Reno’s winningest Ace Branden Shipley has left the Biggest Little City.
The former Aces pitcher signed a minor-league contract with the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
Shipley was a 2019 MiLB free agent. He’ll receive $600,000 if he makes the Royals’ big-league roster, Jeffery Flanagan of MLB.com reported.
Shipley, 27, is the Aces’ all-time wins leader with 25 victories — passing Charles Brewer with 24 wins — and notched 292 strikeouts in 393.2 innings over four seasons. He spent all of 2019 with Triple-A Reno, sporting a 5.95 ERA in 95.1 innings.
Shipley played seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He was selected 15th overall in the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of Nevada, Reno — the highest draftee in school history.
The Medford, Oregon, native spent three seasons with Nevada from 2011-13. Shipley was named Mountain West Co–Pitcher of the Year as a junior and earned WAC Pitcher of the Year honors as a sophomore.
From 2016-18, Shipley had a 4-6 record and 5.49 ERA in 100 innings pitched with the Dbacks. He bounced between the starting rotation and the bullpen with the Aces last season.
“Bouncing between the bullpen and starting, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to accomplish (the record),” Shipley said last season. “I was fortunate enough to pick up a couple wins and get my confidence back.”
No matter when Shipley toed the rubber, his selfless attitude rubbed off on Reno’s younger prospects.
“He’s a guy that gives it his all,” Aces pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru told Tahoe Onstage last season. “Even if he doesn’t have his best stuff, he will put in the extra effort to improve. That means a lot to the younger guys on this team.”
Shipley leaves Reno with his name etched in the record books. But his love for the game will stay the same.
“It’s taught me to be mentally strong more than anything else,” he said last season. “It’s all about having fun playing the game, and that’s helped me get to this point.”
Notes: The Arizona Diamondbacks signed former San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $85 million contract on Sunday. … Pitchers and catchers report between Feb. 11 and Feb. 14.