The city of Asheville, N.C., has played a pivotal role in the development of many former and current Colorado Rockies. On Wednesday, the Rockies ensured that the scenic North Carolina community would continue to be a vital part of Colorado’s baseball future.
The Rockies and the Asheville Tourists announced that the two organizations have extended their partnership with a new Player Development Contract that will run through 2018. The Tourists have been affiliated with the Rockies since 1994, the first season Colorado had a full allotment of minor league affiliates.
The relationship between the Rockies and the Tourists is the longest between any Major League team and its current affiliate in the South Atlantic League. The relationship is also the longest between the Rockies and any of their minor league affiliates. Asheville is the only full-season low Class A affiliate in Colorado franchise history.
“The Colorado Rockies are extremely excited about extending and continuing our partnership with the Asheville Tourists. The commitment both organizations have to each other plays an important role in the development of our players,” said Rockies Senior Director of Player Development Zach Wilson. “We are thankful and honored to be associated with the Tourists and the City of Asheville and look forward to continuing to grow and cultivate our relationship together.”
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In recent years, Asheville has featured and assisted in the development of several individual players who currently put on a Rockies jersey and represent the Mile High City throughout North America. Those players include Nolan Arenado (2010), Chad Bettis (2010), Cristhian Adames (2011), Tyler Anderson (2012), Trevor Story (2012), Eddie Butler (2013), and Carlos Estevez (2014).
“Extending the affiliation agreement between the Tourists and the Colorado Rockies is another step in enriching the longest tenured partnership in the South Atlantic League,” said Tourists president Brian DeWine. “I am happy and proud to continue the Tourists relationship with the Rockies through the 2018 season.”
The Tourists have enjoyed plenty of South Atlantic League success since 2012, which was the last time the Rockies and Tourists extended their partnership. Asheville won the South Atlantic League championship in 2012 and 2014. In 2015, the Tourists won the Southern division pennant prior to falling in the league championship series for a runner-up finish.