TONIGHT: The Hops seek their third win in four games at home against Tri-City. RHP Tyler Mark looks to rebound from recent struggles.
TONIGHT’S GAMEDAY INFORMATION, including bio information on all Hops players can be found here: http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130614&content_id=50672896&sid=t419&vkey=stats
YESTERDAY: Cody Reed, Ariel Hernandez, newcomer Justin Donatella and Taylor Clarke combined on a two-hit shutout in the Hops’ 3-0 victory at Ron Tonkin Field over Tri-City. Trevor Mitsui homered for the seventh time in his last 10 games, a three-run first-inning shot to right off Adrian DeHorta, which accounted for all three runs in the game.
TONIGHT’S RADIO PREGAME SHOW BEGINS AT 6:35 ON RIP CITY RADIO 620AM AND http://www.RipCityRadio.com.
LOW-HITTERS: Yesterday’s game was the ninth time in the franchise’s 221 games — and the fourth time in 65 games in 2015 — that the Hops have held an opponent to two hits or fewer, including the no-hitter by Kyle Schepel (“SKAY-pul”) in Boise on 8/31/13. Hillsboro has had a two-hitter or better against every NWL club except Spokane. The full list:
Date H/R Opp. #H W/L Score
6/22/13 A Everett 2 L 3-1 (7 inn.)
8/21/13 A Eugene 2 W 2-1
8/31/13 A Boise 0 W 5-0
8/13/14 H Boise 1 W 2-1 (10 inn.)
8/30/14 H Eugene 2 W 1-0
6/28/15 A Vanc. 2 L 6-2
7/26/15 H S-K 2 W 4-3
8/13/15 H Vanc. 2 W 1-0
8/25/15 H Tri-City 2 W 3-0
JACKS OR BETTER: The Hops’ first home run this season was a 3-run shot by Fernery Ozuna on 6/19 at Spokane. They didn’t hit another home run with more than one runner on base for exactly two months. Since then, Trevor Mitsui (8/19 at Salem-Keizer), Dansby Swanson (8/20 home vs. Boise) and Mitsui again (8/25 home vs. Tri-City) have hit three-run home runs. The only grand slam in franchise history came 8/11/14 at S-K off the bat of Zach Esquerra.
GOING LONG: Trevor Mitsui has homered 7 times in his last 10 games, after hitting 3 in his first 48 games. He homered in 5 straight games 8/15-8/19 (6 HR total).
THE FIRST SINCE WHO? Hops SS Dansby Swanson is the first top-overall pick in the draft to begin his career in the NWL in 27 years. The last? Ken Griffey Jr. with Bellingham in 1987 (54g, .313 with 14 HR as a 17-year-old). Matt Bush of the Padres played 8 games for Eugene in 2004, but he didn’t start his career there.
TONIGHT: Hillsboro faces Tri-City in the 2nd game of the 5-game series, and 5th game of the 8-game homestand.
TONIGHT’S GAMEDAY INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130614&content_id=50672896&sid=t419&vkey=stats
LAST NIGHT: RHP Troy Marks stepped in for a spot start and took a perfect game into the top of the 6th, broken up on an infield hit by Mason Smith. He allowed 3 hits and a run in the 6th, and Hillsboro trailed 1-0 until Grant Heyman’s two-run single in the bottom of the 8th gave the Hops a 2-1 lead. Brody Greer worked a 1-2-3 top of the 9th to seal the win. It snapped Hillsboro’s 4-game losing streak, their longest losing streak in 25 months. Marks’ outing reversed a trend for Hops’ starters: in the previous 5 games, the usually staunch Hops’ starters’ ERA was 10.35. Hillsboro is back in a first-place tie in the 2nd half with Eugene.
TONIGHT’S RADIO PREGAME SHOW BEGINS AT 6:35 ON RIP CITY RADIO 620AM AND http://www.RipCityRadio.com.
PUMPIN’ STRIKES: Tri-City entered last night’s game leading the league in walks drawn with 295, 75 more than the next-closest club. Hillsboro pitching issued no walks last night.
MIT-SEEYA: Hillsboro first baseman Trevor Mitsui homered just three times in the team’s first 48 games. He hit 6 home runs in the team’s 5 games from 8/15-8/19, with homers in each of them. It is the longest such streak in Hops history, and with 9 on the season, Mitsui has set a new Hops single-season record for home runs.
VS. TRI-CITY: Hillsboro is 13-13 all-time against T-C, 7-4 at Ron Tonkin Field. But Tri-City is now a Padres affiliate. Against the previous Padres affiliate, Eugene, Hillsboro went 16-8 in 2013-14. However, even that might not be a fair statistic. With new Pads GM A.J. Preller and new director of player development Sam Geaney, San Diego appears to be placing a higher premium on winning at this level.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES: The Hops are 19-6 in one-run games in 2015. They were 18-10 in 2014, 13-14 in 2013 (50-30 all-time).
TONIGHT: The Hops look to match their season-best winning streak as they seek their fourth straight win, and gun for a 3-game sweep of Boise. RHP Brett Shankin, a former Mariners’ farmhand, makes his D-backs organizational debut. He had his contract purchased from the independent Frontier Greys (Frontier League) five days ago. Detailed info on Shankin can be found in today’s Gameday Information. Shankin takes Jared Miller’s spot in the rotation (see below).
LAST NIGHT: Josh Anderson pounded a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, and Brody Greer pitched around a walk and a hit in the 9th to earn his first save. Anderson’s home run came too late for Hops starter Tyler Bolton, who allowed just two unearned runs in 7 inn, but again was denied his first win. (Through 10 starts, he’s 0-2, 3.86, and the Hops have won 5 of his 10 starts.)
TODAY’S RADIO PREGAME SHOW IS AT 4:35 ON 620AM and http://www.RipCityRadio.com.
THE BIG THREE BREAKS UP: LHP Jared Miller has (at last) been transferred up the ladder. He’s heading to Kane County of the Midwest League. Miller, LHP Cody Reed and RHP Carlos Hernandez were 1-2-3 (in various orders) in most pitching categories in the NWL in the season’s first half (and in many categories they are still 1-2-3). Miller leaves as the NWL leader in wins (7) & innings pitched (59.2), and is second to Hernandez in ERA (1.81), K’s (57) and WHIP (0.91).
HOME, SWEEP HOME? In spite of the Hops’ success over the past two calendar years — since 7/18/13 they’re far and away the best team in the NWL — they haven’t swept many series. The full list of Hops regular season sweeps (all 3-game series): at Eugene and at Boise (late in 2013); at Eug. and home vs. Eug (late in 2014); and in the first home series this year over Salem-Keizer. Tonight the Hops go for their sixth-ever sweep, and third at home.
CHICKS MIGHT DIG THE LONGBALL… but it ain’t necessary for a winning club. From July 3-13, the Hops hit 12 home runs in 11 games. In the 21 games since, Hillsboro has hit just six home runs, five of them solos. … Of the Hops’ 22 HR 14 are solos and 7 are 2-run HR. Hillsboro’s only home run with more than one man on base was their first home run of the year, a 3-run shot in Spokane by Fernery Ozuna in the second game of the season on 6/19 — the Hops’ only 3 runs in a 10-3 loss.
NUMBER NINE: When newcomer B.J. Lopez took his place behind the plate last night, he became just the 9th catcher in the three-year history of the Hops. The up-to-date list of games caught since 2013: Elvin Soto 75, Yosbel Gutierrez 31, Jose Queliz 20, Tyler Baker 19, Alexis Olmeda 19, Nate Irving 18, Stryker Trahan 15, Grant Nelson 10, B.J. Lopez 1.Three of the nine — Soto, Irving and Lopez — are from New York City.
ON THE AIR: Hops games can be heard live on Rip City Radio 620 AM in Portland, and online at http://www.ripcityradio.com. Mobile listeners should use the iHeartRadio app. Today’s pregame show is at 4:35 PM.
TONIGHT: The Hops resume play following the All-Star break, opening a 3-game series at home against the Colorado Rockies’ Northwest League affiliate, the Boise Hawks. LHP Alex Young, Arizona’s 2nd-round draft choice out of TCU, makes his Hops debut and second-ever professional appearance. Detailed info on Young can be found in in the 8/6 game notes.
STARS ALIGNED: Two Hillsboro Hops appeared in the Northwest League-Pioneer League All-Star game, won by the NWL on Tuesday night at Avista Stadium in Spokane. Jared Miller started for the NWL, going two innings and allowing one run (a home run by Angels prospect Taylor Ward). Carlos Hernandez, working just two days after his start at Tri-City, replaced Miller and faced four batters, allowing a hit, a walk and a run while recording two outs. Two other Hops, OF Zach Nehrir and P Cody Reed, were selected to the team but did not play.
TONIGHT’S RADIO PREGAME SHOW BEGINS AT 6:35 ON RIP CITY RADIO 620AM AND http://www.RipCityRadio.com.
HELLO, MY NAME IS: The Diamondbacks made a number of roster moves over the All-Star break. Along with the addition of tonight’s starter, Alex Young, other newcomers include catcher B.J. Lopez (up from the Rookie-level Arizona League) and pitcher Brett Shankin (acquired from independent Frontier Greys of Frontier League). Also new are two players added over the final weekend at Tri-City prior to the All-Star break, outfielder Jake Peevyhouse and pitcher Kirby Bellow. Info on all newcomers can be found in the 8/6 notes.
Vs. BOISE: The Hops took 2 of 3 in Boise from July 23-25. Wins in the first two games of that series clinched the first-half title for the Hops. Hillsboro is 16-13 all-time vs. Boise, regular season and postseason combined (6-7 at home). The Hops have won 15 of the last 22 meetings.
GETTING SETTLED IN: The Hops are in a stretch where they go 26 days without a lengthy bus trip or night in a hotel. Their only 2 road series between now and 8/28 are daily commuter trips to Salem-Keizer.
HOME SWEET HOME? We’ll see. Hillsboro plays 16 of the next 22 at Ron Tonkin Field. The Hops are 12-7 at home.
ON THE AIR: Hops games can be heard live on Rip City Radio 620 AM in Portland, and online at http://www.ripcityradio.com. Mobile listeners should use the iHeartRadio app. Tonight’s pregame show is at 6:35 PM.
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED BEFORE? This has to be a record, right? Tonight, Salem-Keizer faces the league-leader in ERA for the third straight game, when they take on the Hops at Ron Tonkin Field at 7:05 for the final game of the three-game series. The Hops’ Jared Miller led the league at 1.33 when he took the hill on Sunday. He took a 1-hit shutout into the 8th, but allowed 3 runs in that frame. He won, 4-3, though his ERA went up to 1.65, leaving Hillsboro’s Cody Reed as the league leader. On Monday, Salem-Keizer beat Reed, and his 7 earned runs allowed sent his ERA to 2.85. That leaves tonight’s Hops starter vs. Salem-Keizer, Carlos Hernandez, as the league leader at 1.47.
FOUR HOPS NAMED NWL ALL-STARS: The NWL announced today that Reed, Miller, Hernandez and OF Zach Nehrir will represent Hillsboro in the NWL-Pioneer League All-Star Game, next Tue., 8/4 at Avista Stadium in Spokane. This is the first time that the Short Season Class-A Northwest League and Rookie-Level Pioneer League will square off.
DOUBLE THE PLEASURE: Hops OF Zach Nehrir had 14 doubles in the 1st half, just 2 shy of the franchise single-season record held by Yogey Perez-Ramos (2013) & Jordan Parr (2014)
STREAKIN’: Salem-Keizer 3B Miguel Gomez has hit in 22 straight games, 4 shy of the Northwest League record of 26 set by Gary Johnson of Tri-City in 1962, and tied by Tony Laurenzi of Medford in 1982. Since 2009, here are the streaks of 20 or more games in the NWL:
23, Royce Bolinger, Spokane, 2012
22, Stephen Bruno, Boise, 2012
22, Miguel Gomez, Salem-Keizer, 2015
21, Mario Martinez, Everett, 2009
20, Jeffrey Baez, Boise, 2014
20, Tom Murphy, Tri-City, 2012
20, Alvaro Ramirez, Boise, 2010
ON THE AIR: Hops games can be heard live on Rip City Radio 620 AM in Portland, and online at http://www.ripcityradio.com. Mobile listeners should use the iHeartRadio app. Tonight’s pregame show is at 6:35 PM. Matt Richert and I will call the action.
I was talking to myself this morning. (You do that too, right?) The conversation went like this:
Wow… what am I gonna do? halfway through the season, and my blog has been completely silent. But with preparing for each day’s broadcast, getting the Gameday Information ready, and sometimes writing the postgame article for HillsboroHops.com, it seems that I just don’t have time. Hmmm… but wait! I produce loads of content for the Gameday Information. Maybe I can also post that stuff here? Yeah, I think I’ll do that. Shoulda thought of that a long time ago.
So here goes:
TONIGHT: The Hops, having clinched the 1st-half title with two games remaining, play the finale of the 3-game series in Boise. RHP Tyler Bolton, (0-1, 4.10) who has pitched effectively for Hillsboro this year in his seven starts, looks for his first win. His game-by-game results and bio info are on the next page.
Tonight’s pregame show begins at 5:45 on Rip City Radio 620AM and http://www.RipCityRadio.com
LAST NIGHT: Steven Dezzi’s diving catch in right to begin the 9th inning helped preserve the Hops’ 3-2 win in Boise — a win which clinched the first-half flag and a September playoff berth. Boise left the tying run on 3rd and the winning run on 2nd in the 9th, and in fact left 7 on base — all 7 in scoring position, 5 in the last 3 innings. Ryan Burr induced Boise’s Brian Carroll to line out to end the game. Hillsboro will enter the postseason in September trying to win their 2nd straight title.
NICKELED AND DIMED: Tonight’s starting pitcher, Tyler Bolton, has allowed 45 hits in 37.1 innings—42 singles and 3 doubles.
TRIPPIN’: The Hops won the 1st half despite playing more road games (20) than any other team in the South. (Salem-Keizer has played 18, Eugene 18 and Boise 16.) Hillsboro is 11-9 on the road, and 10-6 at home. It also means the Hops will have more home games in the second half than any other team.
MEANWHILE, UP NORTH: With their 4th straight win last night, Everett’s magic number dropped to 2 with two games left. 2nd-place Tri-City has 3 games left — they were rained out in Vancouver on Fri., and play a twinbill tonight.
VS. BOISE: Hillsboro is 16-12 all-time against Boise (regular season and postseason), and the Hops have won 15 of the last 21 head-to-head meetings. The Hops are 10-5 at Memorial Stadium. Hillsboro swept Boise 2-0 in last year’s South Division playoff series.
ONE MORE WIN? The Hops need one more win to match their first-half total from last year, when they went 22-16 to win the South. After winning the first half in 2014, Hillsboro was even better in the 2nd half, going 26-12.
165 AND COUNTING: Over the last 165 games — since 7/18/13 — the Hops have won 95 and lost 59. That’s a .576 winning percentage, best in the NWL in that span.
So, whaddaya think? Does this work?
Hop Ten from ’14, #1: “We Got This”
Date posted: June 16, 2015
Date of game: Sept. 7, 2014, Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro
Hops vs. Vancouver Canadians
With the Hops’ 2015 season just two days away, what better time to relive the events of 2014?
On the afternoon of Sept. 7, 2014, prior to Game Two of the Northwest League Championship Series, a Hops player or coach — or someone — posted a sign on the clubhouse wall at Ron Tonkin Field which read, “One more! One more win! WE GOT THIS! Let’s go, boys!”
About five hours later, they DID get it.
Below, you can relive the final half-inning. And then the memorable postgame celebration, including interviews with manager J.R. House, pitching coach Doug Drabek, hitting instructor Mark Grace, GM K.L. Wombacher, owner Mike McMurray, and players Jordan Parr, Elvin Soto, Taylor Ratliff and Zac Curtis.
First, the final half-inning:
And now the postgame celebration:
By now, you probably know that the Arizona Diamondbacks — the parent club of the Hillsboro Hops — took Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the number one overall pick in the 2015 draft. But what are the chances that he plays in Hillsboro? And when?
The fact that Swanson is a college shortstop is huge. For the uninitiated, high school draft picks almost never make their debuts in the Class-A Northwest League. In fact, in the eight years I’ve called Northwest League baseball (six in the 1990s, plus the last two with the Hops), off the top of my head I can think of only one high school player whose career began in the NWL — pitcher Ryan Castellani with last year’s Tri-City club, a second-round pick of the Colorado Rockies. (There are probably a few others I don’t remember, and the Diamondbacks have had at least one, third baseman Matt Davidson with Yakima in 2009, when I wasn’t in the league.) Bottom line: high school picks are almost always sent to Rookie ball, a level below the Northwest League. College players are much more likely to be sent here.
Another big plus is the facilities here in Hillsboro. The Diamondbacks have been more willing to send a top pick to the Northwest League than they were in their final few years in the aging ballpark in Yakima.
Take a look at the charts below. The first one shows where the D-backs’ college first-round picks have made their debuts; the second shows where their first-round high school selections have begun their professional careers. (In some years, they had multiple selections in the first round and supplemental first round).
Arizona Diamondbacks’ COLLEGE first-round draft choices 2005-2014, and where they made their professional debuts (number in parentheses indicates overall selection number):
2013: (15) Braden Shipley, college RHP: Hillsboro (Short-Season Class A)
2013: (36) Aaron Blair, college RHP: Hillsboro (Short-Season Class A)
2011: (3) Trevor Bauer, college RHP: Visalia (Advanced A)
2011: (43) Andrew Chafin, college LHP: AZL D-backs (Rookie)
2010: (6) Barret Loux, college RHP: Did not sign
2009: (17) A.J. Pollock, college outfielder: South Bend (Long A)
2009: (45) Mike Belfiore, college LHP: Missoula (Rookie)
2008: (26) Daniel Schlereth, college LHP: Missoula (Rookie)
2008: (43) Wade Miley, college LHP: Yakima (Short-Season Class A)
2007: (50) Wes Roemer, college RHP: Yakima (Short-Season Class A)
2007: (61) Ed Easley, college catcher: Yakima (Short-Season Class A)
2006: (11) Max Scherzer, college RHP: Visalia (Advanced A, debut in 2007)
2006: (34) Brooks Brown, college RHP: Yakima (Short-Season Class A)
2005: (31) Matt Torra, college RHP: Yakima (Short-Season Class A)
Arizona Diamondbacks’ HIGH SCHOOL first-round draft choices 2005-2014, and where they made their professional debuts (number in parentheses indicates pick number in first round or supplemental first round):
2014: (16) Touki Toussaint, high school RHP: Missoula (Rookie)
2012: (26) Stryker Trahan, high school catcher: AZL D-backs (Rookie)
2011: (7) Archie Bradley, high school RHP: Missoula (Rookie)
2009: (16) Bobby Borchering, high school 3B: Missoula (Rookie)
2009: (35) Matt Davidson, high school 3B: Yakima (Short-Season Class A)
2009: (41) Chris Owings, high school SS: Missoula (Rookie)
2007: (9) Jarrod Parker, high school RHP: South Bend (Long A, debut in 2008)
2005: (1) Justin Upton, high school shortstop: South Bend (Long A, debut in 2006)
As you can see, in the final five years of the Yakima franchise, none of the Diamondbacks’ college selections began their pro careers there. (Though, interestingly, the aforementioned Matt Davidson, a high school pick, did.)
Oh, and one more thing: it also helps that Hillsboro is part of a major market. If you were a member of the Diamondbacks’ player development department, wouldn’t you want to come to the Portland area to see your top pick play?
So the fact that Dansby Swanson is a college shortstop, and the fact that we have these pristine facilities in a major market, our chances of seeing him play here (for at least a little while) are pretty good.
But, if he does come here, when?
This is where the speculation truly begins. Let’s go under the assumption that there isn’t a long, drawn-out negotiation, and that he signs a pro contract within a couple of days after Vanderbilt’s final game. (Aside: 2015 draft picks have to sign by July 17th if they’re going to sign at all.) He would then go to Arizona to have a physical and take part in all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds a first-round draft choice, especially the top overall pick. He’d probably take part in a pregame workout with the parent club. And after a couple of days there, he’d be ready to head to his first pro assignment.
Vanderbilt’s sweep in Illinois in the Super Regional means that the defending College World Series champions are headed back to Omaha. Vandy plays Cal St. Fullerton this Sunday (6/14), and their second game will be against either LSU or TCU on Tuesday (6/16). Let’s say the Commodores went two-and-out. That’d give him exactly one week to sign his contract, be poked by docs and feted with praise in Arizona, and report to Portland for the Hops’ home opener on Tue 6/23. (If he is indeed assigned here.)
Unlikely, at best, right? Slightly likelier is a debut date of Wed 6/24 or Thu 6/25. (Note: unlike pitchers — such as Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair in 2013 — position players don’t have to go through an extended throwing program before making their pro debuts. Presumably, Swanson could show up and play that day or the next.)
If Vanderbilt wins at least one of their first two games in Omaha, they’ll play again on Thu 6/18 or Fri 6/19… and if they make it to the CWS best-of-three championship series, it’s possible their season gets extended to Wed 6/24.
Now back to the Hops. After their three-game opening homestand 6/23 to 6/25, Hillsboro heads north of the border to Vancouver B.C. for a five-game series from June 26-30. (Another aside, this one to Dansby Swanson and his family if they happen to be reading this: if you don’t have a passport, fill out the paperwork now and see if you can get one expedited!)
It’s also improbable, though certainly possible, that the D-backs could send Swanson to make his debut with the Hops while they’re in Canada. What is likelier—and, all things considered, the likeliest possibility of all—is that if Dansby Swanson gets assigned to Hillsboro, he would play his first game at Ron Tonkin Field during the second homestand of the year.
So get your tickets for the July 1-3 series at home against Eugene.
Again, I’m shootin’ from the hip with all this speculation. Swanson may not sign right away. He may take extra time in Arizona once he does. Or he may not be assigned to Hillsboro at all.
But it’s fun to take a stab at it.
Date posted: May 5, 2015
Date of game: Sept. 6, Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver
Hops vs. Vancouver Canadians
Yes, the Hops had swept Boise in the first round of the playoffs. Yes, they had won six straight. And yes, they had captured 16 of their previous 19 games.
But none of that mattered as they awoke in Vancouver B.C. on the morning on September 6. That night, they would open the best-of-three Northwest League finals against the three-time-defending-champion Vancouver Canadians. Moreover, they would open in front of a hostile crowd of more than 5,000. The Canadians and their fans had become used to winning in the playoffs, especially at home — in fact, dating back to 2011, Vancouver had won seven straight at Nat Bailey Stadium in the postseason.
With all that stacked against them, things looked bleak when Vancouver jumped on the Hops’ ace, Ben Eckels, for three runs in the first… and even worse when they scored two more runs off reliever Jared Miller in the second. The Canadians led 5-0, and they had one of their studs on the hill, righty Chase Mallard, who had a 2.75 ERA in a dozen games during the regular year.
Were the Hops fazed? Not this bunch.
Here are the short highlights:
And the longer version:
Date posted: April 28, 2015
Date of game: Sept. 3, 2014, Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro
Hops vs. Boise Hawks
Throughout the 2014 season, Hillsboro benefited from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ continual mining of the independent leagues — baseball’s nether regions — for hidden gems. This resulted in a number of people who proved they deserved a shot at higher levels, including players like reliever Dustin Loggins and infielder Steve Nyisztor.
Also on that list was late-season addition Marcus Solbach, formerly of the Twins organization, and more recently of the independent Frontier League. What made Solbach interesting was this: he grew up playing baseball not in Florida or California or the Dominican Republic… but in his native Germany.
Yep. There is baseball in Germany. Not much, but it can be found. And not only did Solbach prove to be a valuable addition to the Hops, he was fluent in English, always positive, and a great guy to have around.
Solbach had made four appearances for Hillsboro (including three starts) entering game two of the best-of-three series against Boise. And though he allowed his first home run as a Hop — a two-run second-inning shot by Justin Marra — Solbach worked seven strong innings. Along with Solbach and Nyisztor, fellow former indy-leaguer Stewart Ijames came up big as the Hops sought the two-game sweep.
Here is the final out:
And some extended highlights: