We continue with our offseason look within the Dodgers farm system by taking a trip to the Inland Empire of California. The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes are a single-A advanced team founded in 1966, and they play in the California League. While the Great Lakes Loons are a low-A ball team, the Quakes are the next level up in the hierarchy of minor league baseball. The Chattanooga Lookouts, which we took a look at last time, have always held the same name, but the Quakes have had a series of monikers throughout their years of play:
- Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (1993 – present)
- San Bernardino Spirit (1987–1992)
- Ventura County Gulls (1986)
- Lodi Crushers (1984)
- Lodi Dodgers (1976–1983)
- Lodi Orioles (1974–1975)
- Lodi Lions (1973)
- Lodi Orions (1972)
- Lodi Padres (1970–1971)
- Lodi Crushers (1966–1969)
- Salinas Indians (1965)
- Salinas Mets (1963–1964)
- Visalia White Sox (1962)
- Visalia A’s (1960–1961)
- Visalia Redlegs (1957–1959)
- Visalia Stars (1953)
- Visalia Cubs (1946–1956)
The Dodgers and Quakes agreed to a two-year player development contract for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Quakes were affiliated with the Angels prior.
Ken Griffey Jr. played for San Bernardino in 1988 when they were the Spirit and affiliated with Seattle. He played in 58 games that year, hit 11 homeruns, 42 RBI, and had a .338 batting average before being promoted to AA later that season. Over 60 alums of the Lodi California League franchise made it to the Major Leagues, including current Angels’ General Manager Bill Stoneman, as well as Candy Maldonado, Jeffrey “Hack Man” Leonard, Mike Caldwell, and Dodger Stadium Great Fernando Valenzuela. Maldonado had 25 HR and 102 RBI for the 1980 Lodi Dodgers. Fernando Valenzuela’s first professional game that he was involved in with a United States-based team was with the Lodi Dodgers in 1979. He went 1-2 with a 1.12 ERA in 3 starts.
The Quakes play their home games at the Rancho Cucamonga Epicenter; opened in 1992. The park seats 6,200 fans. The mascot of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes is Tremor, the “Rallysaurus”.
In 1994 the Quakes won their only California League championship. In 2011 the Quakes finished with a record of 80-60 and clinched the California League South Division in both the first and second half. 80 wins was a new franchise record for the Quakes. Juan Bustabad, the California League Manager of the Year for 2011, will return for his second year with Rancho Cucamonga along with hitting coach Michael Boughton. The Quakes also led the California League in team batting average (.287), on-base percentage (.362), slugging percentage (.455) and runs scored (848). Pitching Coach Matt Herges will be promoted to Rancho Cucamonga from Rookie-level Arizona.
The Dodgers 5th Annual Winter Development Program begins this weekend at Dodger Stadium. 15 of the top Dodgers prospects will be in town for the week, and they will participate in workouts, community visits, seminars, and tours of the Los Angeles area. Don Mattingly, Tim Wallach, and Dave Hansen will be working with the players directly. The attending players are: Shawn Tolleson, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Castellanos, Griff Erickson, Tim Federowicz, Tyler Henson, Alfredo Silverio, Matt Wallach, Steven Ames, Michael Antonini, Stephen Fife, Josh Wall, Allen Webster and Chris Withrow, and Rubby De La Rosa who is recovering from Tommy John Surgery.
You can check out the Quakes official website where you can see their schedule for 2012.
We will be looking at the Ogden Raptors, Albuquerque Isotopes, and the Arizona League Dodgers in future posts, so stay tuned!