HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Hillsboro Hops hosted their inaugural Ticket Pickup Event yesterday, open to all ticket plan holders. The event was held in conjunction with an Arizona Diamondbacks Mini Camp at Ron Tonkin Field. A QuickTake post of the event can be found here.
The event was an overall success with a variety of free food and beverage items, posters and decals being handed out, photo ops with the Northwest League Championship trophy, and plenty of baseball to watch prior to Friday’s League opener (and Monday’s home opener).
Thanks to the Mini Camp, in attendance at the park was not only many eager Hops fans, but about 40 young prospects in the Diamondbacks franchise, along with a full coaching staff. A list of the staff wasn’t released, nor was it clear exactly everyone who was there, but returning 2015 Hops manager Shelley Duncan was helping out along with Hops consultant and Oregon native Ben Petrick.
Three of the players at the park had already spent some time in Hillsboro, all helping the Hops to their latest championship last season. These men were Josh Anderson, Alexis Olmeda, and Nic Coffman, all 2015 draftees.
Anderson, now with 35 games under his belt in the 2016 season with Full-A Kane County (currently on the disabled list), spent 43 games with Hillsboro in 2015, accumulating 41 hits and a line of .270/.345/.362.
Olmeda, one of the late-season heroes with the 2015 Hops (scored key runs multiple times), spent 40 games with the club last season, earning 36 hits and scoring 15 runs with a line of .265/.384/.324. The catcher from Puerto Rico caught 13 runners.
Coffman, a Portland, OR native, spent just four games with the Hops in 2015, hitting 2-for-11 in the span, although he did drive in a run and score one of his own. Between two other low-level teams in 2015, the Non-Drafted Free Agent from Corban earned a line of .211/.250/.250.
Anderson already spending time in Kane County, it is unlikely that he will spend a significant amount of time with the Hops, if any, depending on his condition. Olmeda and Coffman, on the other hand, have a fair chance of ending up in Hillsboro again, what will most likely be a warm welcome for the fan-favorite catcher and the hometown kid.
Also in attendance at the Mini Camp was Tommy Eveld and Jordan Watson, 9th and 7th round 2016 draftees.
Eveld, a dual (football) athlete at the University of San Francisco, pitched in 13 games in 2015, making two starts with a 1-2 record. Joining the baseball team after primarily playing football and having successes right away (four innings of hitless ball with five K’s in his debut), Eveld is regarded as a steal for the D-Backs in this year’s draft.
Watson, a pitcher out of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO), is best known for his 7-1 record and all-conference honors while pitching at Seminole State College prior to his work at USAO. The lefty earned an ERA of 3.2 and helped lead his team to a 41-18 record.
Not in attendance, yet listed on the roster, was 2016 4th round draftee Curtis Taylor out of the University of British Columbia. Clocked at speeds up to 95 mph, Taylor led his team with a 1.02 ERA and was named to the NAIA All-American Honorable Mention team.
A roster full of promise, those highlighted here are just a few names that Hops fans may already know or should get to know for this coming season. The events were an overall success and will most likely only grow to be even better in the years to come, as seen with the Hops Fan Fest the last two years.
The Hops open their fourth season as a team on Friday on the road against Salem-Keizer at 6:35 p.m. to defend their back-to-back Northwest League championships. The team (whose roster has yet to be decided, stay posted), will open at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro on Monday, June 20 at 7:05 p.m. against the Eugene Emeralds.
As always, make sure to follow the blog using one of our follow buttons, as well as the author on Twitter, at @atticusrice, for the the latest updates on all things Hillsboro Hops, Northwest League, and your weekly fix of baseball. Make sure to stay tuned for a 2016 Hops preview and roster reveal later this week.