The Houston Astros acquired pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, parting with four former Quad Cities River Bandits to get the right-handed hurler.
The Pirates received three players with major-league experience — third baseman Colin Moran, RHP Joe Musgrove and RHP Michael Feliz — and prospect Jason Martin, an outfielder who finished the 2017 season in Double-A.
Moran is the most recent player to suit up for the River Bandits. He didn’t play in the Midwest League when he was assigned to Class A in 2013 because he was a Miami Marlins prospect at that time. (The Marlins haven’t had a MWL team since they were affiliated with the Kane County Cougars from 1993 to 2002.) However, after suffering a facial fracture from a foul ball off his own bat last July, he rehabbed with the River Bandits for three games at the end of the regular MWL season and throughout the 2017 MWL playoffs. (The River Bandits won the MWL title, so Moran presumably is getting a MWL championship ring, too.) Overall he played in 82 regular-season games last year, mostly in Triple-A; he batted .301 with 18 HR and 65 RBI.
(Fun fact about Moran: He is the nephew of former major-leaguers B.J. and Rich Surhoff. B.J. Surhoff, who played 19 seasons in the big leagues, started his pro career in the Midwest League. He batted .332 with 7 HR and 58 RBI in 76 games with the 1985 Beloit Brewers.)
Musgrove appeared in five games (three starts) for the 2015 River Bandits. He went 4-1 with a 0.70 ERA, 23 strikeouts and one walk in 25.2 innings. He went 7-8 with a 4.77 ERA, two saves, 98 strikeouts and 28 walks in 109.1 innings (38 games/15 starts) for the Astros last year.
Feliz spent the 2014 season in the Midwest League, going 8-6 with a 4.03 ERA, 111 strikeouts and 37 walks in 102.2 innings (25 games/19 starts) for the River Bandits. He also made a one-inning rehab start for Quad Cities last year, striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 frame. He went 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA, 70 strikeouts and 22 walks in 48 innings (46 games) for the Astros last year.
Martin played with the River Bandits in 2015, batting .270 with 8 HR, 57 RBI and 14 SB in 105 games. He split the 2017 season between High-A and Double-A, cumulatively batting .278 with 18 HR, 66 RBI and 16 SB in 125 games.
Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA, 196 strikeouts and 55 walks in 203 innings/33 starts for the Pirates last year. The five-year MLB veteran had his best season in 2015, when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA, 202 strikeouts and 44 walks in 208 innings/32 starts for Pittsburgh. He was an All-Star and finished fourth in voting for the National League Cy Young Award that year.