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Top 30: MLB’s best have been visitors in Reno

By Joe Santoro For the Nevada Appeal

The best of Major League Baseball has graced Greater Nevada Field since the Reno Aces arrived in Northern Nevada in 2009.

Most Valuable Players, Cy Young Award winners, Rookies of the Year, major league home run champions, batting champions, Gold Glove winners, pitchers who have tossed no-hitters as well as World Series champions have played in downtown Reno near the banks of the Truckee River.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have supplied hundreds of major leaguers to the Triple-A Aces roster with familiar names such as A.J. Pollock, Adam Eaton, Didi Gregorius, Trevor Bauer, Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, Robbie Ray and Ketel Marte.

But the Aces’ opponents since 2009 have also connected Northern Nevada with some of the greatest stars.

The list of eye-opening names that competed against the Aces from 2009-19 reads like a Who’s Who of All Star rosters. You simply cannot tell the history of Major League Baseball over the last decade or so without including dozens of players that played in Northern Nevada.

A look at Greater Nevada Field’s Reno Aces All-Opponent Team reveals some of the game’s greatest current standouts.

Here are the Top 30, based on their Major League careers:

30. BRANDON CRAWFORD

Crawford played four games in Reno Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2011 for Fresno. The shortstop was just 2-for-14 with a triple and two RBI.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Crawford has played nine years with the San Francisco Giants with a .249 average and 98 homers. He has made two All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves.

Aug. 17, 2019, San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford throws in the first inning during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix. (AP/Rick Scuteri)

29. BRANDON BELT

Belt played in Reno for Fresno on a rehab assignment on July 18, 2011. He struck out four times with a walk, going 0-for-4 and also making an error. The San Francisco Giants recalled Belt that night and he hit a homer and drove in three runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers the next day. Belt returned to Reno for another rehab assignment on Aug. 13, 2018 and went 1-for-3 for Sacramento.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Belt has played nine years with the Giants and has hit .261 with 129 homers. He made the All Star team in 2016.

San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt watches his double against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 13, 2019, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

28. JOSH HADER

Hader struggled in his only Reno appearance for Colorado Springs on July 18, 2016. Hader started and allowed six hits, six runs (five earned) and three walks and fanned one in a loss.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Hader is 11-9 in three seasons with 49 saves for the Milwaukee Brewers. He has a career ERA of 2.42 and has made two All Star teams.

Milwaukee Brewers’ Josh Hader throws during a practice session July 4 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

27. LORENZO CAIN

Cain went 1-for-4 and scored a run in Reno on Aug. 4, 2010 for Nashville. The following year for Omaha he played four games in Reno and was 3-for-15 with a double, seven strikeouts and a walk.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Cain has hit .288 in 11 seasons with 1,122 hits and 175 stolen bases for the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers. He has made two All Star teams and won a Gold Glove in the outfield.

Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain before a spring training game Feb. 27, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

26. TODD FRAZIER

Frazier went 4-for-9 with three RBI and two walks on a rehab assignment in three games May 31-June 2, 2018 for Las Vegas.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Frazier has hit 214 homers (40 with the Chicago White Sox in 2016) and has 1,019 hits over nine years and has made two All Star teams.

Texas Rangers’ Todd Frazier bats during a spring training baseball game Feb. 29, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

25. JAYSON WERTH

Werth played in three games for Tacoma May 4-6, 2018 in Reno. He was 2-for-11 with five strikeouts and two walks.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Werth played 15 seasons in the big leagues (one All Star team) mainly with the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals. He was a .267 lifetime hitter with 229 homers and 799 RBI and also scored 883 runs. He hit 20 or more home runs in a season six times.

Washington Nationals’ Jayson Werth during batting practice Aug. 1, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

24. DALLAS KUECHEL

Kuechel, pitching for Oklahoma City, suffered the loss, allowing 12 runs on 13 hits and three walks in just four innings on May 19, 2012 in Reno.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Kuechel won the American League Cy Young in 2015 while pitching for the Houston Astros. He was also an All Star in 2017 when he went 14-5 and has won 84 games over eight seasons.

Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Kuechel watches the game between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets on Nov. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

23. ALEX GORDON

Gordon, playing for Omaha, played four games in Reno May 11-14, 2010. He went 7-for-15 with three homers, five RBI and a double and also scored five runs and walked five times.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Gordon has played 13 years with the Kansas City Royals and has hit 186 homers, driven in 738 runs, scored 852 runs and has a lifetime average of .258. He has made three All Star teams and has won seven Gold Gloves.

Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals on Feb. 20. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

22. NOAH SYNDEGAARD

Syndegaard pitched in one game in Reno on Sept. 5, 2014 for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. He lasted just four innings and allowed six hits, three walks and six runs while striking out three, suffering the loss.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Syndegaard is 47-30 in five seasons with the New York Mets with an earned run average of 3.31. He has struck out 775 in 716 innings and has made one All Star team.

New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard is shown in the Mets’ dugout on Sept. 29, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

21. MIKE MOUSTAKAS

Moustakas appeared in three games in Reno May 10-12, 2011 for Omaha and was 2-for-10 with a solo home run.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Moustakas has hit 182 home runs over nine seasons and has made three All Star teams. He’s hit 20 or more homers in six different seasons and 30 or more twice.

Cincinnati Reds’ Mike Moustakas warms up prior to a spring training game Feb. 26 in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

20. MARK TRUMBO

Trumbo, playing for Salt Lake City, went 5-for-13 in three games April 12-14, 2010. He hit two homers, scored three runs and drove in four runs on May 14. That same season Trumbo returned to Reno for three games with Salt Lake and went 4-for-14. He was 4-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBI on June 10. Trumbo later played for the Aces in 2014 (three games, three homers).

MAJOR LEAGUES: Trumbo led the American League in homers with 47 in 2016 for the Baltimore Orioles. He’s hit 218 major league homers in 10 seasons and has made two All Star teams.

Baltimore Orioles’ Mark Trumbo (45) bats against the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 13 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

19. CARLOS GONZALEZ

Gonzalez was 6-for-19 over four games April 21-24, 2009 for Colorado Springs. He also hit two homers in the series.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Gonzalez has made three All Star teams, all with the Colorado Rockies, and has hit 234 career home runs. His 197 hits led the league in 2010. That year he also hit 34 homers and hit .336 and finished third in the MVP voting behind Joey Votto and Albert Pujols. 

Colorado Rockies’ Carlos Gonzales, left, congratulates Michael Cuddyer after hitting a two-run home run on April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

18. D.J. LeMAHIEU

LeMahieu played seven games in Reno in 2012 for Colorado Springs, going 8-for-29 with two RBI and scoring seven runs.

MAJOR LEAGUES: LeMahieu led the National League in hitting at .348 in 2016 for the Colorado Rockies. He is a lifetime .302 hitter with 1,223 career hits over nine seasons. He has made three All Star teams, won three Gold Gloves and was fourth in the American League MVP voting for the New York Yankees in 2019.

Colorado Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 7, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

17. HUNTER PENCE

Pence played three games in Reno on a rehab assignment July 26-28, 2016 for Sacramento. He was 5-for-13 with two homers and five RBI.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Pence is a four-time All Star and has hit 242 homers with 936 RBI over 13 seasons mainly with the San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.

OnSept. 30, 2018, San Francisco Giants Hunter Pence waits on deck against the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AP Photo/John Hefti)

16. PETE ALONSO

Northern Nevada got a sneak peek in 2018 of what the National League saw in 2019. Alonso was 4-for-10 in three games for Las Vegas July 20-22, 2018 in Reno. He hit two home runs and a triple and drove in seven.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Alonso was the National League Rookie of the Year playing for the New York Mets with a rookie-record 53 homers and 120 RBI and also was an All Star, winning the Home Run Derby.

New York Mets’ Pete Alonso watches his two-run single against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 15 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Tami Chappell)

15. ANTHONY RIZZO

Rizzo played one game in Reno on Sept. 2, 2011 for Tucson as a member of the San Diego Padres organization. He was 1-for-5 with a strikeout.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Rizzo is a lifetime .273 hitter with 218 homers and 729 RBI over nine seasons, mainly with the Chicago Cubs. He has made three All Star teams, won three Gold Gloves and has finished in the Top 20 of the MVP voting five times.

Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo during a spring training game Feb. 24 in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

14. BOBBY ABREU

Abreu played five games in Reno during the 2014 season with Las Vegas. He was 3-for-11 with a double and a RBI April 15-18. He played in two playoff games against the Aces on Sept. 5-6 and was 1-for-7 with two walks.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Abreu played 18 seasons (mainly with the Philadelphia Phillies) and had 2,470 hits while hitting .291 for his career. He was in the Top 30 in MVP voting seven times and made two All Star teams. Abreu also hit 288 homers and drove in 1,363 runs.

New York Mets’ Bobby Abreu (53) hits an RBI single off of San Diego Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner as Rene Rivera catches June 13, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

13. RYAN HOWARD

Howard played the final three games of his professional career, going 1-for-14 with five strikeouts Sept. 2-4 in Reno while playing for Albuquerque.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Howard hit 383 career home runs over 13 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2005 and Most Valuable Player in 2006 and made three All Star teams. He led the league in homers with 58 in 2006 and 48 in 2008.

July 21, 2016, Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard bats against the Miami Marlins in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

12. TREVOR STORY

Story played four games in Reno in 2015 for Albuquerque and was 8-for-17 with four home runs and eight RBI July 20-23. He also scored five runs and hit two doubles.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Story has hit 123 career home runs in just four seasons for the Colorado Rockies. He has made two All Star teams and has driven in 347 runs in just 544 career games.

Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story throws out Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras in a spring training game Feb. 25 in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

11. CHARLIE BLACKMON

Blackmon played 15 games in Reno for Colorado Springs. He was 11-for-35 over eight games in Reno in 2012, hitting a home run with two doubles, a triple and driving in nine. Blackmon returned to Reno in 2013 and played seven games, going 3-for-24 with three RBI and five walks.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Blackmon has hit .304 in his career over 1,060 games for the Colorado Rockies. He has led the National League in hitting (.331 in 2017) and in triples (2017), hits (2017) and runs (2017, 18) and has made four All Star teams.

Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon walks through the dugout prior to a spring training game March 10 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

10. KRIS BRYANT

Bryant played four games in 2014 (Aug. 20-23) in Reno for Iowa. He was 5-for-13 with two homers, three RBI and six strikeouts.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Bryant has played five seasons with the Chicago Cubs with 138 homers and a .284 average. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2015 and Most Valuable Player in 2016. He has made three All Star teams and led the league with 121 runs scored in 2016.

Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant during a spring training game Feb. 24 in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

9. JOSH DONALDSON

Donaldson had a long history in Reno as an Oakland A’s prospect. He played two games May 28-29, 2010 for Sacramento and went 4-for-8 with two doubles, a triple and five RBI. He played three games July 4-7, 2010  and went 3-for-11 with two homers and five RBI and scored four runs. Donaldson played three games April 19-21, 2011 for Sacramento and was 4-for-12 with two doubles and a RBI and was 3-for-13 with one RBI in three games May 27-30, 2011. In the playoffs Sept 7-8, 2011 he was 1-for-6 with a homer and two walks in two games. Donaldson also played four games in 2012 in Reno with Sacramento, going 7-for-17 with a double, homer and six RBI.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Donaldson has played nine seasons in the big leagues with 219 home runs. He was the American League MVP in 2015 with Toronto when he led the league in runs (122) and RBI (123) and also hit 41 homers. He has been in the Top 25 in MVP voting six times and has made three All Star teams.

Minnesota Twins infielder Josh Donaldson watches batting practice during spring training Feb. 16 in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

8. MADISON BUMGARNER

Bumgarner started on April 9, 2010 in Reno for Fresno. He was 0-for-1 at the plate and struggled on the mound. He allowed 11 hits, two walks, four runs in three innings. His catcher in Reno was Buster Posey.

MAJOR LEAGUES Bumgarner, now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has made four All Star teams and has won 119 games and struck out 1,794 over 1,846 innings and 11 seasons for the Giants. He was the 2014 World Series MVP and has a record of 4-0 in five World Series appearances with an ERA of 0.25.  

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Madison Bumgarner tosses a baseball during spring training Feb. 16 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

7. TIM LINCECUM

Lincecum, pitching for Salt Lake City, made one appearance in Reno on June 7, 2016. He pitched five innings and allowed three hits and four runs (two earned) while striking out six and walking two in a loss.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Lincecum pitched 10 seasons and won 110 games with an ERA of 3.74 mainly with the San Francisco Giants. He won the National League Cy Young in 2008 and 2009 and finished in the Top 10 in 2010, 2011. Lincecum pitched two no-hitters and made four All Star teams and struck out 1,736 in 1,682 innings.

Tim Lincecum, pitching for Salt Lake City, made one appearance in Reno on June 7, 2016. (Jim Grant/Nevada Appeal

6. RYNE SANDBERG

Sandberg, who retired as a player after the 1997 season, did not play a game in Reno. But he did manage four games in Reno May 15-18, 2010 for Iowa. Sandberg’s Cubs split the four-game series.

MAJOR LEAGUES: The Hall of Famer hit .285 over 16 seasons mainly with the Chicago Cubs and hit 282 homers and drove in 1,061. Sandberg was the National League MVP in 1984 and led the league in homers with 40 in 1990 and in runs scored three times.

June 14, 2015, Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg stands in the dugout during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

5. JACOB DeGROM

DeGrom made two starts for Las Vegas in 2013 in Reno and won both games. He allowed just three hits and no runs while striking out four in seven innings on April 15 and just six hits and two runs while fanning three in 6.1 innings on July 18.

MAJOR LEAGUES: DeGrom has been in the major leagues just six seasons with the New York Mets but has already won two Cy Young Awards and finished in the Top 10 two other times. He is 66-49 with a 2.62 ERA in his career and has struck out 1,255 hitters in 1,102 innings. He has been named to three All Star teams and was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2014. He also led the league with a 1.70 ERA in 2018 and with 255 strikeouts in 2019.

New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom throws to the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game March 11 in Port S. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

4. BUSTER POSEY

Posey played four games in Reno for Fresno on April 8-11, 2010 and had two or more hits in all four games. He was 9-for-18 with a triple and a home run and drove in two runs and scored six runs.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Posey is a lifetime .302 hitter with 140 homers and 1,380 hits over 11 seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2010 and the Most Valuable Player in 2012 and has made six All Star teams.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey dives to protect home plate during a spring training game Feb. 24 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

3. NOLAN ARENADO

Arenado played four games in Reno April 16-19, 2013 for Colorado Springs. He was 4-for-12 with a double, homer and five RBI and scored three runs. Colorado Springs’  lineup in the series featured Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Arenado has played seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies and is a .295 lifetime hitter. He has hit 227 homers, scored 626 and drove in 734 in just 3,936 lifetime at-bats. He has led the National League in home runs three times (2015-16-18) and RBI twice (2015-16) and has been in the Top 10 of the MVP voting five times.

Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) in an empty Coors Field as the team practices July 5 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

2. MANNY RAMIREZ

Ramirez played in three games in Reno Aug. 21-23, 2014 while playing for Iowa. Iowa’s lineup on Aug. 21, 2014 featured Ramirez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler. Ramirez was 3-for-9 in his three appearances with a double and six strikeouts.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Ramirez hit 555 home runs, scored 1,544 runs and drove in 1,831 in 19 seasons, mainly with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. Ramirez was a .312 lifetime hitter with 2,574 hits. He led the American League with 165 RBI in 1999 and 43 homers in 2004. He was named to 12 All Star teams and finished in the Top 12 in MVP voting 10 times.

Boston Red Sox’s Manny Ramirez celebrates with fans as he makes his way to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run aganst Texas Rangers’ Kenny Rogers at Boston’s Fenway Park on July 10, 2004. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

1. MIKE TROUT

Trout played four games in Reno April 9-12, 2012 for Salt Lake, hitting leadoff all four games. He was the designated hitter in two of the games and played left field the other two. Trout was 6-for-20 in the four games with a triple, homer and three RBI.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Trout, playing for the Los Angeles Angels, has been named the American League MVP three times (2014-16-19) and finished in the Top Four five other times. Trout has led the American League in runs scored four times. He also led the league in RBI (111 in 2014) and stolen bases (40 in 2012). He has scored 903 runs with a .305 career average and has been named to the All Star team eight times.

Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout during a spring training game on March 4 in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)