Five Aggies named to MLB opening day rosters
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Five Aggies have been selected for MLB Opening Day rosters as Major League Baseball's 2021 campaign commences Thursday.
The Aggies set for MLB Opening Day rosters include A.J. Minter (Atlanta Braves), Tyler Naquin (Cincinnati Reds), Brooks Raley (Houston Astros), Ross Stripling (Toronto Blue Jays) and Michael Wacha (Tampa Bay Rays). All five players have prior MLB experience.
With MLB set to open the season with 15 games Thursday, teams selected 26-player squads to break camp. A pair of Aggies are just a phone call away with Ryan Hendrix (Cincinnati Reds) and Corbin Martin (Arizona Diamondbacks) both on 40-man rosters.
2020 MLB AGGIES
A.J. MINTER, pitcher (Atlanta Braves)
Minter's career is off to a solid start with four seasons in the Braves' bullpen. Last year, he was 1-1 with a 0.83 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. He also appeared in five games in the 2020 MLB Postseason, earning a win out of the bullpen in a Wild Card Series game against the Reds. He struck out 10 of the 23 batters he faced in the 2020 postseason. For his career, Minter is 8-9 with 20 saves, a 3.68 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 127.1 innings.
TYLER NAQUIN, outfielder (Cincinnati Reds)
Naquin gets a change of scenery with the Reds, taking a diagonal trek across Ohio after spending his first five seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Last season, the Spring, Texas, native batted .218 with 15 runs, eight doubles, 1 triple, four home runs and 20 RBI in 40 games. For his career, Naquin is hitting .274 with 127 runs, 54 doubles, six triples, 31 HR and 121 RBI in 325 games.
BROOKS RALEY, pitcher (Houston Astros)
Raley is in his second season with the Astros, arriving in a midseason trade from the Reds in 2020. Last season, he pitched in 21 games out of the bullpen, including 17 with Houston, posting a 0-1 record with one save, a 4.95 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 20.0 innings. He also appeared in six postseason games for the Astros. The Uvalde, Texas, product returned to play in America after pitching five seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. He played for the Lotte Giants from 2015-19, posting a 48-53 record with a 4.73 ERA and 755 strikeouts in 910.2 innings. Prior to heading overseas, Raley pitched in 14 games for the Chicago Cubs in 2012-13.
ROSS STRIPLING, pitcher (Toronto Blue Jays)
Stripling was also subject to a midseason trade in 2020 and he’s back for another round with the Blue Jays. He pitched in 12 games last season, including nine starts. He posted a 3-3 record with one save, a 5.84 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. He spent his first four and a half years as a Swiss Army knife for the Los Angeles Dodgers with 59 starts and 84 relief appearances. His career marks include a 23-27 record with three saves, a 3.77 ERA and 417 strikeouts in 436.1 innings. Last year, Stripling was 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 90.2 innings. He boasts a 2018 MLB All-Star Game appearance.
MICHAEL WACHA, pitcher (Tampa Bay Rays)
Heading into his ninth MLB campaign, Wacha is in a new locale for the second consecutive season. After pitching seven years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Wacha worked for the New York Mets in 2020, going 1-4 in eight games. For his career, he is 60-43 with a 4.01 ERA and 796 strikeouts in 901.2 innings. Wacha owns a 2015 MLB All-Star Game appearance and a 2013 National League Championship Series MVP trophy.