The Wichita Wingnuts have not played at home since July 24th because of the annual NBC World Series taking place at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. When the team does finally return to the friendly confines of their home park, they will do so without a key member at the back end of their bullpen. Closer Matt Nevarez has had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Over the past month, Nevarez teamed with fellow relievers Mike Zouzalik and Alex Hinshaw to form one of the American Association’s most potent one, two, three punches in the late innings. The right-hander is also a huge part of the Wingnuts’ 44-2 record when the team is leading after six innings have been completed.
Nevarez’s numbers in the 2014 campaign have been unmatched by other relievers in the league. The native of Mission Hills, California holds a 4-0 record and pristine 1.58 ERA in 35 appearances that covered 34 innings. He struck out 42 opposing hitters, walked just 12, and allowed only 26 hits. Nevarez recorded 23 saves in 24 chances with the only blown save coming during the team’s first road trip of the year to Gary on two unearned runs. He allowed an earned run in just three of 34 appearances. Nevarez is currently second in the league in reliever points, a system that gives bullpen members three points for a save, two points for a relief win, and subtracts two points for a relief loss, with a total of 77.
After beginning the 2011 season with the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi, Nevarez joined the Wingnuts in early July. He finished five games and earned one save on his way to a 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances. In 2012, he started the season in Wichita before having his contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays in late July. In his Wingnuts’ career Nevarez is 7-3 with 31 saves and a 2.35 ERA in 77 games. He has fanned 106 while walking 29 in 76.2 innings. American Association opponents have hit just .165 against him.
Nevarez, who was initially a 10th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2005, appeared in nine games last season for the Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay, Double-A) prior to injuring his arm. He has logged four years in the Rangers system, three seasons with the Houston Astros, and most recently a pair of seasons within the Rays organization in his eight year professional career. He will be assigned to the Pirates Double-A affiliate in Altoona.
Nevarez becomes the second player the Wingnuts have sold to a Major League organization in 2014 and the 21st all-time. Below is the complete list of players who have had their contracts purchased from Wichita.
Wingnuts Sold to Major League Organizations
OF Dustan Mohr, 2008 - Colorado Rockies
RHP Will Savage, 2010 - Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP Ben Graham, 2010 - Washington Nationals
LHP Justin Dowdy, 2010 - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Ryan Patterson, 2011 - Arizona Diamondbacks
LHP Dustin Pease, 2011 - San Diego Padres
RHP Cephas Howard, 2011 - Texas Rangers
OF Kenny Gilbert, 2011 - Chicago White Sox
OF Brent Clevlen, 2011 - Cincinnati Reds
OF Brent Clevlen, 2011 - Philadelphia Phillies
SS Jose Martinez, 2012 - Houston Astros
LHP Nate Robertson, 2012 - Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Matt Nevarez, 2012 - Tampa Bay Rays
RHP Andrew Aizenstadt, 2012 - Philadelphia Phillies
RHP James Hoyt, 2012 - Atlanta Braves
OF Adam Buschini, 2013 - San Diego Padres
RHP Jon Link, 2013 - Detroit Tigers
LHP Ryan Hinson, 2013 - Atlanta Braves
1B C.J. Ziegler, 2013 - Minnesota Twins
C J.T. Wise, 2014 – Texas Rangers
RHP Matt Nevarez – Pittsburgh Pirates