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Central Valley Rockies

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In 1993 the Visalia Oaks were replaced in the California League by the Central Valley Rockies. Playing their home games in Visalia, CA, the club was the first full-season class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The team finished 61-75, tied for 9th in the 10-team league, under the guidance of Paul Zuvella. John Burke and Mark Thompson, the first two players drafted by the Rockies, were considered the league's top pitching prospects in a poll of California League managers. Burke had gone 7-8 with a 3.18 ERA (third in the circuit) and 114 Ks in 119 innings while Thompson went 3-2 with a 2.20 ERA, allowing 46 hits and fanning 72 in 70 frames before being promoted to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Burke was one of four pitchers on the league's post-season All-Star team. Among the position players were SS Craig Counsell (.280, 95 walks), OF Angel Echevarria (.271), OF Quinton McCracken (.292, 78 walks, 60 steals) and OF Ryan Turner (.294/~.384/.445), the first player to ever sign a contract with the Rockies.

In their second season, the team went 65-71 under Bill Hayes in 1994, tied for sixth in the circuit. Echevarria hit .302 in limited time with the club, OF Terry Jones was the sole representative on the league All-Star team after a .293/.345/.345 season with 44 steals in 56 attempts. Bryan Rekar was tenth in the league in ERA (6-6, 3.48) but the ace pitcher was not a Rockies prospect. Rather it was Shigeki Noguchi, on loan from the Chunichi Dragons. Noguchi went 8-3 with a 2.55 ERA and struck out 161 batters in 137 2/3 innings. He was second on the team in wins, second in the league in ERA and struck out the most batters of any California Leaguer that year. Noguchi was voted the 7th-best prospect in the circuit.

After that year, the Rockies moved their top A team to the Carolina League and an independent Visalia Oaks returned to the city.

[edit] Year-by-Year Record

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1993 61-75 8th (t) Paul Zuvella
1994 65-71 6th (t) Bill Hayes
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