It’s Official. Hillsboro Hops in ‘21
It’s official. You can count your chickens now. Let out that large breath you were holding. Even though pretty much everyone not only hoped and expected it while still waiting for it to happen, it’s official or soon will be. The Hillsboro Hops will still be a farm team of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In a press release from the Hillsboro Hops on Wednesday, Major League Baseball has sent the paperwork on to the Hops for them to review and sign. The Arizona D-Backs have sent their invitation to the Hillsboro Hops to be their Advanced A affiliate to start in the 2021 season.
It’s Official! A Promotion!
For the last year, minor league baseball teams spent their time either sweating bullets to reasonably and cautiously wondering about the future. Some teams sweated more than others. An entire league, the Pioneer League, lost their affiliation with MLB. Others not only survived but prospered (the Hops) with a promotion for the entire Northwest League. To read more about details on all of the expected changes, read my previous article about the Northwest League and what to expect.
Through it all, 120 minor league teams are expecting either to announce their continued or their affiliation with a new team. Six of the Eight Northwest League teams made the cut and received a promotion of two levels from short season A to Advanced A. Gone are the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and the Boise Hawks. Both teams hope to catch on elsewhere and have a few options to consider.
For information on all of the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliates, check out Nick Piecoro’s article in the Arizona Republic.
The Deja Vu Effect
This may be the only time in minor league history that we see the Deja Vu Effect. A player promoted from one league
(Northwest League, 2019) and promoted again to the same league it left (Northwest League, 2021) without any demotion.
The Advanced A slot came open when the Visalia Rawhide moved from the Advanced A position to the A slot. Or, at least when it’s official. The Kane County Cougars won’t be affiliated with any MLB team. The Rawhide take their place. Both teams’ from 2019 contained many former Hops.
Hops fans will think some of the faces look familiar. Just some of the possibilities from the Visalia Rawhide are Jose Queliz (2015, 2016), Breckin Williams (2015, 2017), Geraldo Perdomo (2018), Jared Miller (2014, 2015, 2019), Matt Mercer (2018), Jake McCarthy (2018), Kevin McCanna (2017), Jorge Perez (2017, 2018), West Tunnell (2018), LT Tolbert (2018), Tim Susnara (2017), Franklyn Soriano (2018, 2019), Tyler Mark (2015, 2016), Cam Duzenack (2017), Jon Duplantier (2016), Taylor Clarke (2015), Mack Lemieux (2016), Mark Karaviotis (2016), Anfernee Grier (2016) and Connor Grey (2016, 2017).
Single A Kane County Cougars also offer these possibilities: Andy Yerzy (2018, 2109), Wesley Rodriguez (2016, 2018), Kristian Robinson (2019), Chester Pimentel (2018), Trevor McKenna (2018, 2019), Keyshawn Lynch (2018), Kai-Wei Lin (2018), Joey Rose (2016, 2018), Daniel Wasinger (2019), Bryan Valdez (2018), Matt Tabor (2018), Ethan Larrison (2018, 2019), Luis Frias (2018, 2019), Adrian Del Moral (2018, 2019), Jose Cuas (2019), Michel Gelabert (2019), Ryan January (2018, 2019), Tra Holmes (2017, 2018) and Jackson Goddard (2018) among others. And, include any 2019 Hillsboro Hops players who take that two-level jump and stay on the Hops roster. It’s not often that a player needs a promotion just to stay on the same team but it’s official.
Relief is spelled b-a-s-e-b-a-l-l i-s b-a-c-k.
I think a lot of Hops fans are more excited that they get to see baseball again than the two-level jump up to Advanced A. Of course, everything is still dependent on the Corona Virus letting us play. But, with the success of Major League’s 2020 season, there is hope.
With the promotion, we can also see more games. Almost twice as many as the season will grow from 76 games to around 130. Plus, the season will start in April or early May. Summer starts early next spring.
Once again, a hand can flip down a seat and park while waiting for the game to start. Returning is the trip to the concession stand and trying not to spill anything on your way back to that same seat. Once more, we will see the familiar green and light or navy blue spilling out of the dugout as the game begins.
It’s official. Baseball is back.
note: Earlier today, MLB announced that Amarillo, Texas will be the new AA affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They replace Jackson, Tennessee. For a list of the 119 of the 120 Minor League slots to be issued for 2021, read Robert Pannier’s article, Minor League Baseball Reorganization Announced. The 120th team has yet to be named.