Arizona Diamondacks’ top pitching prospect Jon Duplantier delivered three hitless innings in his Reno Aces debut Friday night.
Rated as MLB Pipeline’s No. 72 prospect, Duplantier, 24, started the game and made easy work of El Paso. The right-hander issued four strikeouts and one walk on 37 pitches.
Duplantier pounded the strike zone with two effective pitches out of his four-pitch arsenal. His fastball sat between 93-95 mph with plenty of sink that ran off the plate. His third strikeout of the night was an 87 mph slider that broke away, which had El Paso third baseman Jason Vosler swinging at the dirt.
Duplantier’s funky three-quarter delivery helps him generate velocity. Once he winds up, his hand goes behind his head, hiding the ball before he delivers a pitch to the plate.
“He’s got great stuff, simple as that,” Aces’ manager Chris Cron said. “That’s why he’s got his first call-up this year (to Arizona), because he’s been doing that all spring.”
After Reno held a 4-0 lead through six innings, El Paso scored six unanswered runs in the final three frames to steal a 6-4 victory.
Duplantier skipped Triple-A and made his big-league debut for the Dbacks on April 1. He came out of the bullpen, recording a three-inning save with two strikeouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Duplantier appeared in two games with the Dbacks before being optioned to Triple-A Reno on April 9.
A third-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Duplantier played only 14 games with Double-A Jackson last year due to right bicep tendonitis.
After opening the season in Arizona, and his Reno debut, things are looking up for Duplantier .
“He was impressive with Arizona and he was great down here,” Cron said. “He’s done an outstanding job so far and he has a bright future ahead.”
Chihuahuas score six unanswered, win 6-4
El Paso tied the game in the seventh inning and sealed the deal with two more runs in the eighth inning.
Fireworks night couldn’t spark life into the Aces, who recorded eight hits in the loss. Domingo Leyba went 1-for-4 with a triple and RBI. Andrew Aplin and Kevin Cron each had one RBI.
Reliever Vinny Nittoli surrendered four earned runs in the seventh. Stefan Crichton got the loss, giving up two more runs in the eighth.
“We just need a little luck on our side,” Cron said. “They had some broken bat hits that find some holes out there. … It’s a tough way to lose the game. Everybody was cruising up until those last three (innings), until they tied it up and took the lead.”
Reno jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first with RBIs from Leyba and Cron. Bryan Mitchell’s throwing error at first advanced Cron home. The Aces tacked on another run in the second off Aplin’s RBI single.
Notes: Reno is 0-3 following a win this season. … Rubby De La Rosa leads the Aces in relief appearances. … Kevin Cron is batting a team-best .800 with runners in scoring position. … Jimmie Sherfy, the Aces’ all-time save leader, is one save away from 50 career saves. Cody Decker has 92 Triple-A homers.
On Deck: The Aces, 3-6, face El Paso tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. for the second game of the four-game series.
Today’s Game: Reno comes into game two of the four-game series looking to tie the series up following last night’s loss. Chris Cron will send southpaw Anthony Vasquez to the mound for the second time this season. Vasquez did not record a decision in his first start, but went five innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. He’ll square off against Chris Rowley who did not record a decision in his first start but went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits.
Oh, For What: Reno is 0-3 in games following a win this season. Joel Payamps (injured list), Taylor Widener and Stefan Crichton both earned losses in their respective starts. Opponents are batting over .300 in these games and have hit five home runs. Travis Snider is batting .636 (7-for-11) with a double and two RBI in these contests.
Sample Size: It’s been just four games at Greater Nevada Field in 2019 and thus far the Aces offense has yet to duplicate their success from years past. The Aces are batting .262 (34-for-130) in the friendly confines with two home runs and 16 RBI. Travis Snider leads the way with an average of .571 (8-for-14, 2B, 2 BB). Yasmany Tomas (.429) and Abraham Almonte (.364) are the only other Aces not named Snider with averages north of .300.
The Debut: Back from the big leagues, Jon Duplantier looked right at home in Triple-A. MLB.com’s No. 72 overall prospect dazzled in a brief debut at the Minor Leagues’ highest level, tossing three hitless innings before Reno fell to El Paso, 6-4, on Friday night at Greater Nevada Field. Duplantier saw his first action this season with the big club, leaping over Triple-A in the process. Working out of Arizona’s bullpen, the 24-year-old threw three scoreless innings on April 1 and another scoreless frame six days later. All told, he allowed two hits and two walks while striking out three over his pair of Major League outings.
Quotable: “I’ll get back into the routine of stretching it out, having days when I stretch it out and bring it in,” Duplantier said. “Each day will have its own unique focus. That’s kind of what I got away from when I was relieving because you don’t necessarily have the liberty of, ‘I’m not going to pitch today so I can go ahead and stretch it out and come in and fuzz it up.’ Today can be my velocity or today let’s come in and make sure the ball is spinning. Nope, when you’re relieving, today I’ve got to get loose, make sure my ball is spinning right, make sure I’ve got my rhythm every day.
April’s in the 775: At the time of this writing (7:18 a.m.), the forecast in Reno shows 70 degrees at first pitch! If that remains to be true, it will be the first game at Greater Nevada Field this season where the weather climbs above 58 degrees. In 2018, the 775 had 14 days above the 70-degree mark in April, with the hottest day coming on 4/26/18 at 82. The average temperature in Reno on April 13 since 2009 is 61.4. Reno has never won at home on April 13. 70° – 2009 | 61° – 2010 | 48° – 2011 | 46° – 2012 | 70° – 2013 | 64° – 2014 | 75° – 2015 | 64° – 2016 | 55° – 2017 – Suspended due to weather | 61° – 2018 |