2016 Hillsboro Hops: Meet Your Infield
The Hops infield feature returning champions and new talent seeking to win another title on their way (hopefully) to the majors. The Hops welcomed back 2015 champion Sergio Alcantara just Tuesday night, June 28th, on their return home from Vancouver.
Fan favorite Sergio Alcantara was only 16 years old when signed by the parent Arizona Diamondbacks. His wide range and vacuum-like glove were considered to good to pass up. Last year, Sergio was a part of the Northwest League Champion 2015 Hillsboro Hops as the shortstop. He returns this year for a short rehab assignment from the Kane County Cougars. He will turn 20 in less than two weeks. Grounders rarely get by this young man as he has a wide range in his coverage. His glove is considered exceptional. Sergio’s goal this year is to improve his power despite his slight 5’9”, 170-lb frame. Once his rehab assignment is over, he will return to Kane County. Alcantara is ranked #27 prospect in the Diamondbacks farm system. He is from the Dominican Republic.
Josh is another returning champion for the Hops and returns to his third base position again this year. The native of San Diego was drafted by Arizona in the 38th round of last year’s draft out of Florida International. The 23-year-old can hit for power as, last year, 10of his 41 hits were either doubles or home runs. Fielding is solid with a grade of A-. Plans for this year is to keep growing at the plate. Fan of former San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn. Former college teammate Williams Durruthy was drafted by the Diamondbacks this year. Josh enjoys surfing, his dog and church.
Chigbogu (shuh-BOG-u) hails from Kansas City attending high school in nearby Raytown. The first baseman will turn 22 years old on July 8th. Was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. The Diamondbacks signed Chigbogu as a free agent on May 13th of this year. At 6’1” and 240 lbs, Justin has the body for power and has a slugging percentage of .479. He also has surprising quickness and athleticism for someone of his size. Will work on his plate discipline trying to recognize pitches better and make consistent contact. The left-hander is adept at going to the opposite field.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Nic is the first local native to be signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks when he inked the contract as a free agent. Growing up, Nic attended Wilson High school in SW Portland. His dad was a minor league coach. During summers, Nic tagged along with Dad and got a glimpse of his future life at the minor league level including clubs such as fellow NW League Vancouver Canadians and fellow Diamondbacks farm club Kane County Cougars. His father is now a scout for the Oakland A’s. While traveling with his dad, Nic was able to meet and become inspired by future major leaguers like Nick Swisher and Nelson Cruz. Coffman failed to get drafted mostly because of fear of a college injury. Also a returning 2015 NW champion, the all-around third baseman hopes to continue proving doubters wrong and that the injury is far behind him. In college, he was also a pitcher but says his pitching days are behind him.
The Beverly Hills native was drafted from Pepperdine University in the recent 2016 MLB draft out of the 13th round. At 6’3”, Manny has power but still needs to fill out his 180-lb frame. Is considered polished. Starting the season as shortstop, Manny moved to second base during Sergio Alcantara’s rehab. He can also play outfield or third. Currently leading the team in home runs with two as of June 29. Manny is a fan of the Boston Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia and loves pizza.
This year should prove exciting as the fans watch the new arrivals grow and the returning champions continue their path to the next level.
by Greg Stoker