Reno Season In Review

Updated: October 13, 2014

Looking to next season
The Reno Zephyrs 2020 baseball season has yet again ended with disappointment. The ultimate goal for every team is to bring home the Rodriguez Cup and the Zephyrs fell short of that goal despite the fact that this was their fourth straight post season appearance. Still, it would be cynical to call the season a total loss. The window of opportunity should remain open for the 2021 season as Reno will bring back nearly their entire roster – at least the productive parts. However, before we look forward to 2021, it might be a good idea to look back on this season’s roster and rank the individual contributors for the Zephyrs.

The following rankings will be based on the player’s performance in 2020 and will not take into account previous performance, injury or any expected regression in the future. We will count down from best to worst performance for those of you who have little interest in reading the entire list.

#1 SP Jhong-shun “Earthquake” Kong – What can you say about this former first round pick by Reno? The twenty-five year old power righty just knows how to pitch. 10.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 in 717 career innings – all before his 26th birthday. Kong is off to a very good start to what looks like a promising career.

#2 CF Reggie Myers – It is somewhat a mixed bag that the top batter is a twenty-three year old who had just 29 PEBA games under his belt coming into the season. The Zephyrs have some very high priced players who should be embarrassed to be beaten out by such a raw talent. Myers did everything right in what was essentially his rookie season. The former first round pick out of Stanford posted an .856 OPS and 5.3 WAR to go along with solid defense and 24 stolen bases. You can’t blame the Reno front office for being overly excited by this youngster.

#3 SP Félix ‘Cyclone’ Maese – Felix was acquired from Bakersfield via traded during the off season for the hefty price of RF Gilbert Murray. It is too soon to fully evaluate the trade and it is possible that the Bears will come out on top but, Maese managed to post a good season despite missing over two months with a herniated disc. Still, the twenty-nine year old posted a 13-2 record and 4.2 WAR in his limited playing time.

#4 C Tony “Whitey” Carmona – Injury again limited the playing time for the 216 million dollar man but, Carmona managed to make the best of the time he spent in the line-up. A respectable .362 OBP, 27 home runs, 25 doubles and 100 RBI made for a very good season. Reno has to be concerned about regression and age for their star slugger. The team has limited his time behind the plate by utilizing him mostly at DH but, that hasn’t done much to limit injury for the soon-to-be thirty-four year old.

#5 SS Leon “Smooth” Brunelle – The Reno front office has been very high on Brunelle from the moment they traded for him back in 2012. The team never abandoned the slick fielding shortstop even when he struggled. The team was ultimately rewarded with a stellar performance in 2020. Leon managed to hit 27 home runs and 25 doubles to go along with above average defense.

#6 SP José ‘The Fly’ Patino – The Fly was a trade acquisition from 2018 and has performed very well in the Zephyrs rotation over the last two and a half seasons. He posted the highest innings pitched among starters and tied Kong for most wins with 16. Patino was a solid performer this season and helped solidify the Zephyrs rotation.

#7 C Jesús Negrete – The young catcher had a very good season for the Zephyrs in 2020. He posted an .836 OPS in 93 games and appear to have won the starting catching job for the foreseeable future.

#8 2B León Valentín – León was a free agent acquisition from the 2018 season. He did exactly what he was signed to do this season – get on base. The thirty-one year old infielder posted a strong .414 OBP in 600 PA. He was a very versatile player for Reno this past season logging innings at 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and even a couple innings at CF.

#9 1B Ramón Leach – What can we say about Leach? It is easy to be disappointed with his 2020 season due to the high expectations of his previous seasons with Reno. One might expect to see a career season from a twenty-eight year old with such potential. However, what we ended up with is a very solid 27 home runs, 27 doubles and 100 RBI.

#10 3B Chad Harvey – The Reno front office has made it clear that Harvey is one of their favorites. The twenty-seven year old left-handed hitting infielder is a true grinder. Chad is far from flashy and he is in no means a super star but, he comes to the park every day and is a steady performer. He is a high on base guy (.400 OBP) that provides solid defense at multiple infield positions.

#11 CL David “Cheese” Chesney – Cheese has been a terrific anchor to the bullpen for four straight seasons. His 34 saves were good enough for 7th best in the PEBA this season. However, Chesney did record his highest career blown saves in 2020 with seven. Overall it was a bit of a mixed season for Cheese.

#12 SP Dale Lake – What a nice surprise Lake was in 2020. After missing all of 2018 and most of 2019 due to injuries, the twenty-seven year old right hander posted an impressive 11-6 record with a 3.70 ERA this season.

#13 SP Matt Moody – Moody was pitching quite well for the Zephyrs before being lost for the season at the end of August due to a shoulder injury. The young lefty had a 3.96 ERA in just over 100 innings pitched.

#14 OF Richard Reynolds – The rookie Reynolds spent parts of three seasons at Triple-A, and really had nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. Reno gave the twenty-four year old an opportunity late in the season and the switch hitter made the most of his time. In his 150 AB’s he managed a to post a .908 OPS. Based on his 2020 performance, Richard will get an opportunity to start the season with the Zephyrs and time will tell if his rookie campaign was a fluke.

#15 OF Artie Major – Major was a Rule V pick up from 2018 and has managed to be a solid utility outfielder. He has been very consistent left handed bat off the bench.

#16 OF Frank Murphy – Murphy was injured for part of the season but came back to the line up in September and posted a .739 OPS in 351 Abs. That was just good enough for a 16th ranking.

#17 RP Joe Rainville – As far as left-handed specialists go, Rainville is a good one. Joe posted a 3.81 ERA, 11.08 K/IP and 1.38 WHIP.

#18 LF/1B Ricardo Encarnación – .861 OPS in 281 Ab’s. If Ricardo played more positions or was a better defender, he would be an extremely valuable commodity. As it stands, he is a decent hitter with position limitations.

#19 RP Tom Emerick – This right-handed reliever showed he can handle PEBA hitters and has earned a spot on next year’s team.

#20 SP Michael “Mustache” Johnson – The twenty-four year old left-handed starting pitcher spent over three months on the DL this past season. The club needs a lot more out of the former 1st round pick next season.

#21 RP Roberto Bustamente – Roberto spent three seasons with Reno and performed fairly well over that time period. He will hit the free agent market this off-season as the Zephyrs do not appear to be interested in retaining his services.

#22 IF Gary Roadley – Gary was a decent utility infielder with a 98 OPS+ in just over 200 ABs.

#23 IF Vic Roberts – The Zephyrs signed him to a 1-year extension for next season. This was more due to his positional versatility than his hitting abilities. However, he did have a respectable K/BB ratio.

#24 RP Oscar Jackson – Over 95 innings pitched and a 91 ERA+. Could be worse I guess.

#25 OF Travis Mitchell – 16 home runs in limited playing time. If he could only improve on his .284 OBP.

#26 1B Donald Eldridge – This guy couldn’t even hit his way out of a paper bag this season.

#27 SP Octávio Rivera – Rivera had three really good seasons for the Zephyrs but managed an 0-7 record and 7.59 ERA before going on the DL for the majority of the season.