If you can’t get him out, sign him
That headline certainly is not a knock on York’s pitching staff, which was one of the league’s best last season and should hopefully be a strength of the team again this year. But there are always certain hitters who seem to “own” you, or seem to enjoy hitting in your park just a bit too much for your liking. Today, the Revs eliminated two of those potential foes by acquiring them, bringing both Michael Hernandez and Stephen Douglas on board. The outfielders are joined by infielder Joe Spiers who will make his Atlantic League debut with York this season. All three newcomers were All-Stars in their respective leagues a year ago.
Revs fans will certainly hope that Sovereign Bank Stadium’s surroundings look just as good to Hernandez as they did when he was a visiting player with Newark in 2009 and Somerset the last two years. His numbers at The Vault are silly, and his shining moment came last July when he was named All-Star Game MVP at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
Douglas had an incredible season in the American Association last year claiming a handful of league records as his own. He then joined Lancaster late in the season, and almost single-handedly knocked York out of the playoffs with his performance in the Division Series. Just 26, he seems to be on the right track, as a guy who said that he once tried to do too much at the plate and hit for power when that’s not really his game. He’s more of a hit for average type of guy with plenty of speed, and seems to be figuring things out and becoming a smarter player in that sense. After last season he had agreed with a team in Japan for 2012, but opted to go to Mexico instead with Puebla where Chris Nowak was as well. Like Nowak, that experience didn’t last long, and Douglas will open the Atlantic League season with York, signing as a free agent.
The Revs now have four outfielders under contract, and could be finished making additions at that position, though with 24 players under contract, there is still room for three more roster spots to be filled by Opening Day, and they can bring as many players to spring camp as they desire.
It remains to be seen what type of role Spiers will have. He’s seen significant time at second base, shortstop, and third base in his career, and was an All-Star in the Frontier League last season. He certainly gives the team depth and versatility, and perhaps he can earn a prominent role here. Previously, the Revs had only Liubiemithz Rodriguez (player-coach) on roster as a second baseman, but they don’t plan on him playing every day. Spiers could perhaps earn that role, unless they envision a utility role for him, then the team could still look to add another player at the position.
For all of the facts, here’s today’s press release:
The two-time defending Atlantic League champion York Revolution have added three more players to the roster as the off-season draws near a close, acquiring outfielders Michael Hernandez and Stephen Douglas, along with infielder Joe Spiers. The Revs now have 24 players under contract with just over one week remaining before players report for Atlantic League spring training.
Hernandez was acquired in a trade from the Somerset Patriots for a player to be named later and should enjoy making Sovereign Bank Stadium his home park. In three years in the Atlantic League that have taken him to The Vault for a combined 20 career games, Hernandez has batted .416 with seven home runs, six doubles, a triple, 24 RBI, and 15 runs scored in York as an opposing player. He had a night to remember in the 2011 Atlantic League All-Star Game at Sovereign Bank Stadium as well, going 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple, a pair of RBI, and two runs scored, taking home the Stephen R. Shilling Award as the game’s Most Valuable Player. Hernandez even kicked off his 2011 season with a memorable moment inside of York’s friendly confines, blasting a grand slam home run in the Fan Fest exhibition game as a member of the United States Military All-Stars. Hernandez’ older brother Johnny, an Atlantic League veteran himself, served in the Navy and made two tours of duty in Iraq, a connection that landed Michael on the field in camouflage that day.
Hernandez is a career .293 hitter in the Atlantic League. The Brooklyn native hit .302 with 11 home runs for Newark in 2009, and led Somerset with a .303 average in 2010 while clubbing 15 long balls. Last season, the 28-year-old hit nine more home runs and batted .272, including .295 from the beginning of June through the remainder of the season.
A product of Oklahoma State University, Hernandez began his pro career in the Detroit Tigers organization in 2006, and mashed a career-best 24 homers between Lakeland and Erie in his second pro season in 2007. Hernandez also played in the New York Mets organization in 2008.
Like Hernandez, Douglas has been a foe to Revolution pitching, albeit in a much shorter timeframe. Douglas joined rival Lancaster late last season after putting together a monster year in the American Association, but quickly made a name for himself in the Atlantic League, batting .529 with three doubles and a home run against York in the Freedom Division Championship Series.
Douglas combined to bat .378 between El Paso and Grand Prairie in the American Association last year where he was a league All-Star, posting the second-highest average in the league, while racking up a league-record 160 hits. He also set a league record with a 34-game hitting streak, which was part of a league-record 56-game on-base streak that took him through the end of the regular season.
Just 26 years old, Douglas was a 16th round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2006, spending two seasons in their farm system. Douglas has also played in the United League and Frontier League, and is a career .310 hitter with 92 stolen bases, including a career-high 35 steals with Amarillo in 2010. He began the 2012 season in the Mexican League with Puebla.
Spiers was acquired from Lancaster in a trade for a player to be named later, and should provide the Revs with quality infield versatility, having seen significant time at shortstop, second base, and third base in his five-year career. The 26-year-old was a Frontier League All-Star last season for Evansville where he batted .323 with five home runs and 50 stolen bases, the second-highest total in the league. The San Jose, CA native played his college ball at both the University of Hawaii and San Diego State, and first signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2007. Spiers has also played professionally in the American Association, and appeared in 12 games for Washington of the Frontier League in 2009 where Revs pitching coach Mark Mason was his manager. Spiers is a career .283 hitter with 107 stolen bases in 248 games.