Hillsboro Hops: It’s Never Too Early to Get Ready
Even the off season is a busy time for baseball. Scouting reports to pore over. Assignments to draw up. Luckily, the winter months are the best time for all of this to happen. As minor league spring training is underway, here is a little of what has happened so far.
2016 Coaching Staff
The Hillsboro Hops, a single-A short season affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are the two-time returning champions of the NWL League. No small part of that is due to returning manager Shelley Duncan. As we all know from last year, Shelley’s calm and steady influencing hand helped the club remain in the thick of things with everyone competing with energy. Shelly is a former major league player having spent 2007-2013 in the major leagues with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays. Less than a year after retirement, Shelley was in the dugout leading the Hops to their second consecutive NWL championship.
Former major league pitcher Mike Parrott, originally from Oxnard, California, will be the new pitching coach. Mike was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1977 and finished his major league career in 1981 with the Seattle Mariners. His coaching career started in 1988 and he brings over thirty years of experience to help the 2016 Hops pitchers.
Doug Drabek, the former Cy Young winner who was the only pitching coach the Hops had ever known through their first three years of playing, has been promoted to the Mobile Bay Bears of the AA Southern League.
Jose Amado will be the new hitting coach for the Hops in 2016. Jose, who originally came from his native Venezuela, brings playing experience from 1995-2008 to the Hops. He is known for his plate discipline having earned 421 walks against only 281 strikeouts during his career. Jose comes from the Wichita Wingnuts where he was the hitting coach in 2015.
Javier Colina, who was the 2015 hitting coach, was promoted to the advanced-A Visalia Rawhide affiliate, re-joining former Hops manager J.R. House.
Ben Petrick returns to the Hops coaching staff for his fourth year. Ben split five seasons with the Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers in the major leagues. He is also a native Oregonian working with the Hops just four miles from his former high school.
The 2016 Hillsboro Hops will start on the road much like last year. Their first game of the season will be against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on Friday, June 17th. The Volcanoes have been a perennial competitor for the Hops battling for the southern division crown the last two years running, including the three game playoff between the two clubs in 2015. The Hops won that series on their way to successfully defending their NWL crown.
Following their opening three game series, the Hops will come home for a stand against the Eugene Emeralds, another perennial foe for the top of the division. The home opener at Ron Tonkin Field will be on Monday, June 20th.
Hillsboro will meet the Tri-City Hawks, for the first time since defeating them for the 2015 NWL championship, at home for a five game series on July 4th-8th. They meet again on the road from July 21st -25th for five more games.
Season tickets and mini-plans are now on sale. You can reach the Hops at (503) 640-0887 or online at the Hillsboro Hops.
by Greg Stoker