April 30, 2013 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints
ST. PAUL, MN (April 30, 2013) - For the second time this off-season the St. Paul Saints pitching ace from a season ago, Robert Coe, and the American Association Rookie of the Year, is headed back to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Saints also signed left-handed pitcher and Edina High School graduate, Cole Nelson along with outfielder Jordan Tripp, brother of current Saints outfielder Brandon.
The 25-year-old Coe had his contract initially purchased by the Diamondacks organization on November 26, 2012. After he was released in March, the Saints signed him back on March 25, but Coe impressed enough during spring training that he is getting another chance. The eye-popping numbers Coe put up in 2012 with the Saints along with his American Association Rookie of the Year Award and Baseball America rating him as the eighth best Independent League prospect had the Diamondbacks salivating.
Coe went 12-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) with two complete games and a shutout in 2012. In 139.1 innings he walked 59 while striking out 87 and opponents hit just .240 against him. He finished tied for second in the league in wins and games started and third in ERA. He set the franchise record for innings pitched, surpassing Charlie Ruud's (2007) record of 138.2, and games started, which was held by five different pitchers who had 20 starts. He tied the franchise record of 12 wins, which he holds with four other players, Jim Manfred (1996), Jake Whitney (2002), Kevin Foster (2003) and Ruud (2008). His 2.91 ERA was ninth best in franchise history.
Coe's season was filled with honors for his impressive work earning Pitcher of the Month for July going 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA and one complete game in eight starts. In 58.0 innings of work Coe walked 20 while striking out 40 and opponents hit just .235 against him. He had a string of 17.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
During the week of July 2-8, Coe earned the Pitcher of the Week for his outing on July 6 against the Lincoln Saltdogs. He tossed his first professional 9.0 inning complete game. Coe threw 113 pitches, 69 for strikes and after the first inning he didn't allow a runner into scoring position. Coe allowed one run on six hits while walking two and striking out a career high eight.
Prior to the 2012 season Coe pitched just 12.1 innings at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and that came in 2011 during his senior year. He went 1-1 with a 0.73 ERA and two saves. He was signed by the Saints on June 21, 2011 and went 3-1 with a 4.93 ERA in 18 games (one start). His finest appearance of the season came in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs when he allowed one run in 6.0 innings against the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
To fill the void on the pitching staff the Saints signed 23-year-old left-hander Cole Nelson. Last year Nelson spent the season at Single-A Fort Myers, of the Minnesota Twins organization, where he went 5-8 with a 6.26 ERA and two saves in 23 games (14 starts). In 82.0 innings he walked 49 and struck out 66 while opponents hit .328 against him.
Nelson graduated from Edina High School and went to Des Moines Area Community College where he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 45th round of the 2009 June Amateur Draft, but elected not to sign. He played at Auburn University in 2010 and was a 10th round pick by the Detroit Tigers in the 2010 June Amateur Draft. In nine games pitched between the Gulf Coast League and Single-A Lakeland, Nelson was 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 2010.
In 2011 Nelson began the season with Lakeland before being traded to the Twins, along with pitcher Lester Oliveras, in exchange for Delmon Young. Nelson went 6-12 with a 4.67 ERA between the two teams.
The Saints also signed outfielder Jordan Tripp, brother of current outfielder Brandon. The 23-year-old Jordan played two seasons in the Oakland Athletics system hitting .213 with six homers and 33 RBI in 94 professional games. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 June Amateur Draft out of Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California. He missed the entire 2012 season.
The Saints currently have 22 players on their roster, 12 pitchers and 10 position players. The Saints can carry as many as 28 players into spring training, must be down to 23 by Opening Day and to 22 players 10 days into the season. The Saints 2013 season begins on Thursday, May 16 with a 7:05 p.m. home game against the New Jersey Jackals.