The Northwest League announced their All-Star line-up for 2017 and six Hillsboro Hops made the roster. Starting will be this year’s first round selection Pavin Smith at first base and Eudy Ramos at third base.
Pavin has played in 30 games so far for the Hops, batting .339 with eight doubles and 14 RBI. Known for a good eye at the plate, Pavin has more RBIs (14) than strikeouts (13). The former University of Virginia star was selected 7th overall by the Diamondbacks and is considered the number one prospect of their farm system. The left-hander’s strengths are considered to be his batting and power.
Eudy Ramos comes from the Dominican Republic and played his first pro season in 2013. Eudy has spent all of his pro career in the Diamondback system. His bat has propelled him to a .322 batting average with nine doubles, a triple and four home runs. In 2016, he played for the Missoula Osprey which is in the Rookie League and fellow farm team in the Diamondback system.
Four other Hops teammates will join the two starters for Tuesday’s, August 1st All-Star Game. Catcher Daulton Varsho will join the roster. Varsho was drafted in the CBB round of this year. He made his pro debut with the Hops and is considered the 16th top prospect in the organization. His strengths are considered to be his running and fielding. Daulton has also proved timely with his hitting knocking in 28 RBI in only 27 games.
Yan Sanchez will join him as back up to second base. Yan has been versatile having also played shortstop and left field for the Hops. A Dominican native, Yan has played in 28 games this year amassing a slugging percentage of .462 which includes ten doubles, six triples and three home runs. The Diamondbacks signed Sanchez to a minor league contract in 2013 and is playing his first year with the Hops.
Stetson Woods of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes has been selected starting pitcher for the All-Star Game but he has two Hops ready right behind him.
Riley Smith was selected second pitcher to the All-Star roster. Drafted in the 24th round of 2016 from Louisiana State, the RHP is in his second stint with the Hops and has a 4-3 record with a 3.06 ERA. Riley specializes in strikeouts gathering 35 in 47 innings.
Tyler Keele was selected to the All-Star line-up right behind Woods and Smith. Tyler was selected in the 15th round of 2016 out of Morehead State and played for Missoula last year. In nine games this year (eight started), Keele has gone 3-4. Tyler is a strikeout machine collecting 44 in only 42 innings pitched.
A third pitcher, a closing specialist, Erbert (pronounced “El-Bear”) Gonzales has also earned his way to the All-Star roster. In eight save opportunities, Erbert has walked away with seven saves, by far the team leader. He has struck out 21 in 17 innings.
The All-Star Game festivities start Sunday, July 30th with the Kids All-Star Game Fanfest from noon to 6pm, presented by Intel. Activities will include speed pitch, batting cages, virtual reality stations, six inflatables and a 60-foot Play.Fit Fun obstacle course. Highlighting the day will be an attempt to break the Guinness Book world record for the largest game of catch which currently stands at 972 pairs. The first 1000 pairs to arrive at the free event will receive a commemorative baseball. Participants must bring their own glove. Parking is free. Food and beer will be available for purchase.
On Monday, July 31st, the festivities will continue. Where Sunday’s activities were geared more for the kids and families, Monday evening from 6-10:30 pm will be more suited for the adults. Many cities in both leagues will be represented by craft beers for sale from their regions. Festivities will also include lawn games, specialty food items, live music and more. Admission and parking is free.
The big day will be Tuesday, August 1st. The Home Run Derby will start things off at 5:15 pm and will be emceed by Sportscenter anchor Neil Everett.
The first pitch for the Northwest League vs the Pioneer League All-Stars is scheduled for 7:05 pm. The twin league event first started in 2015 when it was decided by both leagues to match respective all-stars from both short-season leagues and it proved to be a hit from the start. The first game ever had former Hops Jared Miller as the starting pitcher. This will be the third event in the series. The NW League currently leads the competition 2-0.
Limited tickets remain for the Home Run Derby and All-Star game for field box, field reserved and general admission. One ticket is for both events. Tickets are available at Hillsborohops.com or calling the Hops front office at (503) 640-0887.
The Northwest League has been around since 1955 and has had its share of stars sent to the major leagues. NWL alumni include Ken Griffey, Jr, Edgar Martinez, Reggie Jackson, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Tony Gwynn and current MLB stars (formers Hops) Dansby Swanson and (former Boise Hawk) Kris Bryant of the world champion Chicago Cubs.
Hillsboro Hops Photos by Craig Mitchelldyer-Hillsboro Hops
By Greg Stoker