The Reno Aces, in conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks, have finalized their 2015 Opening Day roster. The Aces, champions of the Pacific Conference Championship Series last year, will carry 25 active players and six players on the disabled list when they open the season in Albuquerque on April 9 at 5:35 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Coming off a franchise-tying 81-63 record last season, the Aces squad will be headed by a strong rotation, veteran infield, and Arizona's biggest offseason splash, Cuban signee Yasmany Tomás.
Reno's starting rotation includes four players with Major League experience and another who fared well last year at Double-A Mobile. The rotation will consist of left-handers Vidal Nuño, Robbie Ray and Justin Marks, along with right-handers Allen Webster and A.J. Schugel.
Nuño, 27, was traded from the New York Yankees to Arizona last July for Brandon McCarthy. The southpaw did not win a game in 14 starts for the D-backs but pitched to a 3.76 ERA in 83 2/3 innings. Ray, 23, was also acquired by Arizona via trade. The lefty was part of a three-team deal that sent former Aces infielder Didi Gregorius to New York. Ray debuted in the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers at just 22 years old.
Marks, 27, was signed to a minor-league deal by the D-backs in November of 2014. He made his Major League debut with the Kansas City Royals on April 20, 2014. Webster, 25, was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Boston Red Sox on August 25, 2012, only to be shipped back to the NL West and Arizona this past winter. Webster compiled 19 appearances (18 starts) for the Red Sox over the last two seasons, going 6-5 with a 6.25 ERA.
Schugel, 25, rounds out the five-man starting rotation. The right-hander was 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 26 starts in 2014 for the Mobile BayBears.
The bullpen consists of eight pitchers, three of whom worked in relief for the Aces last season. Righties Willy Paredes, Jake Barrett, and 2014 PCL All-Star Derek Eitel all return to Reno. Eitel saw his 2014 season cut short just before the All-Star break due to injury, but managed an impressive 5-1 mark with a 2.70 ERA. Barrett became Reno's closer in late June after being promoted from Mobile, and in total, racked up 28 saves between both levels.
Newcomers Tim Crabbe, Julio DePaula, J.C. Ramirez, Matt Reynolds and left-hander Dan Runzler round out the bullpen. The latter four all have big league experience. Reynolds, a key contributor in the D-backs' bullpen in 2013, is coming off of Tommy John surgery. He missed all of last season and hasn't pitched competitively since June 9, 2013. Runzler was a member of the San Francisco Giants during their 2010 and 2012 World Series Championships.
The MLB experience carries from the mound to the plate, where both catchers – Blake Lalli and Matt Pagnozzi – have caught on the biggest stage. Lalli spent all of last season with Reno, hitting .275 in 93 games. Pagnozzi, 32, has seen time in the big leagues with St. Louis, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Houston and Milwaukee.
On the infield, returners Danny Dorn, Nick Evans and Garrett Weber are joined by newcomers Walter Ibarra, Jamie Romak and Danny Worth. Evans, Romak and Worth all spent time in the big leagues in 2014. Evans hit 13 homers last year between Reno and Arizona, and Romak crushed 24 long balls with Triple-A Albuquerque. Worth, anticipated to be the Opening Day shortstop, split time between Toledo and Detroit.
Dorn and Weber combined to play 127 games for the Aces last season. The duo hit .326 (146-for-448) with 80 runs, 77 RBI, 26 doubles, 9 triples and 19 home runs.
Tomás, 24, was signed by the Diamondbacks to a six-year contract in December. The Havana native played for his home Country in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, appearing in six games, batting .375 (6-for-16) with 2 home runs and 5 RBI. He debuted in the Cuban Serie Nacional at age 18 and played five seasons for Industriales, hitting 30 homers with 104 RBI in 205 regular season games dating back to 2008.
Joining Tomás in the outfield is returner Mike Freeman and newcomers Peter O'Brien and Evan Marzilli. Freeman, 27, hit .307 (67-for-218) for the Aces in 2014. In 71 games, the centerfielder/second baseman scored 37 runs, clubbed 11 doubles, 7 triples and stole six bases while driving in 25 runs.
Marzilli, 24, split time between Advanced-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile in 2014. In 133 games, he hit .245 (113-for-461) with 63 runs, 53 RBI, 20 doubles, 9 triples and 8 home runs. Marzilli was named as the “Best Defensive Outfielder” in the Diamondbacks' farm system by Baseball America.
O'Brien, 24, rounds out the outfielders for the Aces. The right-handed hitting slugger was acquired by Arizona in a July 2014 deadline deal that sent Martin Prado to the Yankees. In 106 games between Advanced-A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Mobile last season, O'Brien hit 34 home runs and drove in 74. Baseball America ranked O'Brien as the number eight prospect in the D-backs' organization.
Opening the season on the disabled list are pitchers Kevin Munson, Kaleb Fleck and Blake Beavan, along with position players Nick Buss, Cody Ransom and Dallas Tarleton.
The Aces are once again led by Manager Phil Nevin who returns for his second season in Reno. Also returning to the coaching staff is hitting coach Greg Gross and pitching coach Mike Parrott. Luis Urueta joins the staff and will serve as the third-base coach.
The Aces open the 2015 season Thursday, April 9 at Albuquerque, and host the Isotopes Friday, April 17 at 6:35 p.m. in the home opener at Aces Ballpark. Ticket packages are on-sale now at www.RenoAces.com or by calling (775) 334-4700. For up-to-date news and notes throughout the offseason follow the club on Twitter (@aces) or like the team on Facebook.