Keys To Zephyrs Success

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Updated: February 12, 2015

zephyrs-featured03/18/2021: Reno, NV – The Reno Zephyrs are coming off their 8th straight playoff appearance after not playing in a single post season game during the first 10 years of the league’s existence. On top of that, the team is bringing back essentially the exact same team from last year. It would be easy to feel good about the Zephyrs’ chances heading into the 2021 PEBA season but, a lot has to go right for this team to make it to the playoff for their 5th straight year. Let us take a look at the keys to a successful 2021 for the Reno Zephyrs:

A healthy and deep starting rotation

The Zephyrs pitchers were 6th in runs allowed last season thanks in large measure to the starting rotation. The starting 5 of Félix Maese, Jhong-shun Kong, José Patino, Michael Johnson and Dale Lake will all have to pitch as well or better than last season or the Zephyrs will drop to below average in runs allowed and this will place a ton of pressure on the offense in 2021. There is still a lot of talent on the roster but, the Zephyrs do not have any clear prospects knocking on the door to step in if someone goes down with a long term injury or simply can’t handle PEBA hitters this season.

A bounce back season from Ramón Leach

Leach posted a monster-like 140 OPS-plus in 2019 only to follow that up with a 93 OPS-plus in 2020. The 29 year old still managed to hit 27 home runs and drove in 100 RBI last season but, this team really relies heavily on offensive production and Leach is a very big part of that equation.

A healthy Dale Griffith

Center fielder Dale Griffith was once thought of as a major key to the Zephrs’ success. The 29 year old is still young but he needs to stay healthy this season and prove that he can be a major force in the line-up. On defense, he is about as good as they come but injuries in each of his last three seasons have caused his star to tarnish quite a bit. The Reno front office is committed to Griffith this season and have publicly stated that the centerfield job is his to lose. A healthy and productive Griffith would go a long way towards helping the Zephyrs secure a playoff spot.

A smart and focused coaching staff

A lot of attention is rightly paid to the players on the field but, Reno has one of the best coaching staffs in the league and committed over 6 million dollars to this gang. The entire staff is intact from last season and led by 67 year old Júlio Carrillo. Carrillo is a rare case for a baseball manager. He was hired mid season in 2012 and oversaw three losing seasons while maintaining his job. In 2017 he managed this team to the post season and has guided them there in each year since. The players love playing for Carrillo and the team chemistry has been nothing short of outstanding with him at the helm.