Third baseman Rio Ruiz is the Quad Cities River Bandits Player of the Month for August, and left-handed pitcher Brian Holmes is the team's Pitcher of the Month, the Houston Astros announced on Monday.
The Houston Astros Player Development Department named a Pitcher and Player of the Month at each of their eight minor league affiliates. These awards are chosen every month by the field staff of each team. Ruiz has won back-to-back Player of the Month awards, joining shortstop Carlos Correa as the only River Bandits with multiple monthly honors.
Ruiz, the Astros' fourth-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, improved his batting average each month of the season and had his best month in August. He hit .298 with 31 hits and 19 RBIs in 28 games. His five home runs and .558 slugging percentage were both the highest on the team. The 19-year-old Covina, Calif., native had the team's first walk-off home run of the season Aug. 18 against Burlington to start a stretch of 13 wins in the season's final 16 games. He added his first career grand slam and was a triple shy of the cycle Aug. 27 in Burlington. In a seven-game road trip Aug. 24-30, Ruiz went 13-for-28 (.464) with two home runs and 12 RBIs. In the season's second half, Ruiz hit .297 with nine home runs, 34 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs. Ruiz finished tied for the team lead with 33 doubles and was second with 12 home runs and 63 RBIs.
Holmes, the Astros' 10th-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Wake Forest University, returned from a two-month stint on the Quad Cities Disabled List to make his second-half debut Aug. 4 in Cedar Rapids. In four August starts, the Lawrenceville, Ga., native pitched at least 5 1/3 innings while allowing no more than one run in each outing. The 22-year-old had a 2-0 record, 21 strikeouts and just three runs allowed - two earned - in 23 1/3 innings for a 0.77 ERA - best among Quad Cities pitchers with at least 20 innings. Holmes finished the season 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 15 appearances, including 10 starts.
Below is a list of the Players and Pitchers of the Month this season for Quad Cities:
The River Bandits June Pitcher of the Month, Colton Cain, was named the August Pitcher of the Month for advanced Class-A Lancaster, to which he was transferred Aug. 2. Cain went 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA in five August starts for the JetHawks in the California League. This season, the Astros became the first organization since Pittsburgh in 2003 to have six minor league teams make the playoffs. The minor league affiliates' combined regular-season record of 476-360 for a .569 winning percentage ranked second among all organizations.
UP NEXT: Follow the River Bandits' playoff run at www.riverbandits.com by listening to the live broadcast presented by Mediacom. You can also listen to every game using the TuneIn Radio app on your smartphone. Tickets are on sale at the River Bandits box office at Modern Woodmen Park, by phone at 563-324-3000 and online at www.riverbandits.com. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $50. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: The River Bandits ownership is making one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 112 feet over the playing field, is planned for next spring, along with a carousel and other new games and attractions. This season, the team just unveiled a new 300-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. The team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, just saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The playoffs will likely be the last chance for Quad Cities fans to see 2012 No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa and many other future stars in a River Bandits uniform.