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Diamondbacks Game Preview #85: 7/9 vs. Rockies

The Great (Reno) Pretenders

Arizona Diamondbacks v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Connor Joe - 1B Carson Kelly - C
Kris Bryant - LF Josh Rojas - 3B
Charlie Blackmon - DH Ketel Marte - DH
Brendan Rodgers - 2B Christian Walker - 1B
Randal Grichuk - RF Jordan Luplow - RF
Yonathan Daza - CF Buddy Kennedy - 2B
Elias Diaz - C Cooper Hummel - LF
Elehuris Montero - 3B Alek Thomas - CF
Garrett Hampson - SS Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Kyle Freeland - LHP M. Bumgarner - LHP

In a comment on yesterday’s Snake Bytes, GuruB pointed out that Kevin Cron had been released from his Korean Baseball Organization team, SSG Landers. Cron had posted a .675 OPS, with a K:BB ratio of 68:9 in 259 plate appearances. It’s another reminder that sparkling number in Reno do not necessarily translate to success in the majors - or even in a lower-tier league overseas.

  • Cron for Reno: 812 PA, 319/.405/.651 = 1.057 OPS
  • Cron in majors: 98 PA, .171/.245/.421 = .665 OPS
  • Cron in KBO: 259 PA, .222/.255/.420 = .675 OPS

I thought it might be interesting to take a scan through the last few years of Reno numbers, and find other players who put up sparkling lines in the Pacific Coast League, but failed to come anywhere close to matching them in the big leagues. Here are five of the clearest examples. While a drop-off is to be expected, these all had an OPS of at least 300 points worse in the majors.

  • Cooper Hummel: AAA OPS .978, MLB OPS .594. Not all Hummel’s Triple-A time was in the PCL, but even while with Milwaukee, he had a .942 OPS for AAA Nashville. Of particular note: he hit .346 with Reno this season, but barely half that for the D-backs, just .176. Hopefully, he can still turn it around.
  • Drew Ellis: AAA OPS .912, MLB OPS .482. Ellis saw time with the Diamondbacks in both 2021 and 2022, but never mind his weight, was unable to hit his height in either season. Over 34 games, he batted .134/.268/.207, and was DFA’d. He’s now in the minors with Seattle.
  • Wyatt Mathisen: Reno OPS 1.004, MLB OPS .588. This is a good example how, even among AAA parks, playing in Reno will boost a player’s numbers. Mathisen’s overall AAA OPS across 267 games, including 87 for the Aces, is 190 points lower than in Reno, at only .814.
  • Socrates Brito: Reno OPS .867, MLB OPS .525. Despite a grade-80 baseball name, the Brito was unable to hit worth a lick in the majors. He played parts of three years for Arizona, but drew just six walks in 175 PA. He also went to Korea this year, but is finding success there, batting .332.
  • Tuffy Gosewisch: Reno OPS .814, MLB OPS .499. Ah, Lord Tuffy of Gosewisch. He received a surprising amount of playing time for the D-backs, peaking at 41 games in 2014, and almost as many the following year. Despite his defensive skills, an OPS+ of 35 was just too low to be sustainable.