The class-A advanced Visalia Rawhide are having a successful season sitting at 33-20 in first place of the California League North Division. This success comes on the heels of a first half championship crown when they went 42-28. For those math deficient readers, that’s 75-48 overall on the season. With talent, timely hitting, and very good pitching, it’s no wonder they have enjoyed success this season. It doesn’t hurt that two of their coaches have won awards this season.
Manager J.R. House and pitching coach Gil Heredia won manager of the year and pitching coach of the year honors in the California League, respectively. This is House’s first season with Visalia, and second overall as a manager. Last season he was the manager of the lower A-level Hillsboro Hops (current home of prospect Dansby Swanson). His two-year managerial record is 123-76 (.618 winning percentage).
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Gil Heredia is in his third season as pitching coach with the Rawhide. This season he has been credited within baseball circles with guiding Anthony Banda (10th round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012, came over in the Gerardo Parra trade) back into prospect territory. Banda was toiling around in the lower level with the Brewers with a poor walk rate and a WHIP around 1.40. Upon coming to the Diamondbacks, his WHIP has dipped below 1.20 and he is walking almost three batters less per nine innings, while maintaining a strikeout rate around nine per nine innings.
Both House, a catcher, and Heredia, a pitcher, played in the majors before retiring and entering the coaching field. Lucky for the Diamondbacks, they turned out to be good ones.