The 2014 Reno Aces tied a franchise record with 81 wins, matching the output of the 2012 Aces team that went on to win the Pacific Coast League Championship and Triple-A National Championship.
For the most part, offense was the name of the game for the Aces this year. They flirted with several records set by the 2011 and 2012 Aces teams. Reno finished among PCL leaders in: hits (1st – 1,480), average (2nd – .293), doubles (2nd – 296), triples (2nd – 51), OBP (2nd – .359), runs (2nd -790), total bases (3rd – 2,259), OPS (3rd – .806) and walks (T-5th – 510).
Several Aces put up big numbers at the plate, so let’s take a look at where they stack up among franchise single-season leaders and all-time ranks.
First a look at a few milestones that were hit this year. Both Nick Evans and Aaron Cunningham hit the 1,000 career hits threshold. Evans reached 1,000 hits with a fourth inning double in a 6-4 win against El Paso on April 13. Cunningham’s 1,000th hit was a fourth inning single on June 15th in Memphis. Veteran catcher Bobby Wilson, mostly known for his work behind the dish, collected career RBI number 500 with an eighth inning single in Nashville on June 12.
Several other milestones were hit this year, including Danny Dorn’s 500th career RBI, Bo Schultz’s 25th career win, Ender Inciarte’s 100th career double, and so on.
Looking at the all-time records for the Aces, several players from this year’s team climbed the ranks to the top, or near the top.
Charles Brewer is now the franchise leader in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. Brewer earned his 24th career Aces win with a dominant eight-inning, 10-strikeout effort over Omaha on August 27th. Zach Kroenke was the previous record-holder with 23 wins with Reno. Brewer’s 399 2/3 innings leads the way, and his 307 strikeouts is also tops. The closest in strikeouts is Kroenke with 201, then Mike Bolsinger with 185 (more on him in a minute).
Kudos to fellow pitcher Joe Paterson who has pitched the most games in Aces history. He set the mark on July 10th against Las Vegas with his 132nd appearance. In all, Paterson has pitched in 152 games with Reno, spanning three years.
A guy to keep an eye on is Bolsinger. The right-hander has had a lot of success in Reno in just 35 career games. Bolsinger has 15 wins and 185 strikeouts in those 35 games. With a solid year in 2015, Bolsinger would threaten Brewer’s wins and strikeouts marks, despite being well short in innings pitched.
Mike Jacobs, who has become a Reno fan favorite, closed in on a number of records held by Cole Gillespie – the franchise’s leader in games played with 374. One record Jacobs did break was runs batted in. In a must-win game for the Aces on August 31 in Sacramento, Jacobs hit a solo home run to give Reno a 1-0 lead in the second inning. That run was RBI number 222 with the Aces, breaking Gillespie’s record.
Jacobs is second all-time in several offensive categories including: At-bats (1,163), runs (191), hits (343), doubles (69), home runs (55) and total bases (577). Jacobs has compiled those numbers in 318 games with the Aces.
A number of Aces moved into single-season top-10 lists, here they are:
Batting Average – Andy Marte, 5th – .329 & Nick Ahmed, 7th – .312
Hits – Andy Marte, 3rd – 155 & Mike Jacobs, 4th – 150
RBI – Mike Jacobs, 1st – 97 & Andy Marte, 6th – 80
Home Runs – Andy Marte, T-4th – 19 & Mike Jacobs, T-4th – 19
Triples – Mike Freeman, 9th – 7
Doubles – Mike Jacobs, 4th – 37 & Andy Marte, 8th – 32
Games Pitched – Joe Paterson, T-1st – 56, Kevin Munson, T-1st – 56, Jess Todd, 5th – 53
Innings Pitched – Bo Schultz, 7th – 135.1
ERA (minimum 115 IP) – Charles Brewer, 4th – 4.99
Wins – Bo Schultz, 5th – 10
Saves – Jake Barrett, 2nd – 16 & Matt Stites, 5th – 12
The 2014 Reno Aces came up one game short of another Pacific Coast League Championship, but the team led by manager Phil Nevin certainly left its mark in franchise history.
The two teams with the best record (81-63) in the Pacific Coast League will meet in the first round of the PCL Playoffs. Their paths to this point were quite different as Las Vegas clinched their postseason spot about two weeks ago. Reno, on the other hand, took it down to the final day of the regular season in Sacramento. Nine innings wasn’t enough as the two teams went to extra innings. It was in the top of the tenth when Nick Ahmed delivered Mike Freeman to give the Aces a 2-1 lead, and eventual win.
The Aces turned in an improbable run at the end of the regular season, winning 11 of 13 games and 4 of 5 in Sacramento, one of the best home teams in the league. A high-powered offense along with solid pitching down the stretch led the Aces to their third Pacific Northern Division title in the last four years. While MLB-rehabbers Chris Owings and A.J. Pollock will no longer be in the lineup on a daily basis, Reno’s offense shouldn’t skip a beat. They were second in the PCL in hitting, finishing mere percentage points behind Salt Lake with a .293 average.
They’ll have a tall task as the 51s feature six pitchers ranked among Baseball America’s top 30 prospects in the New York Mets organization. That includes starters Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard and Cory Mazzoni. Two position players on the 51s roster also made the list in outfielder Cesar Puello and catcher Kevin Plawecki.
Las Vegas has a tough offense to deal with as well, led by Andrew Brown and Allan Dykstra. Brown hit .283 with 21 home runs, 26 doubles and 69 RBI in 103 games with the 51s. Dykstra hit .280 with 16 home runs, 23 doubles and 74 RBI in 117 games. The 51s prodigious offense finished first in runs, home runs, total bases and walks.
Game 1 in Las Vegas: LHP Clayton Richard (1-0, 4.26) vs. RHP Rafael Montero (6-4, 3.60)
Game 2 in Las Vegas: LHP Andrew Chafin (5-6, 5.34) vs. RHP Matthew Bowman (3-2, 3.47)
Game 3 in Reno: RHP Bradin Hagens (1-1, 2.55) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 4.60)
Game 4 in Reno: RHP Charles Brewer (8-10, 4.99) vs. TBA – If necessary
Game 5 in Reno: TBA vs. TBA – If necessary
By: Mike Stamm
The Omaha Storm Chasers come to Reno for the first time this season, opening the final regular season series at Aces Ballpark. Omaha is currently leading the PCL American North by two games. The last meeting between the two teams occurred in May of the 2013, and the two teams split the series. Here are a few things to look for when Omaha comes to town:
- Omaha is coming off a series split in Tacoma and leads the American Northern Division by two games over Oklahoma City.
- Carlos Peguero is currently second in the Pacific Coast League with 28 home runs, and Francisco Pena is tied for third with 26.
- The Aces are currently two games behind the Pacific Northern Division leaders, the Sacramento River Cats. With nine games left of the 2014 regular season the Aces are looking to make a late push for the playoffs.
By: Edgar Montoya
The Iowa Cubs are in town for four games starting tonight at Aces Ballpark for their only matchup against Reno this season. The last meeting between the two teams occurred in Reno during the early months of the 2013 regular season where the two clubs split that four-game series. Here are a few things to look for when Iowa comes to town:
- 3B Kris Bryant is the No. 2 Prospect for the Chicago Cubs according to Baseball America and you can find his name across the minor league leaderboards. He is tied for first in all of the minor leagues in Home Runs with 40 and leads the minors with 103 RBIs. In 57 games with Triple-A Iowa he has 18 Home Runs and 45 RBIs this season.
- Iowa player/coach Manny Ramirez has 2,574 hits and 555 Home Runs in the major leagues, with time spent with the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. Ramirez is a career .312 big league hitter, but is only hitting .206 in 21 games with Iowa.
- Reno is currently 3.0 games back in the PCL Pacific Northern Division behind the Sacramento River Cats. With only 13 games left in the in the 2014 regular season, this home stand is going to be pivotal for Reno to make a push for the lead in the division.
By: Edgar Montoya
The Sacramento River Cats are in Reno for the second time this season to open a five-game series at Aces Ballpark tonight. The two clubs have played each other six times, including the first meeting on the 4th of July Weekend and Sacramento has a 4-2 record against Reno. Sacramento’s lead in the PCL Northern Division has shrunk to two games since the last time the River Cats were in Reno. Here’s a few things to look for when Sacramento comes to town:
- Reno is currently 2.0 games behind Sacramento in the division. The two clubs play 10 games against each other in the last month of the season and it starts with this five-game stretch in Reno. This is a vital series for Reno if they want to take the lead in the division.
- OF Shane Peterson is still across the PCL batting leaderboards. Peterson leads the league in at-bats (456) and now leads the league in Runs (83), Hits (143), and Doubles (32) as well.
- Sacramento’s lead in the PCL Northern Division is due in large part to its ability to get men on base. The River Cats are among the league leaders in OBP (3rd, .361) behind Las Vegas and Reno. They also rank second in the PCL in RBIs with 589, trailing only Las Vegas.
By: Edgar Montoya
The Albuquerque Isotopes come to Aces Ballpark this weekend for a four-game series in Reno marking the fourth and final meeting in 2014 between The Aces and Isotopes. These two clubs split the first series against each other and Reno won both series in Albuquerque. Here are a few things to look for when Albuquerque comes to town:
- OF Joc Pederson is the No. 1 prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers according to Baseball America and has been knocking on the door to the big leagues all year. Pederson has been a terror for opposing pitchers this season, and he leads the league in OPS posting a 1.039. He is also among the league leaders in Runs (2nd, 69), Home Runs (2nd, 21), and batting average (8th, .323).
- RHP Zach Lee is the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America. Lee has struggled this season with a 6-8 record and a 4.98 ERA. Lee is currently 0-1 against Reno this season.
- Albuquerque is currently second in the PCL in Home Runs with 123, but the Isotopes are also among the league leaders in Strikeouts (3rd, 882) this season.
By: Edgar Montoya
The Tacoma Rainiers come to Reno tonight for the second time this season, opening up a four-game series at Aces Ballpark. This meeting marks the last time these two clubs will meet in the 2014 regular season, with Reno currently leading the season series, 7-5. The Aces won a series in Tacoma and have split two series against The Rainiers. Here are a few things to look for when Tacoma comes to town:
- RHP Taijuan Walker, who will start game two tomorrow, is the Seattle Mariners’ No. 1 Prospect according to Baseball America. Walker has spent some time in the big leagues and has a 3-1 record with a 3.79 ERA pitching for Tacoma this season.
- 2B Ty Kelly is among the league-leaders in on-base percentage (5th, .403) and walks (3rd, 62), all while still managing to hit .275.
- Tacoma is currently 22-25 on the road, but has won six out of their last 10 games. On the other side, Reno has lost six out of their last 10.
By: Edgar Montoya
The Reno Aces and the Las Vegas 51’s open a four-game series at Aces Ballpark tonight, marking the last time the two clubs will meet in the 2014 regular season. Reno won their most recent series against the 51’s in Las Vegas and the 51’s won a series in Reno early in the season. The two clubs have also split a series. Here are a few things to look for as the four-game series opens up:
1. Las Vegas leads the Pacific Coast League in Runs (583), Home Runs (117), and RBIs (537) while hitting with a .284 average as a team.
2. RHP Noah Syndergaard is the New York Mets’ No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America. Syndergaard has started 16 games for the 51’s and has compiled a 7-4 record with a 5.31 ERA.
3. Las Vegas currently has the best record in the PCL at 53-38 and leads the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern Division with a 9.0 game lead over the El Paso Chihuahuas.
By: Edgar Montoya
The PCL Pacific Northern leading Sacramento River Cats come into town for the first time this season on The 4th of July to kick off Independence Day Weekend. This three game series is the start of 16 games between the two teams in the final two months of the season. Here are a few things to look for when Sacramento comes into town this weekend:
- RHP Alex Leon, who will start the series opener tonight, is among the league-leaders in wins this season with eight in 16 starts. In his last ten games he has a 6-1 record with a 4.66 ERA.
- OF Shane Peterson leads the league in at-bats this season with 343 while hitting .308 for the River Cats.
- Reno is currently 2.5 games behind Sacramento, so this series could prove to be crucial for both clubs in the PCL Pacific Northern Division.
The El Paso Chihuahuas are in town for four games starting today in their second and final visit to Reno this season. The Aces and Chihuahuas split both of their first two series this season, one in Reno to start the year and one in Tucson a week later where the teams played because Southwest University Park wasn’t completed. Here are a few names to look for on El Paso’s roster when you come down to the ballpark this weekend:
1. C Adam Moore is currently hitting .319 for the Chihuahuas, which is good for the top spot in the Pacific Coast League among catchers. Teammate Rocky Gale is actually ahead of Moore with a .321 average, but Gale doesn’t qualify yet because he’s only played 18 games for El Paso this season,
2. OF Jeff Francoeur has 1,227 major league games under his belt, with time spent with Atlanta, the New York Mets, Texas, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Francoeur is a career .263 hitter in the big leagues with 140 home runs and 618 RBI. This is his first season in the Padres’ organization, and he’s hitting .273 with El Paso so far this season.
3. Relief pitchers Bobby LaFromboise and Hector Ambriz are second and third in the Pacific Coast League in appearances this season. LaFromboise has appeared in 26 games and is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA and three saves. Ambriz is 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA and four saves in 25 appearances. They trail only Donovan Hand of Nashville, who has appeared in 27 games this year.