Hi My Name Is...Saints Overhaul Roster with Signing of Three Pitchers and An Infielder
ST. PAUL, MN - With the St. Paul Saints muddling through the first 42 games of the season at 22-20, just 0.5 game back in the division, manager George Tsamis felt it was time to shake up the roster. Shake up the roster he did. He signed three pitchers: starting left-hander Chris Nunn, who will start Monday night, and right-handed relievers Andrew Thome and former Minnesota Twins farmhand Zack Jones. He also signed a big left-handed bat in Matt Snyder.
The 27-year-old Nunn was pitching in the Houston Astros organization this year, after they selected him in the Class AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft on December 14, 2017, and pitched for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno. Between the two levels he was 3-0 with a 4.94 ERA in 15 games. In 27.1 innings pitched he walked 14 and struck out 32 while opponents hit .272 against him.
Nunn was a 24th round draft pick in the First Year Player Draft by the San Diego Padres in 2012 out of Lipscomb. After one game in the Arizona League, he was promoted to Low-A Eugene where he was nearly unscored upon. He finished 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA and three saves in 24 relief appearances. In 31.1 innings pitched he walked 19 and struck out 45 while opponents hit a measly .159 against him. Nunn was a Northwest League Post-Season All-Star. He did not allow a run in his first 18 appearances, spanning 24.2 innings pitched. His most impressive relief appearance came on July 16 when he pitched 2.0 perfect innings and struck out all six batters he faced against Vancouver. He also went struck out at least one hitter in 10 consecutive relief appearances from July 26-August 21.
In 2013 Nunn spent the entire season with the Single-A Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League. He was once again impressive going 8-2 with a 2.77 ERA and nine saves in 55 relief appearances. In 65.0 innings he walked 30 and struck out 66 while opponents hit .259 against him. He finished first in the league in games and second in holds (10). He recorded a win or save in 14 consecutive decisions from April 25-July 18 and went 11 consecutive appearances (12.2 IP) without allowing a run from June 21-July 25.
Nunn once again moved up the ladder of the Padres system spending all of 2014 at High-A Lake Elsinore going 4-2 with a 4.30 ERA in 49 games in an offensive dominated league. In 58.2 innings pitched he walked 25 and struck out a robust 76 while opponents hit .234 against him. Nunn finished tied for third in holds (11) and fifth in highest strikeout/9 IP (11.66). He had two double-digit streaks of consecutive games with striking out at least one batter, going the final 12 games from July 27-September 1 and 15-straight from May 19-July 3.
In 2015 Nunn began the season at Double-A San Antonio before settling into High-A Lake Elsinore after seven games. Between the two stops he was 4-0 with a 7.03 ERA.
Nunn was released by the Padres on March 26, 2016 and he sat out baseball, instead focusing on his pursuit of his Masters Degree in business at Lipscomb. He also joined The Block Agency, a talent agency in Nashville that represents the "region's best models, actors, and hosts." He did some photo shoots and was featured in a few music videos.
After a year-and-a-half off from baseball Nunn signed with the Independent Evansville Otters in the Frontier League. He lasted one game with them because he proved he was back to form. Nunn walked the first two hitters he faced then struck out seven in a row. His 5.0 strong innings made the Chicago Cubs take notice and he had his contract purchased by them on August 18 and pitched for Double-A Tennessee. He went 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in four starts.
The 25-year-old Thome had spent his entire four-year career with the Houston Astros organization and spent this season at Triple-A Fresno. He was 4-2 with a 4.91 ERA in 25 relief appearances. In 36.2 innings pitched he walked 15 and struck out 18 while opponents hit .262 against him. He went hit final seven appearances without allowing an earned run, spanning 8.1 innings. Despite allowing runs over his first four outings, he didn't allow an earned run in 16 of his final 21 relief appearances.
Thome was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Astros out of the University of North Dakota. He was dominate in his first season pitching 11 games with Greenville in the Rookie Level Appalachian League and one game at Single-A Quad Cities. He was 2-1 with a 0.77 ERA between the two stops in 12 games (four starts). In 35.0 innings pitched he walked just two and struck out 21 while opponents hit .252 against him. In Thome's final appearance with Greenville he started and tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing two hits while striking out six against Princeton.
In 2016 Thome began the season with Quad Cities and went 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA and four saves in 12 relief appearances. In 28.2 innings pitched he walked only four, struck out 16 and opponents hit just .221 against him. Those numbers got him promoted to High-A Lancaster on May 26. In an offensively dominant league Thome put up solid numbers going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and five saves in 26 games. In 46.2 innings pitched he walked 18 and struck out 36 while opponents hit .288 against him. He went a career high nine consecutive games with a strikeout from June 26-July 31. His team reached the playoffs and lost in the semi-finals to High Desert.
Thome ascended through the Astros system in 2017 spending four games with the Single-A Buies Creek Astros and went 0-1 with a 5.88 ERA and one save. He then spent from April 23-August 8 with Double-A Corpus Christi where he was stellar going 4-4 with a 2.85 ERA and seven saves in 28 relief appearances. In 41.0 innings pitched he walked 13 and struck out 33 while opponents hit only .232 against him. He was promoted to Fresno for the first time on July 7, pitched three games before returning to Corpus Christi, and then again for good on July 19. He was 0-0 with a 7.50 ERA in eight relief appearances.
Thome went to the University of North Dakota and led the Fighting Hawks to their first-ever Western Athletic Conference Tournament. He left school as the all-time record holder in innings (333.1) and shutouts (4), second in wins (18) and complete games (17), and third in strikeouts (220). As a freshman he was named to the All-Great Western Conference Second Team and was voted the team's Most Valuable Pitcher while setting the school record for innings pitched (93.0), a record he would break during his senior season. He became the only Division I Pitcher to hurl three nine-inning shutouts in 2012.
Thome was a 2011 graduate of St. Cloud Cathedral where he led the team to a Minnesota Class 2A State Championship as a senior, earning All-State Tournament honors. He was named the 2011 Minnesota Class 2A Player of the Year and West Central Player of the Year.
The 27-year-old Jones was a dominant arm in the Twins system and a highly touted prospect. He was having a solid season this year at Double-A Chattanooga where he was 1-1 with a 2.49 ERA and one save in 17 relief appearances. In 25.1 innings pitched he walked 25 and struck out 39 while opponents hit a microscopic .119 against him. Despite the struggles with his command early, Jones was much better as the season went along. He continued to strike hitters out at an epic clip, fanning at least one in 16 of 17 games including three or more six times. He struck out five in 2.0 perfect innings of relief on April 29 vs. Tennessee.
Jones was a fourth-round draft pick by the Twins out of San Jose State in 2012 and breezed through the Rookie Appalachian League with Elizabethton. He did not allow a run in six relief appearances and struck out nine in 6.0 innings of work while the league hit .100 against him. Jones was promoted to Single-A Beloit on July 18 and went 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA and four saves in 12 relief appearances. In 14.0 innings he walked seven and struck out an eye-popping 25 while opponents hit .184 against him. He continued his scoreless streak by not allowing a run over his first six appearances, 7.2 innings pitched. He struck out the side on three separate occasions. His team reached the playoffs and lost in the first round to the Clinton LumberKings.
In 2013 Jones had a dominant season at High-A Fort Myers going 4-3 with a 1.85 ERA and 14 saves in 39 relief appearances. In 48.2 innings pitched he walked 28 and struck out a mind boggling 70 while opponents hit a paltry .172 against him. Those numbers earned him a spot in the Florida State League All-Star Game where he pitched 1.0 perfect inning of relief and struck out one. Jones had three separate streaks of six straight appearances without allowing a run and struck out at least one hitter in a career high 22 consecutive games, 43 K's in 30.1 innings pitched, from May 7-July 27. He struck out three or more 10 times including five in 2.0 perfect innings of relief on May 10 at Jupiter. Jones finished fifth in games finished (35) and his team made the playoffs, but lost in the semi-finals to the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Jones began the 2014 season the disabled list while he recovered from surgery from an aneurysm in his upper right arm. After doing a six game rehab stint in the Gulf Coast league, he didn't allow a run in five relief appearances at High-A Fort Myers.
The 2015 season garnered Jones his second All-Star appearance, this time at Double-A Chattanooga. Prior to the All-Star break he was 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 10 saves in 23 games. In 24.0 innings pitched he walked 10 and struck out 26 while opponents hit .207 against him. He retired the two batters he faced in the All-Star game and struck out one. Jones went nine consecutive relief appearances without allowing a run (9.0 IP) from April 13-May 8. After giving up 10 runs over his final four appearances his ERA finished at 6.00 with Chattanooga. Jones was placed on the disabled list and then assigned to High-A Fort Myers where he returned to form. He was 2-2 with a 2.19 ERA and two saves in 18 relief appearances. In 24.2 innings pitched he walked 10 and struck out 38 while opponents continued to hit way below the Mendoza Line, .157. He struck out a hitter in 17 of 18 appearances including the final 16. He didn't allow a run in 10.1 consecutive innings from July 21-August 7.
The Milwaukee Brewers claimed Jones in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft, but Jones was placed on the 15-day disabled list, with a right shoulder injury, to begin 2016. He pitched in just five rehab games for the Brewers at High-A Brevard and Triple-A Colorado Springs before being returned to the Twins. Jones spent the rest of the season at Double-A Chattanooga where he went 2-2 with a 2.53 ERA and two saves in 21 relief appearances. In 32.0 innings pitched he walked 15 and struck out a whopping 46 wile opponents hit .198 against him. He once again struck out a batter in all, but one appearance and didn't allow a run in his first 8.0 innings pitched. He did not allow a run in 14 of 21 appearances.
Jones missed most of 2017 after having right shoulder surgery and pitched in just one rehab game.
Jones was dominant at San Jose State where he was the team leader in strikeouts during his junior season, the year he was drafted, with 60. He had a 3.5-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and averaged 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings during his 10 appearances on the mound. He finished his time with the Spartans as the all-time record holder in saves with 22. He was named the Western Athletic Conference Preseason Pitcher of the Year going into his junior season and was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association "Stopper of the Year" Preseason Watch List. He was chosen by Collegiate Baseball as a 2010 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, becoming the school's first honoree since 1999 and one of only seven in school history. He was also named to the Ping!Baseball Freshman All-American Team.
During his senior season at Santa Teresa High, Jones was named Mercury News Baseball Player of the Year. He went 14-0 with a 0.88 ERA with six complete games and four shutouts. He struck out 98 in 88 innings pitched. He was also a dominant at the plate hitting .508 with eight homers and 30 RBI.
The 28-year-old Snyder has spent his entire seven-year career in the New York Yankees organization, but has been hampered by injuries. He played in just four games this season at Double-A Trenton and was 4-15 with an RBI before being placed on the disabled list on April 26 and being released on June 21.
Snyder was a 10th round draft pick out of the University of Mississippi in 2012 and had a monster season with the Staten Island Yankees that year. He hit .299 with three home runs and 34 RBI in 52 games. In 187 at bats he roped 13 doubles, a triple, had a .397 on base percentage, and a .428 slugging percentage. The numbers were even more remarkable considering he went 10 straight games at the beginning of the season without a hit, an 0-31 skid. Snyder was a New York-Penn League All-Star and was named Player of the Week for the week of July 9-16. He reached base safely in 31 consecutive games from July 1-August 7. He hit safely in 10 straight from July 8-20 and ad an RBI in six straight from July 7-15 including four twice.
The injuries started to mount after that season and Snyder didn't play more than 47 games in any one year. In 2013 he hit .159 with three homers and eight RBI in 20 games at High-A Tampa. He missed more than three months of the season from April 15-July 25 and played in seven rehab games in the Gulf Coast League.
In 2014 Snyder was having a solid season after missing the first five weeks of the season. He hit .287 with three homers and 25 RBI in 47 games. In 178 at bats he slugged 15 doubles, had a .339 on base percentage, and a .421 slugging percentage. Snyder then missed the final three weeks of the season due to injury.
Snyder began 2015 with Tampa and was hitting .371 with three homers and 20 RBI in 24 games. He was promoted to Double-A Trenton on May 8 before injuring his ankle and being placed on the DL on May 11. He came back for one game on June 17 before missing the remainder of the season.
In 2016 Snyder didn't start the season until May 31 and played in just eight games between Tampa and Trenton before having his season come to an end on June 12.
Snyder played 22 games with Tampa in 2017 and hit .239 with three homers and 11 RBI. He was promoted to Trenton on June 4, but was placed on the disabled list on June 12 and missed the remainder of the season.
At Mississippi, Snyder was an All-SEC selection as a senior and finished his career tied for second all-time in home runs with 41 and third in RBI with 173. He was in the top 10 in the SEC in five offensive categories during his senior season: slugging percentage, RBI, home runs, doubles, and total bases.
At Westfield High School Snyder hit .440 with 15 home runs and 40 RBI as a senior. The 15 home runs set the Virginia Class 3A home run record for a single-season. He earned numerous accolades including Louisville Slugger All-America First Team and First Team Virginia Prep All-State.
Snyder comes from a long line of baseball players in his family. His Dad, Brian, pitched for the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics from 1985-89. His twin brother, Michael, was selected by the Angels in the 23rd round of the First Year Player Draft in 2012 and his older brother Brandon was taken by the Baltimore Orioles as the 13th overall pick in 2005 and has played in 122 Major League games.
The Saints also activated outfielder Kyle Barrett and placed first baseman Brady Shoemaker on the disabled list retroactive to June 28.
The Saints roster stands at the league maximum 23, 12 pitchers and 11 position players.
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