The Visalia Rawhide and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed on a two-year Player Development Contract extension today, ensuring that the D-backs will remain in the California League through 2018.
Mike Bell, Director of Player Development for the Diamondbacks, was happy to see the affiliation continue. “We have been in Visalia for ten years now & are happy to continue to see improvements made to the safety of the facility from the player development stand point,” said Bell. “Rawhide Ballpark is a great little ballpark with a lively atmosphere.”
Bell is in Visalia this weekend watching the Rawhide compete in the Northern Division Championships. “As someone who managed the team here almost 10 years ago, and now visiting the past eight seasons, I’m impressed with the deep history of baseball in Visalia, and the walkable downtown adjacent to the ballpark. Visalia is a great baseball town, and we look forward to many more Rawhide alumni starring for the Diamondbacks in the years to come.”
The Diamondbacks have aggressively developed prospects in Visalia over the last decade. Rawhide alumni such as Justin Upton, Max Scherzer, Trevor Bauer, Adam Eaton, Paul Goldschmidt, and Jake Lamb have all gone on to make a substantial impact at the Major League level.
This affiliate extension makes the Diamondbacks the second-longest tenured partner in Visalia professional baseball history behind only the Minnesota Twins (1977-92), who sent future stars such as Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek to Visalia; the affiliation, which began in 2007, will reach its 12th season in 2018.
“We’re fortunate to have great working relationships with our partners – the City of Visalia and the Arizona Diamondbacks,” said Rawhide General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft. “We’re proud to have a facility with a charming personality for affordable family entertainment in the greater Visalia community, and we’re grateful for the Diamondbacks’ continued patience as we work with the city on the playing surface & other areas that fall short of the MLB standards. We continue to work toward creating a proper home for Professional Baseball and the growing number of events at this beautiful community gathering place.”