Sports

Ranking the top players to ever wear a Boise Hawks uniform in 30 years

A 19-year-old Dontrelle Willis poses for a portrait with the Boise Hawks before the 2001 home opener.
A 19-year-old Dontrelle Willis poses for a portrait with the Boise Hawks before the 2001 home opener. Idaho Statesman file

More than 1,200 players put on a Boise Hawks uniform in the club’s first 30 years. As an outpost in the low minor leagues, the odds are long any will make it to the Majors.

But more than a few have (126, to be exact). And many became stars at the national level just a few short years after roaming Boise’s Memorial Stadium.

Here are the top 10 players who either made their professional debut in Boise or donned a Hawks uniform early in their career. The ranks are determined by the advanced analytics stat career Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

WAR incorporates several advanced stats to measure how many wins above a replacement-level minor leaguer a player contributes to his team. The higher the number, the better the player.

1. JOHN LACKEY

Position: Starting pitcher

WAR: 36.3

Year in Boise: 1999

The right-handed pitcher is in the midst of his 15th MLB season. He owns a career record of 180-142 with a 3.91 ERA and won World Series titles with the Angels (2002), Red Sox (2013) and Cubs (2016).

34 Former Hawks who have played at least one game in the majors this season.

2. JOSH DONALDSON

Position: Third base

WAR: 33.5

Year in Boise: 2007

The 2015 American League MVP played catcher in Boise before converting to third base. In seven years, he’s made three All-Star teams and been named a Silver Slugger twice.

2007 Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson tries to avoid a tag while stealing third base in the final regular season game of the Boise Hawks’ 2007 season. Kerry Maloney Idaho Statesman file

3. JARROD WASHBURN

Position: Starting pitcher

WAR: 28.5

Year in Boise: 1995

The lefthander posted a career record of 107-109 with a 4.10 ERA in 12 MLB seasons. His best year came in 2002, when he went 18-6 with a 3.15 ERA to lead the Angels to a World Series title.

2 Boise Hawks who won MVP awards — Josh Donaldson and Kris Bryant.

4. GARRET ANDERSON

Position: Outfielder

WAR: 25.6

Year in Boise: 1990

After 17 years in the Majors, Anderson retired a three-time All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger with a .293 career batting average, 287 home runs and 1,365 RBIs.

5. FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ

Position: Closer

WAR: 24.5

Year in Boise: 1999

The six-time All-Star ranks fourth in MLB history with 437 career saves and is closing in on Lee Smith in third place (478). He set the single-season saves record (62) with the Angels in 2008.

126 Number of Boise Hawks who reached the majors, 10 percent of the 1,262 who played in Boise the past 30 years.

6. DONTRELLE WILLIS

Position: Starting pitcher

WAR: 20.3

Year in Boise: 2001

The high leg kick and exaggerated twist made the lefthander a national sensation. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2003 and finished second in Cy Young voting in 2005, when he won 22 games.

7. TROY PERCIVAL

Position: Closer

WAR: 17.5

Years in Boise: 1990-91

Percival made his pro debut as a catcher in Boise in 1990, hitting .203. He returned the next year as a reliever and finished his MLB career with 358 saves (11th in MLB history) and as a four-time All-Star.

2013 Kris Bryant
Boise Hawks third baseman Kris Bryant is welcomed by teammates as he crosses the plate after hitting a three-run home run on July 26, 2013 against the Spokane Indians at Boise’s Memorial Stadium. Darin Oswald Idaho Statesman file

8. KRIS BRYANT

Position: Third base

WAR: 15.5

Year in Boise: 2013

The second overall pick in 2013 shot through the Cubs system. After 18 games in Boise that summer, he won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year award, then was the 2016 NL MVP and led the Cubs to a World Series title.

9. RICKY NOLASCO

Position: Starting pitcher

WAR: 12.6

Year in Boise: 2002

The active righthander is 110-110 with a 4.54 ERA and 1,432 strikeouts in 12 seasons. He owns the Marlins franchise record for wins (81) and strikeouts (1,001).

10. SCOT SHIELDS

Position: Reliever

WAR: 12.4

Year in Boise: 1997

The ace middle reliever posted a career ERA of 3.18 and struck out 8.1 batters per nine innings. Sports Illustrated named him the setup man on its 2001-2010 all-decade team.

3 Former Hawks who were named National League Rookie of the Year — Dontrelle Willis (2003), Geovany Soto (2008) and Kris Bryant (2015).

Boise Hawks in the big leagues

Every Boise Hawk who has reached the Major Leagues in the club’s 30-year history.

Player

MLB Position

Year in Boise

Reggie Williams

OF

1989

Oreste Marrero

1B/OF

1989

Garret Anderson

OF

1990

Mark Dalesandro

C

1990

P.J. Forbes

2B/3B

1990

Troy Percival

RP

1990-91

J.R. Phillips

1B

1990

Ken Edenfield

RP

1990

Hilly Hathaway

SP

1990

Phil Leftwich

SP

1990

Darryl Scott

RP

1990

Paul Swingle

RP

1990

Orlando Palmeiro

OF

1991

Eduardo Perez

1B

1991

Chris Pritchett

1B

1991

Mark Sweeney

1B/OF

1991

Chris Turner

C

1991

Anthony Chavez

RP

1992

Jeff Schmidt

RP

1992

Bill Simas

RP

1992

Jamie Burke

C

1993

Todd Greene

C

1993

Aaron Guiel

OF

1993

Ryan Hancock

RP

1993

Andrew Lorraine

SP/RP

1993

Bret Hemphill

C

1994

Jason Dickson

SP

1994

Mike Holtz

RP

1994

Justin Baughman

2B/SS

1995

Trent Durrington

2B

1995-96

Juan Alvarez

RP

1995

Brian Cooper

SP

1995

Jarrod Washburn

SP

1995

Ramon Ortiz

SP

1996

Brandon Puffer

RP

1996-97

Jerrod Riggan

RP

1996

Greg Jones

RP

1997-98

Doug Nickle

RP

1997

Scot Shields

RP

1997

Matt Wise

RP

1997

Alfredo Amezaga

OF

1999

Tom Gregorio

C

1999

Gary Johnson

OF

1999

Robb Quinlan

1B/3B

1999

Dusty Bergman

RP

1999

John Lackey

SP

1999

Francisco Rodriguez

RP

1999

Tommy Murphy

OF

2000

Joel Peralta

SP

2000

Angel Guzman

RP

2001

Sergio Mitre

SP/RP

2001

Carmen Pignatiello

RP

2001

Felix Sanchez

RP

2001

Dontrelle Willis

SP

2001

Ronny Cedeno

2B/SS

2002

Robinson Chirinos

C

2002

Micah Hoffpauir

OF

2002

Felix Pie

OF

2002

Geovany Soto

C

2002

Randy Wells

SP

2002

Rich Hill

SP/RP

2002-03

Ricky Nolasco

SP

2002

Ryan O'Malley

SP

2002

Clay Rapada

RP

2002-03

Jae Kuk Ryu

RP

2002, 2004

Andy Sisco

RP

2002

Jose Reyes

C

2003

Rocky Cherry

RP

2003

Sean Marshall

RP

2003

Adalberto Mendez

SP

2003

Billy Petrick

RP

2003, 2006

Luis Montanez

OF

2004

Jerry Blevins

RP

2004, 2006

Darin Downs

RP

2004-06

Mitch Atkins

RP

2005

Donnie Veal

RP

2005

Russ Canzler

1B/OF

2006

Wellington Castillo

C

2006

Steve Clevenger

C

2006-07

Tyler Colvin

OF

2006

Blake Lalli

1B

2006

Jose Ceda

RP

2006

Jeff Samardzija

SP

2006

Josh Donaldson

3B

2007

Brandon Guyer

OF

2007

Josh Vitters

3B

2007-08

Al Alburqueque

RP

2007

Alberto Cabrera

RP

2007

Marcus Hatley

RP

2007-08

Blake Parker

RP

2007

Tony Campana

OF

2008

Ryan Flaherty

2B/3B

2008

Marwin Gonzalez

Util

2008

Josh Harrison

2B/3B

2008

Jeff Beliveau

RP

2008

Chris Carpenter

RP

2008

Andrew Cashner

SP

2008

Casey Coleman

SP/RP

2008

Erik Hamren

RP

2008

Jay Jackson

RP

2008

Justin Bour

1B

2009

Brett Jackson

OF

2009

Logan Watkins

2B

2009

Brooks Raley

SP/RP

2009

Chris Rusin

SP/RP

2009

Arismendy Alcantara

OF

2010

Matt Szczur

OF

2010

Dallas Beeler

SP

2010

Eric Jokisch

RP

2010

Javier Baez

2B

2011

Wilson Contreras

C

2011

Rafael Lopez

C

2011

Andrew McKirahan

RP

2011

Tony Zych

RP

2011

Albert Almora

OF

2012

Jeimer Candelario

3B

2012

Marco Hernandez

2B/3B

2012

Dan Vogelbach

1B

2012

Pierce Johnson

RP

2012

Felix Pena

RP

2012

Kris Bryant

3B

2013

Zack Godley

SP/RP

2013

Rob Zastryzny

RP

2013

Kyle Schwarber

OF

2014

David Dahl

OF

2015

Tyler Matzek

SP

2015

  Comments