Who’s Next? Former Hops on Their Way Up (and more)
Who’s next? We’re already seen some former Hops take part in the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning of the season. Pavin Smith is getting regular playing time in right field. Matt Peacock made a great impression during his fill-in spot while Zac Gallen recovered from the 10-day IL. Geraldo Perdomo sizzled in his fill-in debut at shortstop for an injured Nick Ahmed with diving stops and heat-seeking throws to first base.
But, who can we see next? There are some exciting former Hops that are patiently being groomed for their major league debut when (not if) they make their first appearance. Former Hops outfielders Kristian Robinson and Corbin Carroll recently wore the Hops uniform in 2019. They are expected to arrive and stay if their potential and promise deliver anywhere close to what they might become. RHP Luis Frias is another top ten prospect that is eagerly awaited. Then there are those who might fly just a tad under the radar. At least for those who are expected next.
Next In Line
Who’s Next: Corbin Carroll?
…is the top prospect in the Diamondbacks farm system. Drafted out of high school in 2019, Corbin quickly
showed he was ready for promotion from the AZL Dbacks rookie team to the Hillsboro Hops. Normally, a player drafted out of high school will be promoted to the Rookie League and play on the Missoula Osprey. But, Corbin’s talent and presence was too hard to ignore. While with the Hops, fans easily saw a young man who looked more like a veteran than a young man who three months ago was taking high school English. His quickness in centerfield made covering the largest territory on the field look easy. His bat seemed ever quick and poked in any direction.
Who’s Next: Kristian Robinson?
Kristian Robinson is right behind Corbin holding the #2 slot in top prospects for the Diamondbacks. If Corbin made centerfield look easy, Kristian made it look like he could do it with his eyes closed. Robinson started the season with the Hops in 2019 after starring the year before with Missoula. In centerfield, he made it look like a couple of easy strides to anywhere he wanted to be. Kristian worked hard to make it look that easy. Kristian’s promotion to the Kane County Cougars gave room for Corbin to take his place with the Hops. With Robinson’s power at the plate, these two could be great teammates one day.
Who’s Next: Daulton Varsho?
Daulton Varsho (2017) has tasted the 25 man roster but most feel it is only a matter of time when he comes
back to stay. His hustle never quits and he is one of those players who looks for ways to keep his team in the action. Thought to be a clutch player no matter what position he plays. Daulton is on the 40-man roster.
Who’s Next: Jake McCarthy?
Jake McCarthy is starting to appear on the radar. He played for the Hops in 2018 and made it to the AA Visalia Rawhide the following year. Jake is now playing for the Amarillo Sod Poodles who are taking Visalia’s AA spot in the Arizona’s farm system. McCarthy reportedly gained some weight and strength which is showing at the plate.
Who’s Next: Drew Ellis?
Drew Ellis, from 2017, could follow his former draftmates, Pavin Smith and Daulton
Varsho to the big leagues making the Dbacks 2017 draft look rich. This spring, he drew a non-roster invitation to Spring Training after playing AA ball for the Jacksonville Generals last year.
Who’s Next: Luis Frias?
Luis Frias burned the plate with his fastball the last time I saw him when he was playing for the Hops in 2019.
No surprise that Luis finished the 2019 season on a higher plane than he started when he moved up to Kane County (low A). Read about his battle with Covid-19 and what two major league veterans think of this exciting new pitcher. You can find Zach Buchanan’s thoughts on the Athletic. (subscription required)
For more, check out William Boor’s Spring Roster Report on more players in the farm system.
Also, check out Isaiah Burrows’s view of Gerlado Perdomo’s major league debut at SB Nation’s AZsnakepit.
Attending the Game
Baseball is back but there are changes. While effort is made to make everyone feel like everything is back to normal, there will be many reminders that the pandemic is still with us. From the obvious such as wearing face masks, social distancing, etc to less obvious ones like one way traffic on the concourse, the MAX shuttle between Orenco Station and the Tonk temporarily suspended or Hops staff handing out packets of catsup at food stations instead of a community squeeze bottle.
There are many more changes and the Hops have given a concise, precise and everything nice list of what to expect when attending a game. You can see it here:
The page starts out with the ticket buying procedures and then finishes off with a bullet list of operational changes at the park.
All of these changes were made with public health and safety considered foremost and are in place through the month of May and may continue longer. If at any time, the State of Oregon relaxes any of their guidelines, restrictions may lessen in accordance.
Pavin Smith Hums in Double Header
The Arizona Diamondbacks played a double header last Sunday (4/25) against the Atlanta Braves. Former Hillsboro Hops Pavin Smith (2017) left quite an impressive mark.Already a regular starter for the Dbacks, mostly in the outfield, Pavin gave a hint of his contribution in the first game when he tripled but was left stranded at the end of the inning. In the second game, Pavin exploded for three hits. Two of them were singles but his first hit of the second game was the impressive lead off shot that sailed past the Atlanta right-fielder and into the stands– several rows back. It was his second homer of the season.
There was no time to doubt as Pavin, known for his patience at the plate, smacked the first pitch of the game into the stands. Now a regular lead-off hitter for the team, the swing and result proved that the move from lower in the batting order was correct. Along with the promotion to lead-off, Pavin has also shifted from right field to center field. This move was more predicated however on the return of starter Kole Calhoun and the move to the injured list by starter Ketel Marte. Still, Pavin is proving that it will be tough to take him out of the starting line-up once Marte returns.
The Diamondbacks swept the double header in impressive fashion. In the first game, starting pitcher Zac Gallen went the distance in a one-hit shutout win, 5-0. Following that performance, ace Madison Bumgardner also went the distance for the win in a no-hitter, 7-0. Due to the game being only seven innings, the game will not be recorded as an official no-hitter.
Next Season is Now
The 2021 season is just a week away. A week from today, Ron Tonkin Field will bear the weight of two full teams, half of them wearing a Hillsboro Hops uniform. Seating capacity for the fans is 25%. The first game is sold out but there are still some tickets available for the first homestand of the season against the Everett Aquasox (May 5th-9th). But, they are going fast. Tickets are also now available for the second homestand against the Vancouver Canadians (May 18th-23rd). The second homestand will prove interesting as the Hops are sharing their home stadium with the Canadians this year due to travel restrictions and the Canadian/US border.
For more detail, check out my column last week that explains it and more.
That’s it for Who’s Next? Next week’s column is the last before the season starts. I hope to have a list of some of the players assigned to the Hops. I am expecting some of them to not be strangers to the Hops fan.