(Editor’s note: release from Missoula Osprey)

MISSOULA – In partnership with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Missoula Osprey announced Tuesday the release of more of their roster, led by infielder Buddy Kennedy and 2018 Osprey Opening Day starter, Deyni Olivero. Missoula also announces the addition of 12 former collegiate players for the 2018 season, including 10 pitchers and two catchers.

Buddy Kennedy, who is the highest former draft pick of the Diamondbacks to play for Missoula this year, joins the company of Shannon and the infielders group. The 19-year-old completed his first season of professional baseball last year with the Arizona League after being the organizations fifth-round selection in 2017. The Millville, New Jersey High School product (same high school as Los Angeles Angels star outfielder Mike Trout) hit .270 in his first season with 20 RBIs in 50 games. Scouts rave about his offensive ability, and he plays with a smooth step defensively. Kennedy is the grandson of longtime Major Leaguer Don Money, who spent 16 seasons in the majors with Philadelphia and Milwaukee and hit .261 lifetime with 176 home runs.

Since joining the Diamondbacks organization as a free agent in 2016, Deyni Olivero continues to improve in the minor leagues. Starting his career in the DSL, Olivero went 5-1 with an ERA of 4.99 in 39.2 innings. However, at the start of 2017 in the DSL, the right-hander went 3-2 and a 3.58 ERA. In 10 starts, he posted 50 innings and 33 strikeouts. Earning a promotion to the AZL, Olivero showed his best pitching. Through six appearances and three starts, the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic product went 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in 25.2 innings. Olivero struck out 15 batters and gave up five earned runs. In his minor league career, Olivero is 16-13 with a 2.96 ERA with 25 appearances and 19 starts. The 20-year-old ended the 2017 season with six straight appearances with one or zero earned runs, three of those games were starts. Olivero is slated to be the Osprey Opening Day starter when Missoula travels to Billings Friday.

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Catchers

A 35th round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2017, Zachery Almond finished his first season of professional baseball with the organization’s Arizona League affiliate with a .260 batting average and five RBIs. In 19 games, Almond worked 11 walks in 61 plate appearances while holding an on-base percentage of .387. As a senior in college during the 2017 season Catawba, Almond batted .364 with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs. In his two-year career, the catcher hit 30 home runs while compiling 101 RBIs.

Undrafted out of college, 23-year-old Zack Jones joins the Diamondbacks in his first season of affiliated baseball. After spending two season’s in Independent Baseball, most recently with the Windy City Thunderbolts, Jones joins the Osprey catchers group. Jones hit .250 with two home runs and five RBIs in 13 games. This season, he hit .125 with Visalia in the California League, but saw action in just three games with 10 plate appearances. Jones graduated from Trinity Christian College where he earned CCAC All-Conference honors in 2015 and 2016, CCAC Gold Glove team in 2016 and an NCCAA All-America in 2015 and 2

Pitchers

A recent graduate from the University of Missouri, Andrew Toelken finished his two-year career with Missouri as an 11-6 pitcher with a 3.24 ERA in two seasons. The right-hander appeared in 21 games, starting five in 57.1 innings. Working 48 strikeouts as a senior, Toelken finished his Missouri career with 100 strikeouts and 43 walks. Before attending Missouri, Toelken pitched at St. John’s for two seasons. He was named as one of the nation’s best impact junior college transfers by PerfectGame, and finished his career with an 18-2 record and a 2.00 ERA. His 18 wins set a new school record for most in a career.

Used as a starter and reliever during his collegiate career, Samford’s Erin Baldwin completed his senior season by throwing to a 2-1 record and a 2.72 ERA. Baldwin appeared in 25 games while starting seven, tossing 56.1 innings. The right-hander struck out 48 batters with a meager eight walks. Before his two-year career at Samford, he spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons at LSU Eunice, ranking as one of the top starting pitchers among junior college teams. He led the No. 1 ranked JC team in the nation with a 2.63 ERA and finished 8-0. Baldwin struck out 44 batters in 51 innings, helping lead the team to a national title during his two- year career.

The ninth collegiate arm selected by the Diamondbacks on day three of the 2018 MLB Draft, Jacob Stevens ended his junior season at Boston College with a 4.84 ERA in 13 games started. The right-hander went 3-7, and tossed 70.2 innings on the season. In his three-year career with the Eagles, Stevens struck out 213 batters in 228 innings. With a 12-18 record and a 4.18 career ERA, Stevens started 43 of 44 games he appeared in. As a freshman in 2016, Stevens earned Freshman All-American Second-Team honors from
D1Baseball and baseball America. He was the first Boston College player to earn such honors since 2002. He was also tabbed to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman Team.

Geraldo Sanchez enters his first season in Missoula after spending the first two years of his Minor League career in the DSL. In his career, the right-hander possesses a 4-5 mark complimented by a 3.72 ERA in 101.2 innings. Sanchez, from San Jose de Ocoa, Dominican Republic, has 87 strikeouts compared to 37 walks. Last season, Sanchez started in all 14 games he appeared in, working 69 innings and recording a 4-3 record and 4.04 ERA. The 20-year-old put up a career-best 63 punch-out’s while holding opponents to a .257 batting
average.

A native of Chester, South Carolina and a graduate of Florence-Darlington Tech, Trent Autry begins his second year of Minor League Baseball and his first with the Osprey. In the AZL in 2017, the right-hander appeared in six games, starting three. With nine innings logged on the season, Autry struck out six and earned a 1-0 record. At Darlington Tech in 2017, Autry pitched in 15 games (13 starts) and posted a 6-3 record along side a 4.08 ERA. Showing his power, he piled up 115 strikeouts in 75 innings.

Right-handed pitcher Bryan Menendez recently completed his college career at UNLV, posting the best season of his career. With a 3-2 record and a 2.41 ERA, Menendez was one of the top arms selected out of the Rebels bullpen all season. With 25 appearances, the righty set the new UNLV saves record with 12 as the team’s closer, pitching 41 innings and striking out 36 batters. Hitters swung at a mark of .207 against Menendez, and the closer allowed just seven extra base hits all season. Menendez was selected as a Mountain West All-Conference Second Team performer. He finished his Rebels career with the second most saves program history with 17.

After two seasons of collegiate baseball at Richmond and McLennan Community College, respectfully, Justin Garcia transferred to the University of Arkansas Little Rock for his final season with the Trojans, Garcia went 2-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 33 appearances, all out of the bullpen to set a new team record for most appearances in a single season. Opponents hit .163 off the right-hander. This spring, Garcia continued to throw out of the bullpen, breaking his own record for appearances in a season with 36. Owning a 4-5 record and a 3.38 ERA, Garcia earned 10 saves in 58.2 innings pitched. Garcia completed his two-year career with the Trojans with 100 innings and a 3.23 ERA.

Landon Whitson dominated out of the bullpen as a closer for Lenoir-Rhyne in his senior season. With an ERA of 2.01 and a 3-1 record, Whitson broke the programs record for most saves in a season with nine. In 23 appearances, the right-hander pitched 31.1 innings and struck out 42 batters while walking just eight all season. Opponents had a hard time seeing the ball vs. Whitson, hitting .208 against him as a senior this spring. To complete his career, he finished with a 4.65 ERA and a 9-9 record in 50 appearances. Whitson started 12 games, with eight of those coming as a sophomore in 2016.

An undrafted free agent following the 2018 MLB Draft, California’s Matt Ladrech has signed with the Diamondbacks and been assigned to Missoula. As senior this spring, the Lafayette, California product started all 15 games he appeared in on his way to a 7-5 record and a 5.12 ERA in 77.1 innings. He posted six games pitching six or more innings, and three games of seven frames. Ladrech struck out 53 batters while issuing a career-low 13 free passes. In his Golden Bears career, Ladrech amassed a 19-15 record, 4.05 ERA 120 strikeouts in 275.1 innings.

Looking to rise back to the top of the Pioneer League, the Missoula Osprey open the 2018 season in Billings, Montana June 15th at 7:05 p.m. The O’s home opener is slated for June 19th vs. Helena at 7:05 p.m. Individual game tickets for all 38 Missoula Osprey regular season home games are on sale now at the MSO Hub, online at MissoulaOsprey.com, and by calling 406-543-3300.

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