August Alumni Update
When Major League rosters expand on September 1, five former members of the Revolution in Triple-A will be hoping for a call-up to join Mets pitcher Scott Rice as York alums in the big leagues. In addition, five additional former Revs are currently at Double-A. After the jump is a comprehensive update on how all of these guys are doing with their new organizations.
Scott Rice ‘11, LHP New York Mets (MLB)
We all know what is maybe the best individual story of the 2013 season by now. But it never hurts to mention that after 14 minor league seasons, Rice earned his way onto a Major League roster for the first time out of spring training this year, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the Mets against San Diego to close an 11-2 win on Opening Day in Queens. At 31, Rice was the oldest rookie on any MLB roster to start the season. Once he finally reached the big leagues, Rice made it a point to stick. At one point, he strung together 14 consecutive scoreless appearances, and will probably lead the National League and the Majors in appearances by season’s end. As of August 20, he’d appeared in a MLB-best 64 games. In such games, Rice held the opposition to just a .230 average, allowing just one home run. On April 7, Rice earned his first MLB win in New York against the Marlins. On May 19, he earned the winning decision in his first appearance at Wrigley Field in the Mets 4-3 triumph over the Cubs. Perhaps Rice’s most impressive achievement this season however was naming all 18 minor league clubs he played for from 1999 to 2012, from age 17 to age 30, when put on the spot live by MLB Network’s Chris Rose during the afternoon show Intentional Talk. He nailed them all, and which year he played at each, with the 2011 York Revolution on the list.
Justin Hampson ‘10, LHP Las Vegas 51 (Mets AAA)
Looking at Hampson’s numbers in the Pacific Coast League which is slanted toward offense, it’s a little puzzling that he hadn’t been promoted to the Mets three-quarters of the way through this season. The lefty posted a 3.41 ERA to go with a 5-2 record in his first 57 games this year in 61 innings, with 53 strikeouts. And it’s not like the Mets don’t have him on their radar; a season ago he was called up twice from Triple-A, in June and September. His call-up in June made him the second Rev to reach the big leagues, and the first since outfielder Tike Redman in 2007. His recall in September meant he was the first former Rev to reach The Show on two non-consecutive occasions. Furthermore, Hampson excelled in New York, allowing just two earned runs in his 10 innings of work between each call-up, for a 1.80 ERA. (13 total appearances.) So all things considered, the Mets leaving him in Triple-A all season is a little befuddling. Hampson is also no rookie, he’s logged 92 MLB appearances total after debuting with the Rockies in 2006, and time with the Padres in 2007 and 2008, making his 2012 Mets stint a four-year Major League comeback. Hopefully by the time you read this or by season’s end, the Mets will have a nice 1-2 lefty punch out of their bullpen featuring two former Revs in Scott Rice and Hampson.
Ryan Feierabend ‘12, LHP Round Rock Express (Rangers AAA)
When Feierabend signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason, he was kind of starting over. Despite 25 games of MLB experience in his early 20s, including 19 starts with the Mariners between 2006 and 2008, he accepted an assignment to Double-A Frisco. That came after a solid spring training, following an up and down 2012. After excelling in York, Feierabend struggled at Triple-A Louisville after being picked up in June by the Reds. (1-4, 6.75 in seven starts). Upon his release, Feierabend was able to return to the Revolution and rebound, finishing with an 8-5 record and a 2.91 ERA in 17 Atlantic League starts. His strikeout to walk ratio (70/17) certainly caught the Rangers attention despite his struggles in Louisville. They started him slowly this year, but Double-A proved to be child’s play for the lefty. Feierabend was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock after five starts for Frisco, where he struck out 22 walking only five in 28 innings. Even in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Feierabend has re-gained his past form as a reliable starter, and as of August 20 had a 6-4 record with a 3.73 ERA. Some stat types suggest that with the high-altitude locations in that league, ERAs could be inflated a full run higher compared to what that pitcher might do in another league. In any event, Feierabend, still only 27, could be a candidate for a September call-up to the Rangers. If not, his youth still allows him time for a potential big league return.
Shawn Hill ‘12, RHP Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers AAA)
This season just didn’t go to plan for Hill with the Detroit organization, after a stellar 2012 that saw him rebound from injury, dominate in York, and get called back to the big leagues to face the Yankees in September. Last season with the Revolution, Hill established a new franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings, allowing nothing over his final 27.2 innings and five starts with the team. His former employer, the Toronto Blue Jays, immediately came calling to add Hill back to their organization in June. Hill had last pitched for the Jays in 2010, posting a 2.61 ERA in four Major League starts. On September 29 of last year, he was called back up to Toronto where he tossed three innings of scoreless, hitless relief against the Yankees at Rogers Centre to earn the win, beating Andy Pettitte and Co. by a 3-2 final score. It was Hill’s 45th MLB appearance, and his first out of the bullpen. (44 starts came with Montreal/Washington, San Diego and Toronto between 2004 and 2010.) The accomplishment made Hill the first former Rev to earn a winning decision in a Major League game. He was the third former Rev overall to reach the Majors after playing in York, and the second to go from York to the big leagues in one season, joining Redman. After signing as a free agent with Detroit for 2013, Hill went to spring training as the organization’s number six starter, meaning he was ticketed for Triple-A Toledo, and what we thought was a probable call-up to the Tigers at some point during the season. Unfortunately, Hill has struggled with Toledo to the tune of a 4-14 record and a 5.70 ERA in 24 starts this year.
Matt Fox ‘13, RHP Las Vegas 51s (Mets AAA)
Fox had his Atlantic League contract purchased by the Mets on May 14 of this season. The way Fox was pitching, the Revolution weren’t planning on having him for long. In five appearances and four starts, Fox posted a 1.58 ERA with 18 strikeouts and only three walks. He continued to excel in Triple-A for the Mets, posting a 6-4 record with a 4.87 ERA in 18 starts through August 20 in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League with Las Vegas. Fox remains firmly in the mix for a September call-up to New York in either a bullpen or spot-starting role. In August, Fox had been rumored to be in the mix to make a spot start for the big club, but was unable to as his prior scheduled start for Vegas would’ve left him on just three days rest. If Fox were to reach the Majors at the tail end of this season, he’d become the third former Rev to start a season in York and appear in the big leagues the same season, joining outfielder Tike Redman (2007, Orioles) and pitcher Shawn Hill (2012, Blue Jays). A return to The Show for Fox would be his third MLB stint, after a one-game cup of coffee with the Twins in 2010, and three more appearances with the Red Sox that same season.
Andy Marte ‘13, 3B Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA)
At long last, Andy Marte’s raking of Atlantic League pitching earned him a new contract with the Angels on August 6. While the Revolution enjoyed having his .301 average, 19 home runs and 74 RBI around for 96 games, most around Sovereign Bank Stadium were in agreement Marte was here far too long based on the numbers he was putting up…numbers that had him squarely in the Atlantic League Most Outstanding Player discussion for 2013. Marte, a former top prospect out of the Dominican Republic originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in 2000, is best remembered for the five seasons he spent in the Majors with the Cleveland Indians from 2006 through 2010. After debuting as a Major Leaguer with Atlanta at age 21, 24 games in 2005, he went on to play in 277 more MLB games with the Indians. With Salt Lake, Marte jumped out to a fast start hitting .275 in his first 40 at bats with a pair of home runs and six RBI. At 29, Marte’s window to reach the Majors again is hardly closed thanks to his impressive performance in York. A spot in the Angels organization opened up when Chris Nelson, a top prospect at third base, was summoned to Anaheim. It didn’t take Angels brass long to realize the best available player out there to fill the Triple-A spot and be one injury away from the big leagues was Marte, rather than another player in their system.
Mike DeMark ‘11, RHP Midland RockHounds (Athletics AA)
After the Arizona Diamondbacks purchased DeMark’s contract from the Revolution midway through the 2011 season, he appeared primed for a September call-up to the big leagues in 2012 after striking out 63 batters with only 20 walks in 53 appearances and 63 innings at Triple-A Reno. That year in spring training, he spent most of it in big league camp with the DBacks as well. At this point, DeMark is still waiting to make his MLB Debut, and has spent the duration of this season in Double-A after signing with Oakland in the offseason. Overall, it appears the A’s only have DeMark “helping out the organization” as the saying goes, as the veteran has appeared in just 29 games this season, around some time on the disabled list. It’s frustrating for DeMark, who also reached Triple-A with the San Diego Padres organization in 2009 and 2010 before coming to York.
Ian Thomas ‘12, LHP Mississippi Braves (Braves AA)
The best “prospect” on this list is undoubtedly Ian Thomas. (The definition of a prospect being one who combines great youth with great ability.) An over looked late-bloomer out of Virginia Commonwealth University, Thomas went undrafted in 2009 but pitched three seasons with the Winnipeg Goldeyes before joining the Revolution in 2012. Appearing in only seven games out of the York bullpen before Atlanta purchased his contract, Thomas allowed just a single run in 9.1 innings of work for a sultry 0.96 ERA and 12 strikeouts before finishing the season at Class A Rome, Georgia. There he posted a 5-0 record and a 3.15 ERA in 26 appearances – but logged 46 innings as a long reliever, striking out 58 and walking only 15 in that time. A career reliever as a professional after starting in college, the Braves saw something in Thomas that suggested he’d be an effective starter after his solid long work. Midway through this season at Double-A Mississippi, they made the switch, and as of August 20 the last 11 of Thomas’ 37 appearances this year have been starts, and he’s excelled as both a starter and reliever. He sported a 2.80 ERA this year in 93 total innings in those first 37 games, and is toward the top of the Southern League in strikeouts with 117. In his combined time at Rome last year and Mississippi this year in the Braves organization, Thomas is 12-7 with a 2.91 ERA and 175 strikeouts in just 139 innings. (Through August 20.) The best part is he’s still only 26, meaning he still has plenty of time to factor into Atlanta’s long-term plans. The Braves appear to be serious about turning him into a Major League arm, and after his strong Double-A showing this season, Thomas should crack the Triple-A roster in 2014.
Johan Limonta ‘12/’13, 1B/OF San Antonio Missions (Padres AA)
It was puzzling that the Mariners released Limonta in the early part of the 2012 season, after he hit .319 with 14 homers and 84 RBI in 108 games at Triple-A Tacoma in 2011. He returned to York for a second go-round in 2013, and started fast with a .295 average with two dingers and 12 RBI 16 games. As it turned out, the San Diego Padres had taken note of Limonta’s impressive time with the Mariners and purchased his Atlantic League contract on May 7, and assigned him to Double-A San Antonio where he’s played the remainder of this season.
Josh Judy ‘13, RHP Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA)
He appeared in just four games for the Revolution, but early this season competition for Josh Judy’s services was stiff. The Angels ended up pouncing on him first, after he allowed just three hits and a run with five strikeouts in four innings. So far this season, he’s been at Double-A Arkansas, Triple-A Salt Lake, and back to Double-A for a total of 33 appearances as of August 20. Judy logged 12 Major League games for the Cleveland Indians in 2011, and was a teammate of Feierabend’s last season in Louisville with the Reds organization.
Eric Patterson ‘13, OF/IF Huntsville Stars (Brewers AA)
Patterson had the pedigree coming to York, after appearing in 226 Major League games with the Cubs, A’s, Red Sox and Padres between 2007 and 2011. Knowing this, the Revolution didn’t anticipate having him very long, but he was with the club long enough to earn selection to the Atlantic League All-Star Game on July 10 at Southern Maryland after batting .275 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 62 games, often in the leadoff spot for York. The Milwaukee Brewers then came in and purchased his contract on July 12. Patterson, who has 10 big league home runs on his resume, had appeared in 29 games at Double-A Huntsville as of August 20. What helps Patterson is his versatility; he appeared at second, third, short and all three outfield positions at one time or another with the Revolution.