, each playing in a championship community, each currently driving for another title, and we are a great fit together.”
The River Bandits have seen Major League stars and current Astros such as Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Alex Bregman hone their craft in the Quad Cities. Correa, a former first-overall draft choice, led the 2013 River Bandits to the sixth Midwest League Championship in club history. The 2018 River Bandits have had both the 2017 and 2018 first round draft picks of the Astros, J.B. Bukauskas and Seth Beer,on their roster this season.
Before the extension that was announced on Sunday, the Astros were already the second-longest tenured Midwest League affiliate in Quad Cities history. Only the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a longer history, partnering with Quad Cities for 25 total seasons over two separate stints between 1962 and 1992. Four former River Bandits have made their Major League debuts with the Astros this season. Those players are pitchers Cionel Perez, Framber Valdez and Josh James in addition to outfielder Kyle Tucker.
You can read more about the current state of affiliations on our Affiliate Dance page. We expect a number of player development contracts to be renewed in the coming week, but there are always intriguing openings at every level of baseball. As you can see on the Affiliate Dance page, MLB and MiLB teams can renew their existing affiliations at any point through this coming weekend. After that, teams can file to search new affiliation options, so there’s always a shuffle of sorts at the end of the year.