A member of the Hillsboro Hops gets promoted and three new players join the club on Friday, June 30th.
Second baseman Paxton De La Garza was promoted to the Kane County Cougars on Friday, June 30th. The Cougars are the full season A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a step above the Hops. In 14 games with the Hops, Paxton went 14 hits and a .255 batting average. He was signed by the Diamondbacks on June 13th of 2016 after being drafted in the 2016 33rd round out of Angelo State (Texas).
Added to the Hops were three new draftees out of the 2017 draft. The Hops roster is now up to 33 players as the draftees are being signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks and are assigned to their teams.
Dan Swain was drafted in the 34th round (1012th overall) out of Sienna College. The native of Newton, Massachusetts played centerfield for the Sienna Saints. Head coach Tony Rossi says an is an “outstanding defender” and “major offensive force.” However, he missed eleven games last season.
In four years of college, Dan went 233 for 781 and a .298 batting average. That includes 42 doubles, eleven triples and 20 home runs. He is known as “Swainy.”
Matt Brill was taken in the 12th round, 352nd overall, from the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Injured in 2015, the RHP missed the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery. Grandfather Lloyd played in the minors with the New York Giants system. The native of Coal Valley, Illinois was rated 14th best pitcher in the Sun Belt Conference.
Four years earlier, Matt Brill was previously draft by the New York Mets in the 24th round, 716th overall. His decision to attend Appalachian State paid off. His college coach, Kermit Smith considers Brill to be “an incredibly motivated young man.”
Matt went to high school not very far from the full season Kane County Cougars of the Arizona DImandback farm system and is familiar with their home field, Modern Woodmen Park. He thinks it would be “awesome” for the chance to play there.
Brian Shaffer was selected in the sixth round (172nd overall) out of the University of Maryland. The RHP Terrapin went 20-8 in his three-year career, striking out 236 with a fastball in the low 90s. The 6’5” native out of Pylesville, Maryland was named the 2017 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and had a 2.66 ERA.
Shaffer is known for his fastball, slider and change up as well as his command. Perfect Game’s Brian Sakowski predicts he could be a 4th or 5th starter in the majors.
Originally, was not rated very high coming out of high school. He was considered the 484th best right handed pitcher in the nation. He doesn’t disagree with that assesment but worked hard during his college career to improve. One month ago, he was named the Big Ten’s Pitcher of the Year. Quite an improvement.
By Greg Stoker