The Salt Lake Bees, Triple-A affiliate of the Angels, and the Aces are set to square off in a four game series beginning tonight.
Enright started 42 games for the Aces between 2011-12. He compiled a 17-11 record with a 5.52 ERA across 233.0 IP in his career with Reno.
The 27-year-old ranked second in the PCL in wins last season (13), tied for first in games started (29) and tied for fourth in innings pitched (163.0). He also tied for fourth in walks (70) and home runs allowed (22).
In Enright’s first start of 2013, he gave up only one earned run on five hits through 5.1 innings. The lone run he gave up was a homer. A member of the Angels 40-man roster, Enright struck out seven while allowing a walk. He did not earn a decision in the game, but Salt Lake went on to win 9-5 over the Tucson Padres.
Aces fans will also recognize RHP Billy Buckner, C Luke Carlin, C John Hester and OF Trent Oeltjen on the opposing squad.
Buckner compiled a 12-4 record with a 3.39 ERA in 25 games with Reno between 2009-10. He was named the D-backs 2009 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, a year he finished by throwing nine-straight quality starts. Buckner tossed the first complete game in franchise history on July 31, 2009.
Carlin served as Reno’s Opening Day catcher in the inaugural 2009 season. He enjoyed a career-year for the Aces that season, setting a new career high in batting average (.321), hits (76), home runs (7) and RBI (35).
Hester made his Triple-A debut with Reno in 2009, and went on to spend time with the squad from 2009-11. In 139 games with Reno, he compiled a .335 average with 169 hits and 100 RBI.
Oeltjen also had a career-year for Reno in his ninth Minor League season in 2009, setting career-highs in home runs (10) and RBI (64). He also registered 20+ stolen bases for the fifth time in his career.
Tune in to KPLY 630 AM to hear all of the action. First pitch is set for 5:35 p.m. PT for each game of the series.
Former Aces players have continued to be on the move during the offseason.
INF/DH Mike Jacobs, who batted .279 in 101 games for the Aces last season, was signed to a Minor League contract by the Mariners with an invitation to Spring Training. Primarily used as a 1B/DH, Jacobs led Reno in home runs, with 18. He was also a contributing factor in the Aces’ playoff run, batting .273 and smacking 4 home runs during the PCL playoffs.
Jacobs could end up spending a significant amount of time with Triple-A Tacaoma in the Mariner’s system. The Aces first play the Rainiers in a road series May 3-6, before facing the squad a thome May 24-27.
INF Rusty Ryal was signed to a Minor League deal by the Dodgers. Ryal, who also spent time with the Aces in 2009, batted .241 across 64 games for Reno last season before his release from the D-backs organization. He finished the season with Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves system, where he batted .287 in 28 games.
Reno plays the Dodger’s Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes in a lone road series this season May 16-19.
OF Cole Gillespie was signed to a Minor League contract by the San Francisco Giants on Dec. 22. Gillespie, who played 374 games for Reno across 4 seasons, earned a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award following the 2011 season. The Oregon native batted .308 for the Aces last season. His season came to an early end in late August, when he was placed on the 7-day DL to undergo surgery. Gillespie was released by Arizona in September.
The Aces take on San Francisco’s Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies at home April 25-28.
A day earlier, the Padres signed INF Cody Ransom to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. Ransom, who played in 111 games for the Aces throughout the last two seasons, hit .220 with 11 home runs at the Major League level with the D-backs and Brewers in 2012. Reno will face the Triple-A Tucson Padres 3 times in the month of June (June 1-4 and 22-25 at home and June 14-17 on the road).
The D-backs have signed several other Minor League Free Agents since our last update, who have been assigned to Reno.
RHP Nelson Figueroa, who pitched against the Aces in the Triple-A National Championship, and RHP Warner Madrigal were signed to Minor League contracts with an invitation to Spring Training in December.
C Mark Reed, who played in 22 games for Reno before finishing out the season as Arizona’s bullpen catcher, was also signed to a Minor League contract. He has been assigned to Double-A Mobile.
The trio, who all began 2012 in Reno, played for a different club by the end of the season.
Jakubauskas was picked up by the Toronto organization, and split time between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas. He posted a 2-3 record with a 4.18 ERA and 28 strikeouts through 51.2 innings pitched for Reno. Jakubauskas also played for Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter league this offseason.
Lane, who entered 2012 as his first season as a relief pitcher, joined the Sugarland Skeeters of the Independent Atlantic League following his release from the Arizona organization. He was named SUgarland’s first-ever MVP following the season, for his contributions as the ace of the pitching staff and his efforts in the middle of the batting order.
Stange was picked up by the Padres organization after his release from Arizona. He spent time with Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson to finish out the 2012 season.
Happy birthday to Jakubauskas, Lane and Stange!
Saturday, December 8, marks “Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day” (not kidding–Google it). The holiday encourages participants to act as though they have been transported to the present day (December 8, 2012) from another time (past or future).
In honor of Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day, here is a look at some players from past Aces seasons, and an update on what they are doing today.
LHP Travis Blackley (2009) became a free agent following his season with the Aces. He began the 2012 season in the San Francisco organization, before he was claimed off waivers by Oakland in mid-May. The 30-year-old compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.86 ERA for the A’s.
Reno fan-favorite OF Trent Oeltjen (2009) batted .294 for Triple-A Albuquerque in the Dodgers system during the 2012 season. The Sydney, Australia, native missed Albuquerque’s trip to Reno due to a stint on the DL. Oeltjen spent part of October with Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League, where he batted .227 across 13 games. The 29-year-old elected free agency following the 2012 season, and he recently signed a Minor League deal with the Angels.
INF Ryan Roberts (2009-10) split 2009-10 between Reno and MLB Arizona before he became a permanent fixture on the D-backs roster for 2011. “Tatman” began the 2012 season with Arizona, and then was traded to Tampa Bay for Reno INF Tyler Bortnick shortly before the trade deadline. Roberts went on to bat .214 for the Rays with 18 RBIs and 16 extra base hits.
INF Andy Tracy (2011) spent 2012 as the Manager of the Class-A Short Season Williamsport Crosscutters. In November, it was announced he was promoted to be the Phillies Minor League Hitting Coordinator.
Are there any past Aces players you’ve been wondering about? Let us know, and we will try to track them down! For updates on 2012 Aces players, visit the 2012 Aces Gallery.
Big day at the ballpark on Saturday. Single-game tickets go on-sale for the first time at 10 a.m. You can call (334-7000), visit the website (renoaces.com) or come on down to the ballpark. The club has extended its dynamic prices across all seating sections this season to give fans the chance to find great value. On Saturday EVERY TICKET for EVERY GAME will be available for its lowest-possible price. Opening Day, July 3, all the giveaways, fireworks, you name it.
Also Saturday, all items in the team store are 25 percent off. That includes exclusive, authentic player-worn jerseys. Get down to the store on Saturday. The jerseys are flying off the shelves.
And now onto the links…
While much of the Aces roster is in big-league camp, the rest of the crew reported this week. And according to Director of Player Development Mike Bell, it looks like the guys were itching to compete and prepare for the upcoming season.
Former Aces pitcher Barry Enright talks about jalapeno chips, and former Aces outfielder Chris Young reveals his adoration for Chik-fil-A.
Nice look at Wade Miley, who was dominant in his time with the Aces last season.
Pretty good day at the yard for Aces alum Brandon Allen. Grand slam. Two-run double. Seven runs batted in. My bad.
D-backs Ink Ruiz to Minor League Deal
Big, late signing for the Diamondbacks that could potentially have a really nice effect on the Aces’ lineup. Arizona signed 2009 PCL MVP Randy Ruiz to a Minor League contract.
This from Baseball America: Randy Ruiz won the Pacific Coast League’s MVP award in ’09, when he batted .320/.392/.584 with 25 home runs for Las Vegas. He latched on with Rakuten of Japan’s Pacific League in ’10 and put up a .784 OPS with 12 homers in 81 games, though he fell on harder times in ’11, batting .195 with 44 strikeouts in 128 at-bats. The 34-year-old Ruiz is one of baseball’s most traveled players, having played for eight organizations, domestic and international, in the last six years.
The Nevada baseball team jumped out to a good start to the 2012 season, winning five of its first six games and claiming a series victory over UNLV. Don’t miss out on the annual exhibition game between the Wolf Pack and the Aces, with proceeds benefiting the Nevada Dugout Club.
In the latest edition of “Catching Up With…” we talked to outfielder Evan Frey, who earned a May promotion to Reno last season and became the everyday lead-off hitter in a potent Aces lineup.
Frey made the most of his first taste at the Triple-A level, batting .275 with 25 extra-base hits, 66 runs scored and a .369 on-base percentage.
We asked Frey about roaming the Aces Ballpark outfield, playing winter ball in the Mexican League and learning the art of bunting from one of the game’s greatest bunters–Aces Manager Brett Butler.
Not Just Baseball…Aceball: You struggled in Double-A early in the season, but it seemed like you found your stroke after your promotion. What changed for you?
Evan Frey: To tell you the truth, I felt really good at the plate in Mobile, but the numbers didn’t really reflect that. When I got the chance to come to Reno I looked at it as a fresh start in a new setting, and I think it just made me relax a little bit and start fresh.
NJBA: What is it like playing in a big center field like the one at Aces Ballpark? How does it differ from playing left field here?
EF: I actually like it because there is a lot of room to roam around, and it makes things interesting. It is a challenge every day to know where you need to play certain hitters, but if you aren’t protecting the right-center gap it could be trouble! As far as left field goes, I really like it in Reno for the fact that the huge wall behind me makes things interesting. It increases the opportunity to make some great plays out there.
NJBA: We saw you getting to the park early seemingly every day to work on bunting with manager Brett Butler. How did that extra work improve your game?
EF: Bugsy is a great asset for me for the fact that we are very similar players. I went into a funk there for a little while with bunting and after we got out there and started working on some things I became very comfortable. It is at the point now where I look to bunt every time I step to the plate, looking to get on that way to have the big guys behind me drive me in and get some quick runs.
NJBA: You spent about a month in the Mexican League this winter. Tell us a little bit about that experience, and how it compares with playing in the States?
EF: The Mexican League was quite the experience. The fans are very passionate about their teams there and they expect production. That was my first time playing winter ball, and I really enjoyed playing along side those guys in their homeland. I have a new understanding for how the foreign players feel playing in the United States during our season. I would love to get the chance to play somewhere like that again.
NJBA:You grew up and went to school in the midwest. How does Reno compare to where you grew up as well as other places you’ve played?
EF: I really enjoy Reno. The weather is amazing, and the ballpark is the best place to play in the minor leagues. From the fan support to the way that the players are treated on a day-to-day basis is unreal. It is truly a first-class set up, and I’m fortunate to be able to be a part of it.
NJBA: There’s a lot of outfield depth in the Arizona system. What are you doing this offseason to help you stand out in spring training?
EF: There is and that is a good situation to be in. It makes you stay focused all the time knowing that there is plenty of players to do the same job, and you don’t want to be the odd man out. I have been working out and staying in shape to put myself in the best possible shape to have a good spring training and another successful season.
NJBA: Are you doing any exciting non-baseball things this offseason?
EF: After getting home from Mexico, I really have just been sticking around home and spending time with my family and friends. Being away so long throughout the year it is good to see them as much as possible. I have done a little bit of traveling around to help with baseball camps at a few places. But really nothing all that exciting.
NJBA: How did you enjoy the experience of participating in the PCL playoffs?
EF: The playoffs were awesome! I had a lot of fun with that. I wish that things could have turned out a little bit different obviously, but thats just the way that the game works. I hope we are in that situation again next year and have the chance to change the outcome.
For our second edition of our “Catching Up With” series, we tracked down Aces and D-backs outfielder Cole Gillespie.
Gillespie came to the D-backs organization in a 2009 trade with Milwaukee, and has split time between Reno and Arizona since then. In parts of three seasons with the Aces, he hit a combined .297 with 25 home runs and 155 RBIs. He also set a D-backs Triple-A record with 16 triples in 2011.
In 50 games with the D-backs in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Gillespie hit a respectable .236 with three homers and 16 RBIs. He capped his 2011 big-league stint with a ninth-inning grand slam against the Dodgers on Sept. 28 at Chase Field.
We caught up with Cole and asked him about the fans in Reno, his time in the Mexican winter league, and his plans for this offseason.
CG:I would put Clayton Kershaw right up there at the top. His curveball is nasty.
NJBA: You hit a grand slam in your final at-bat with the D-backs this year. How did that feel?
CG: Unreal. I wish it would have given us the lead or helped clinch homefield in the playoffs, but it was still very special and something I’ll remember forever. Hopefully there’ll be more to come.
NJBA: What was your reaction to being named to the Rawlings Gold Glove team for all of the minor leagues? Is your defense something you work on throughout the season?
CG: I was shocked at first. I didn’t even know Rawlings offered that award at the minor league level. But to be one of three outfielders in all the minors chosen for this award is quite an honor.
NJBA: Tell the fans a little about what it was like to play in Mexico this winter.
Throughout the winter, we’ll do our best to keep you updated on some of our favorite former players, starting with 2011 right-handed pitcher Barry Enright.
Barry split time between Reno and Arizona in 2011, finishing with a 9-5 record and a very respectable (for Aces Ballpark) 5.21 ERA. Of the six Aces pitchers with at least 10 starts in 2011, Enright was tops in ERA and strikeouts (86).
Perhaps as importantly, Enright delighted fans with his positive demeanor and approachability. He’s also active on Twitter; you can follow him on Twitter here.
Without further ado, here’s the first installment of our offseason “Catching Up With” series.
Not Just Baseball…Aceball: How did Reno compare to other minor league cities you’ve played in?
Barry Enright: Reno was an amazing place to play. Tough as a pitcher sometimes, but the all-around experience with the fans, the beautiful ballpark, and the way we are treated it is at the top of the list for places I’ve ever played.
NJBA: What was your favorite memory of your time here?
BE: My favorite memory was probably seeing how hard our team played towards the end of the year and our experience in playoffs. The fans and Aces personnel embraced us each and everyday and I really had fun with that.
NJBA: While clearly different than the MLB playoffs, how did you enjoy pitching at Aces Ballpark in Game 2 of the PCL playoffs?
BE: Pitching in the playoffs at anytime anywhere is a adrenaline rush and amazing experience. Walking off the mound to a standing ovation from the Reno fans in game 2 was a time I’ll never forget.
NJBA: Do you have a different approach pitching in high altitude cities opposed to those parks that are at sea level?
BE: This biggest challenge pitching in a high altitude ballpark like Reno is not changing who you are. Going through a year in Reno with the pitching difficulties is just as much a mental challenge as it is physical. It makes you a stronger person and player. I know my time in Reno will help me in my journey in baseball. People don’t realize the challenge it is until they go through it themselves, but like I’ve always told people if you can pitch in Reno and have success you can pitch and have success in the big leagues. Sometimes the tough days just gotta pick yourself up and dust those shoulders off!
NJBA: Tell us a little bit about your time in the Venezuelan Winter League.
BE: It sure was an experience during my time in Venezuela. Scary at times because it is dangerous but I was well taken care of. My team La Guaira was a blast. Our fans were the best and embraced me every time out on the mound. It’s different because there are drums playing, whistles and horns being blown. It is such a different culture down there. They love baseball very much and are die hard fans! I have been very blessed that baseball has allowed me to travel all over the world to play.
NJBA: Do you have any big non-baseball plans for this offseason?
BE: I always like to travel. I usually like to take at least one trip during the offseason after a long year. This year I guess we could count Venezuela haha. Also just got my backyard all done its time to start inviting people over to enjoy it with me! Other than that there are a few things on the agenda but can’t spoil those! People will see soon!
NJBA: How about baseball. Can you tell us a little bit about how you get in shape for spring training after a long season and then a winter ball season as well?
BE: Last year was a tough year for me. First year where there were a lot of highs and lows. It was a roller coaster ride at times but makes me work that much harder this offseason. Nothing comes easy and during the off season I train hard mentally and physically to put myself in the best position going into next season. This year I’m excited about because it’s going to be a big challenge for me, and I’ve never backed down from a challenge! Love to Compete. Big year in 2012!
NJBA: Are you rolling out any new Twitter contests for next season?
BE: As we all know I sure do love twitter. It’s been fun because all my followers are always so responsive and are very supportive. I like to share with people who I am as a person not always as a baseball player, which helps me to connect with people and share my interests. As for twitter contests, I plan on doing one once I reach 10,000 followers. I’m getting really close, so hopefully soon. Gonna give away some cool stuff! Hopefully get some people out to Salt River (the D-backs spring training complex) for some games and a full D-backs experience. We will have to wait and see!
Today, the Mobile BayBears–the D-backs’ Double-A affiliate–were named minor league team of the year by Baseball America.
After winning the Southern League championship, having almost its entire starting rotation appear on top prospect lists, and sending slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt straight to the big leagues, the BayBears certainly had the credentials.
But what does this mean for the Aces next season?
Who knows. It’s way too early in the hot stove season to see where all of the BayBears’ prospects will end up, but we do know they were loaded this year, and the Aces should see at least a few members of the 2011 minor league team of the year on their 2012 roster.
To illustrate how loaded Mobile was this past season, consider this: of the seven D-backs minor league pitchers in Baseball America‘s Top 10 prospect list, five of them pitched in Mobile this season (Trevor Bauer, 1; Tyler Skaggs, 3; Jarrod Parker, 4; Wade Miley, 9; Patrick Corbin, 10). Add outfielder A.J. Pollock–named the D-backs #6 prospect–and you have the minor league team of the year.
Of that impressive group, only Miley saw time in Reno during the 2011 season, finishing 4-1 with a 3.74 ERA in eight starts before being promoted to Arizona. But next year could be a vastly different story.
While we have no idea how the dominoes will fall to create the 2012 roster, we do know this much: it’s an exciting time to be a part of the D-backs minor league system.