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Published On: January 28th, 2015

A Look at Chinooks in the Minor Leagues

Jason Hoppe – Texas Rangers – Spokane Indians (A)

Hoppe1Since spending the summer of 2012 with the Lakeshore Chinooks, alum Jason Hoppe has been climbing the ladder in the world of baseball. Hoppe was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 27th round of the 2014 MLB draft. Hoppe had a standout senior season for the Minnesota State Mavericks in Mankato, MN, in which he was a finalist for the Bret Tomko Award as the top D-II pitcher in the nation, matched MSU’s single-season win mark with 11 and set program records for strikeouts (113) and 104.2 innings pitched as he helped lead the Mavericks to the NCAA D-II World Series semifinals. That performance came on the heels of a terrific junior campaign in which Hoppe established an NCCA record for all divisions by pitching 55.1 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball.

Pitching from the right side, Hoppe was one of the most successful Chinooks pitchers in the summer of 2012 as he recorded a 5-2 mark with the fourth best ERA in Chinooks’ history (2.05). Recently, Hoppe took a break from some off-season ice-fishing to share some memories from his summer at Lakeshore. Ironically, his best memory involved a moment of failure. “My favorite memory as a Chinook would have to be my first start against the Eau Claire Express where I got lit up. Although not at the time, that poor outing forced me to learn from my mistakes and turned my summer around for me,” said Hoppe. As the summer progressed, Hoppe gained valuable experience as he faced the best hitters in the Northwoods League–some of the finest in college baseball–and earned league-wide respect in being named the NWL Pitcher of the Night on July 10 when he struck out twelve La Crosse Loggers and again on July 16 when he held the Loggers scoreless for 7.2 innings.



Hoppe on the mound for the Spokane Indians.



After being drafted last summer, Hoppe reported to the Rangers’ Class A affiliate in the Northwest League, the Spokane Indians, and got thrown into the fire with 15 appearances, including four starts. While he posted just one win and a seemingly high 5.50 ERA, Hoppe learned quickly that a major factor is determining his playing future will be conditioning. “I have to be able to continually give quality starts one week after another to take the next step up to High A.  My offseason goals thus far have been putting on weight, strengthening my hips and working on flexibility. I've put on 10-15 pounds since the summer ended and I’m hoping for at least another 5.” Chinooks fans probably remember Hoppe as a slight, 170-pounder with good stuff, but getting his weight up over 185 will certainly help his chances to stay in the game.

For now, Hoppe continues to set his sights at each rung of the ladder as he continues to advance each year. “My goal for the season is to end up in A+. I'm headed to spring training March 1 and am hoping to at least be a starter in A-.”  With Hoppe’s approach and previous success at each level, that goal certainly seems attainable.