SALT LAKE BEES

Bees Bullets: Previewing Bees Vs. Reno Aces

Apr 18, 2023, 2:58 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Aces head to Salt Lake with their cupboards stocked with MLB-level potential in the first matchup of 2023 between these teams.

The Bees (8-7) open their second home series of 2023 with a six-game set against the Reno Aces (5-9). This series begins on Tuesday, April 18 with a 6:35 p.m. (MT) first pitch.

Reno enters the series losers of their last two games while Salt Lake comes in riding a three-game losing streak. Bees pitchers gave up 29 runs in the final three games in Las Vegas. The Aces pitching staff wasn’t much better against Sacramento, with the River Cats scoring 32 runs in two weekend games.

RELATED: Bees Bullets: Salt Lake Drops Three Straight In Las Vegas

The Arizona Diamondbacks, parent club for the Aces, entered the season boasting the third-highest-rated farm system in all of MLB. Unfortunately for Bees fans, of the Diamondbacks’ four Top-100 prospects, only starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt (No. 59) enters the series on Reno’s roster.

All prospect rankings are from MLB.com.

Reno Aces Top Prospects

No. 3 Brandon Pfaadt – Starting Pitcher

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 45 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

Pfaadt was a fifth-round selection of the Diamondbacks in the abbreviated 2020 MLB player draft out of Division II Bellarmine.

Entering his age-24 season, Pfaadt returns to Triple-A after closing 2022 with a 5-1 record and 2.63 earned run average in 10 starts with Reno.

A strike thrower, Pfaadt struck out 74 batters in 61.2 Triple-A innings, walking just 14. His 4.8 percent walk rate was the lowest for qualified players in the Diamondbacks minor league system.

RELATED: MLB Great Dale Murphy Adds Legitimacy, Face To Big League Utah

The 6’4 righty uses a mid-90s fastball mixed with a low-80s slider and mid-80s changeup. Pfaadt occasionally uses a curveball to keep hitters off balance.

Pfaadt is 1-1 with a 5.40 earned run average in three starts this season. He allowed two runs, scattering six hits in his most recent start on April 14 against Sacramento.

No. 6 Blake Walston – Starting Pitcher

Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50

Arizona made Walston their 2019 first-round pick (26th overall) out of Hanover HS in North Carolina.

Since being drafted, the 6’5 left-hander has been slowly developed in the Diamondbacks system, reaching Triple-A for the first time in 2023.

In the low-90s with his fastball, Walston sometimes hits 95 but without consistency. An above-average changeup, sweeping slider, and change-of-pace curveball round out his pitch mix.

RELATED: MLB To SLC: LHM Group Announces Attempt To Bring Major League Baseball Team To Utah

Walston is 0-1 with a 5.56 earned run average in three starts this season. He has struggled with command at times, walking nine batters in 11.1 innings.

No. 9 Blaze Alexander – Infielder

Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 70 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

A versatile infielder, Arizona picked Alexander with their 11th-round selection in the 2018 draft out of IMG Academy.

Alexander reached Triple-A for the first time in 2022. He hit .259 in a seven-game cup of coffee to end the season. Defensively, Alexander is said to have plus-plus arm strength at shortstop but is capable of playing second or third base as well.

Alexander was hitting .458 with 11 hits in nine games before getting hit in the head by a pitch on April 13. Alexander was placed on the seven-day IL and may not be available against Salt Lake. He is eligible to return from the IL on Friday, April 21.

RELATED: Current State Of MLB Relocation/Expansion Talks

No. 10 Slade Cecconi – Starting Pitcher

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 45 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45

A 2020 competitive balance pick (33rd overall) by the Diamondbacks, Cecconi was assigned to Triple-A for the first time out of spring training.

A 6’4 right-hander, Cecconi runs his fastball up in the upper-90s. He offsets that with a mid-80s slider that has good late movement, a curveball, and a low-80s changeup that he is still perfecting.

Cecconi has struggled in first first Triple-A experience. Currently 0-1 with an 11.81 earned run average, opponents have a .385 batting average against Cecconi in 10.2 2023 innings.

RELATED: Nightengale: Relocating A’s Might Be Better Option Than Expansion Team For Salt Lake City

No. 13 Jorge Barrosa – Outfielder

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 70 | Overall: 45

The switch-hitting Barrosa signed with Arizona in 2017 out of Venezuela.

Listed at 5’9 and 165 pounds, Barrosa is more a defensive & speed threat than a guy with much pop in his bat, though he did show some power in 2022 with 13 long balls.

Barrosa is hitting .316 in limited appearances with Reno this season.

No. 15 Dominic Fletcher -Outfielder

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 45

Selected by the Diamondbacks with a competitive balance pick out of Arkansas in 2019, Fletcher played more that 100 games with Reno in 2022.

Last season, Fletcher hit .301 five home runs, 29 doubles and 38 runs batted in with Reno last season. Through 12 games in 2023, Fletcher has struggled to a .224 average with one home run.

Dominic’s brother, David Fletcher, was recently waived from the Angels 40-man roster and is expected to be assigned to Salt Lake this week. Both played for Italy in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

No. 20 Dominic Canzone – Outfielder/First Base

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 45 | Field: 40 | Overall: 40

The Diamondbacks eighth round pick in 2019, Canzone never had a batting average lower than .323 in three season at Ohio State.

In his first full season of pro ball, Canzone’s approach at the plate continued to shine as he hit .302 in 79 games between High-A and Double-A. He was promoted to Reno last season after hitting .400 in 15 Double-A games.

In 2023, Canzone is hitting .302 with four home runs and 14 runs batted in.

Up Next

Salt Lake returns to the friendly confines of Smith’s Ballpark to take on the Reno Aces in a six-game series scheduled to open on Tuesday, April 18. First pitch for Tuesday night’s game is 6:35 p.m. (MT).

Jake Kalish (1-1, 6.57 ERA) is expected to get the start in game one against Tommy Henry (0-0, 7.63 ERA)

Listen to ‘Voice of the Bees’ Steve Klauke on KSL Sports Zone. All Salt Lake Bees games are featured on the KSL Sports app. Purchase tickets to see the Bees play at slbees.com.

KSL Sports coverage of  the Salt Lake Bees can be found here

Take us with you, wherever you go.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, and video, staying up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Salt Lake Bees

brett kerry salt lake bees...

Brian Preece

Salt Lake Bees Starter Brett Kerry Named PCL Pitcher Of The Week

Fourth-year pro Brett Kerry took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Friday night, lifting the Salt Lake Bees to a 9-1 win over the Sacramento River Cats.

3 days ago

hunter dozier...

Brian Preece

Hunter Dozier’s Career Day Leads Salt Lake Bees Offense In Breakout Series

Former Kansas City Royal Hunter Dozier has been on a tear this week, leading the charge as the Salt Lake Bees bats got hot at home

7 days ago

bee keeper...

Brian Preece

Instant Replay: Troublesome Bee Swarm Causes Buzzworthy Delay in Arizona

There was a buzz in the crowd on Tuesday night at Chase Field but it wasn't the traditional sound you'd expect from 28,000 baseball fans.

17 days ago

sl bees outfielder jordyn adams...

Brian Preece

MiLB Season Heating Up As Salt Lake Bees Prepare For May

The Salt Lake Bees lost a pair of players for good reason as they continue the longest road trip of 2024 in Oklahoma City. 

18 days ago

Smith's Ballpark...

Brian Preece

Minor League Umpires Announce Calls To Crowd For First Time In 2024 Season

Following the near-seamless implementation of rule changes last year, MLB officials look to use technology to improve the fan experience.

27 days ago

jackie robinson day 2024...

Brian Preece

Salt Lake Bees Celebrate Jackie Robinson Day Against Reno Aces

77 years ago that Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, shattering the Major League Baseball color barrier

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Bees Bullets: Previewing Bees Vs. Reno Aces