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D-backs have two of decade’s most accomplished minor-league teams

Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks slides into second base after hitting a double during the second inning of a spring training game against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 12, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The short-season Single-A ball Hillsboro Hops minor league baseball team hasn’t even existed for this entire decade.

Still, the club — which is a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks — was named by Baseball America as one of the most accomplished minor league teams of the 2010s. So was the D-backs’ Double-A affiliate, the Jackson Generals, just a few spots behind Hillsboro on the list.

With a record of 309-222 in seven seasons, the Hillsboro Hops have a .582 winning percentage in their history. They’ve also won the Northwest League’s championship three times — in 2014, 2015 and 2019.

The Hops franchise existed for just seven seasons in the decade but made its imprint on the Northwest League by winning three league titles and finishing with the best record four times. Hillsboro also had the highest winning percentage for any minor league team that played at least five seasons in the 2010s.

The Hops were ranked as the fifth-most accomplished team on Baseball America’s list. Triple-A Durham, an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, was ranked No. 1.

Baseball America also notes that there have been plenty of major league alumni to come from Hillsboro, including D-backs Kevin Cron and Alex Young, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, Royals pitcher Brad Keller and Twins outfielder Daniel Palka.

Then there’s the Jackson Generals, who have only been a D-backs affiliate since 2017. They won the Southern League championship in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

The Jackson franchise has been more volatile [in] terms of affiliation than other clubs in the top 10, but the D-backs have brought stability—perhaps—not to mention back-to-back Southern League championships in 2018 and 2019.

Having previously been an affiliate of the Mariners, the major league alumni to come from Jackson is mostly Mariners players. That includes Ketel Marte, though, who was once on the Mariners and is now an All-Star for the Diamondbacks.

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