Leading off and playing center field…
More big news today (it’s almost a disappointment now if we go through a day without big news!) as another instrumental figure in the championship runs of the last two years will return, with the Revs announcing the signing of Scott Grimes to a contract for the 2012 season.
It’s difficult to quantify just how important Grimes has been to the team’s success. It’s certainly not lost on the fans, they’ve been asking about his signing for weeks on Facebook. Mark Mason describes him as a six-tool player, and that might be the best way to put it.
You always hear about five-tool players… hit for average, hit for power, speed/baserunning, defensive ability, arm strength – the five tools. We hear about it all the time even though they are rare to find. Well, Grimes has all of those, plus his intangibles. His attitude, his gritty approach, his willingness to (cliche alert) run through a wall for his team. He brings it 100% every day and it wears off on everybody else.
Etch and his staff have done a really good job at bringing back the right guys year after year, more so than other teams in this league have managed to do. It’s tough to keep a nucleus together in the minors, and even more than that, to keep them productive together. Year after year, managers / baseball ops guys actually strive for some turnover in this league to keep bringing in fresh talent / new blood / players who are hungry to perform well and move up the ladder, however you want to term it. And while York’s staff has certainly done that, they’ve also managed to keep a nucleus together that has produced two championships and will be going for a third. And it’s been a great mix of veteran guys who can still play at a high level, and continue to do so for the love of the game even if that big league call isn’t coming, as well as new faces from year to year (like Grimes when he first arrived).
I think one of the best ways I could describe Grimes’ impact is that if there were only a couple of guys returning from one season to the next but he happened to be one of them, you’d still feel like you have that nucleus returning, or that core glue of your team. He has that big of an impact. At the top of the order, when he’s on, the team is scoring a lot of runs. And of course his defense, you know when the ball is hit to center, more often than not he’s going to run it down. This team has prided itself on defense and he’s been as good as you could ask for out there.
One of the great mysteries is why Grimes hasn’t latched on with an affiliated club, and it’s something that’s still difficult to answer. The Mets nabbed him after he was the Can-Am League’s Player of the Year in 2008, but a freak injury cost him most of his time in 2009. That left him once again looking for a place to play, and the Revs were able to recognize the diamond in the rough. In fact, he was also in talks with Somerset when he was looking at the Atlantic League before the 2010 season. Thankfully he made the choice that he did and came to York. How different would history have been had it not worked out that way? The fact that Etch was able to promise him a chance to start went a long way in making that happen.
Then after one of the great seasons in Atlantic League history in 2010, all of the talk at this time last season was how long would it take before Grimes would get picked up by a major league club? I firmly believed that if he got off to a good start, he’d be out of here within a month, but he did not get off to the start he had hoped. It’s probably fair to say that he put pressure on himself to repeat what he had done the previous year, and I’m sure that weighed on him. But he really put together another solid season, even if statistically it wasn’t the same as the year before. You certainly can’t expect 2010 every year, those were video game numbers. But he did lead the league in runs scored again, blasted 15 homers, stole 21 bases. A very good season for most, even if it was considered a “down” year for him.
Now two years removed from the 2010 season, a lot of folks around here expect Grimes to have a bounce-back year. Again, not comparing numbers to 2010, but they do believe he’ll have a better year than he did last season. And if he’s able to do that, the Revs should be in pretty good shape.
For all of the facts, here’s the press release on Grimes’ signing:
Another one of the catalysts on the York Revolution’s back-to-back Atlantic League championship squads will be returning this season, as the team announced today that leadoff hitter and center fielder Scott Grimes has signed a contract with York for 2012. Grimes’ signing gives the Revs 18 players officially under contract for the upcoming year.
Grimes batted .268 with 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases for the Revolution last season. The Kennett Square, PA native led the league in runs scored for a second consecutive year, crossing the plate 97 times in just 115 games played. Grimes also drew the second most walks in the league with 70 bases on balls for the year. On September 15, Grimes authored one of the more memorable moments of the season, celebrating his 28th birthday by hitting for the cycle in game one of a doubleheader against Bridgeport, helping the Revs clinch the Freedom Division’s second half crown and a playoff berth.
The 2010 season saw Grimes put together one of the greatest individual seasons in Atlantic League history, scoring an incredible league-record 138 runs in just 132 games, 30 more than any other player in the league, and 12 more than any other player in professional baseball that season. He also batted .312, smashed 17 home runs, and stole a team-record 28 bases, earning Atlantic League co-Player of the Year honors, as well as a spot on Baseball America’s All-Independent First Team. In addition, Grimes was a mid-season and post-season selection to the Atlantic League’s All-Star teams. Grimes capped his storybook season by scoring the championship-clinching run in the 10th inning of Game 3 of the Atlantic League Championship Series in Bridgeport, a 5-4 Revolution victory.
Grimes was among the league’s statistical leaders in several other categories in 2010 finishing 9th in batting average; 3rd in hits (162), total bases (261) and on-base percentage (.429); 5th in doubles (32); 2nd in extra-base hits (57), and 1st in walks (84) and times hit by pitch (24).
“We’re really happy to have Scotty back leading off for us again this season,” said manager Andy Etchebarren. “He is such an important part of our offense and has had a lot to do with what we’ve accomplished as a team the last two years.”
Grimes will enter the 2012 season as York’s all-time leader in runs (235), stolen bases (49), triples (11), outfield assists (25) and starts in center field (241); 2nd in walks (154); 3rd in on-base percentage (.407); 4th in hits (279), home runs (32) and total bases (444); 5th in extra-base hits (90); 7th in doubles (47); 9th in RBI (101) and 10th in slugging percentage (.464).
The 2012 season will be Grimes’ eighth in professional baseball. After a star-studded career at Keystone (PA) College, he began his professional career in the Can-Am League, and was named that league’s Player of the Year in 2008 as well as a Baseball America Independent All-Star when he set that league’s record with 87 runs scored while playing for Worcester. Grimes then spent the 2009 season in the New York Mets organization before coming to York in 2010.