The Revolution’s May 30 game at Southern Maryland was the quarter pole of the Atlantic League season, or the first half mark of the First Half, if you will. York’s most valuable player to begin the season has undoubtedly been Johan Limonta, who was batting .336 (third in ALPB) with six home runs (tied for seventh in ALPB) and 33 RBI (third in ALPB) at the quarter mark.
While Limonta began that day as the league leader in RBI before being overtaken by Long Island’s Lew Ford and Lancaster’s Cole Garner, each with 34 batted in as of May 31, Limonta’s torrid pace still puts him in pursuit of both the Revolution single-season record for RBI, and the Atlantic League record as well. Chris Nowak drove in 107 runs for the 2012 Revolution, eclipsing Jason Aspito’s mark of 105 in 2008.
Limonta has started each of the 35 games so far, and finished all but one. He’s currently on pace for 132 RBI, which would obliterate the York record, and best the league mark of 129, set by Ozzie Canseco (Jose’s brother) of the 2000 Newark Bears.
The York Revolution has announced that right-handed pitcher Mike McClendon’s contract has been purchased by the Colorado Rockies. McClendon becomes the second member of the 2014 Revs to sign with a Major League organization, and the 31st in Revolution history to earn a contract in-season. Fellow right hander Anthony Lerew’s contract was purchased by the Angels on May 20.
McClendon appeared in seven games for the Revolution, starting five. His 32 innings pitched are second on the club at the time of his departure, and he struck out 20 in that time, walking just seven. McClendon is returning to the organization he spent last season with, when he appeared in 45 games in relief for Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he struck out 59 batters. McClendon transitioned to starting this season in York, after being almost exclusively a reliever aside from his first two seasons of pro baseball, after being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th round in 2006.
It was somewhat of a surprise McClendon was even available this season, after his solid effort with the Rockies in Triple-A a season ago. Furthermore, the 35 Major League games he appeared in with the Brewers between 2010 and 2012 show a 3.86 career MLB ERA with a 5-0 record, 35 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 49 big league innings pitched. Now, he’ll have another opportunity in an organization that is familiar to return to the Majors where he’s already had big success.
McClendon is the third Revolution player to be signed by Colorado in-season, joining infielders Danny Sandoval (2009) and Kenny Perez (2008). The transaction puts York’s roster at 25, in advance of the June 1 cut-down.
We mused at the beginning of this crucial holiday weekend series against Lancaster at home, which included a doubleheader on Sunday to make up the rainout from April 30, that York needed at least three in the win column to not dig themselves a hole they couldn’t climb out of, nearing the quarter pole of the season in the first half Freedom Division race. After being four games behind the Barnstormers on May 23 at 6:30 p.m. when this series began, the Revolution go to bed on May 26 in first place by a game in the standings.
I think Darrell Henry will agree with me when I say this weekend was the most energy at Santander Stadium since the 2010 Division Series against Somerset when York triumphed in a decisive Game 5 before winning it all in Bridgeport, and Game 4 of the 2011 Championship Series against Long Island when they won their second straight Atlantic League Championship, but the first at home. As far as regular season games go, this was the tops.
The five-game sweep is a franchise first. Here’s the full rundown:
Tim Torres has been granted his release by the Revolution, reducing the roster to 26 players, which has to be at 25 active by June 1. Torres played in 21 games for York, batting .220 with five RBI. He is capable of playing just about any position on the field, and after 20 games as an outfielder/DH he started his final game for the Revolution at short in the first half of the doubleheader on May 25. While York is losing his defensive versatility, the club still has Eric Patterson in that super-utility role, an everyday player who allows for flexibility to move guys around by playing middle-infield and outfield.
Word on the street is Torres will end his playing career, in order to pursue a career in college coaching. Torres played professionally for eight years, in the Astros, Marlins, Rockies and Cubs organizations. No big league time, but he did reach Triple-A New Orleans and Iowa with the Marlins and Cubs respectively. He was drafted by the Astros in 2006 out of Oral Roberts University.
After making a brief 24-game cameo with the Revolution to begin last season, outfielder Jason Repko has returned to the organization. Repko, 33, has Major League time in seven seasons between 2005 and 2012 with the Dodgers, Twins and Red Sox, 360 MLB games total. He’s the owner of 16 big league home runs and 67 RBI.
Drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 1999, Repko made his MLB debut in Los Angeles in 2005, appearing in a career-high 129 Major League games that season. He hit .253 with a homer and 11 RBI with the Revolution last year. 2014 is Repko’s 15th professional season.
To make room on the roster and in a crowded Revs outfield group right now, Stantrel Smith was released. He signed with York less than a week ago on May 19, appearing in just two games with six at-bats. He recorded a walk and a run, but not a hit in that time.
The current active roster remains at 27 with six outfielders, with the league cut down to 25 active coming on June 1.
As it turns out, right-handed starter Matt Neil will pitch for the Revolution this season after all. After spending last season at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins system, Neil was released by the organization after spring training and signed with York on April 11. Two days later however, he was signed by the Rays, and reported to Double-A Montgomery. After seven appearances and three starts, he’s available again, and has reported to the Revolution.
Neil’s availability comes at a good time, having just lost starter Anthony Lerew to the Angels. The club still has Jorge Martinez in a dual bullpen/starter role as well, but Neil will start right away in one of the doubleheader games against Lancaster on Sunday. To make room for Neil on the roster, infielder Brandon Chaves was placed on the inactive list. Chaves is batting .128 in 12 games, with 2 RBI.
Neil’s career numbers are solid; in 342 professional innings upon joining the Revolution he sports a 3.92 ERA in 74 games and 63 starts. His strikeout to walk ratio is 4:1, with 281 career punch outs and only 70 walks. Neil, 27, was drafted by the Marlins in 2011 after playing at BYU, and made his Triple-A debut last season with the New Orleans Zephyrs.
Rommie Lewis’s save in the Revolution’s 3-1 win at Sugar Land on May 21 marked his sixth save in six appearances, which tied a franchise record. That record was broken two days later, when he tossed a 1-2-3 inning to put a bow on a 7-5 win over Lancaster at home May 23. It was already Lewis’s ninth save of the season, in York’s 15th win. This year Lewis is the unabashed closer, last season it was more of a closer by committee approach. When you add in the five saves he had last year, his 14 saves already ranks him sixth on the Revolution all-time list.
With Atlantic League rosters at 27 active players until June 1, the Revolution had an open roster spot after Anthony Lerew was signed by the Angels. That spot has been filled with outfielder Justin Greene.
Greene, 28, began this season at Double-A Mobile in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, 30 games, where he also spent all of last year, 117 games. He was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox out of Francis Marion University in 2008 however, reaching Triple-A Charlotte in 2011 and 2012. Mark Mason’s commitment to speed continues with the signing of Greene, who swiped a career-high 31 bases for Mobile last season, and had 148 steals in his 6-year professional career prior to this season, an average of 25 steals per year. Greene gets on base in order to steal, he’s the owner of a solid .272 career average as a professional, and an on-base percentage of .348. In 666 minor league games played upon joining the Revolution, he has 44 career home runs and 241 RBI.
With the June 1 cut down to 25 coming, and with Mason likely looking for another pitcher that can start for some depth, expect plenty of additional roster moves the next 10 days.
So the York Revolution are 6-4 in their last 10 games. Not a big deal, right? Wrong!
Despite the 5-4 extra-inning loss in Sugar Land on May 22 to cap the longest road trip of this season at 10 games, York tied a franchise record with six wins on a road trip. It looked like a 7-3 trip was probable, but despite walking four in 2.2 innings pitched, Tracy McGrady did not allow a run and the Skeeters won for the first time with him on the mound in his second abbreviated start.
But any time you can go on a three city road trip and get two series wins and a split, you can’t be anything but happy. Not to mention three of the four losses on the trip came by just one or two runs. Even in May, going 6-4 on this trip may have actually been necessary for York to stay in the first half Freedom Division race. Lancaster continues to be red hot, and went 6-1 after the Revolution took two of three in Lancaster to begin the trip, and now return to York for this five-game Memorial Day weekend series (doubleheader on Sunday to make up the rain out on April 30) with a four-game lead, having gained a game on the Revs the last 10 days with a 7-3 record in that time. A negative result on the last road trip, and the Revolution may have been in a hole too large to climb out of already in regards to the first half, with the Atlantic League season not even at the quarter-pole yet.
As the big series begins, Lancaster holds a 3-2 edge in the 2014 War of The Roses, with the Revolution leading 73-68 in Community Cup games.
The York Revolution has announced that right-handed pitcher Anthony Lerew’s contract has been purchased by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Lerew becomes the first member of the 2014 Revs to sign with a Major League organization, and the 30th in Revolution history to earn a contract in-season.
Lerew, 31, went 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts for the Revs. He allowed just 21 hits in 24 innings and struck out 24 while walking only nine batters. Through his final start on Saturday night, a 4-1 victory in Bridgeport, Lerew led the Atlantic League in strikeouts while ranking ninth in ERA. He allowed just two earned runs and struck out 19 batters in 16.0 innings over his final three starts.
The Dillsburg, PA native is seeking a return to the Majors where he appeared in 20 games (11 starts) over parts of five seasons (2005-07, 2009-10) with the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. The Northern High School product was originally an 11th round draft pick of Atlanta in 2001 and spent the last three seasons pitching in Japan and Korea before signing with his home-county team to begin this season.
Lerew is the third Revolution player to sign with the Angels in the last two seasons. Last year, right-handed pitcher Josh Judy and corner infielder Andy Marte both signed with the Angels organization after beginning the year in York.
It’s official according to a press release sent out on Tuesday, May 20 by the Sugar Land Skeeters: RHP Tracy McGrady will make his second regular season start for the Skeeters against the Revolution in the series finale from Sugar Land on Thursday night. The game will air live on WatchESPN.com, set for an 8:05 (Eastern Time) first pitch, concluding the longest road trip of the season for York at 10 games.
Sugar Land is clearly bringing the 34-year-old along slowly, in his first year of professional baseball after a 16-year Hall-of-Fame worthy NBA career. In his last action at home against the Somerset Patriots on May 10, he started, but faced just nine batters in 1.2 innings pitched. He allowed two hits, two walks, two runs (both earned) and a solo homer to Somerset shortstop Edwin Maysonet. Somerset prevailed 5-3, giving McGrady the loss in his professional debut. However, an overflow crowd of 7,701 was on hand at Constellation Field.
The Skeeters will visit York for the first time in 2014 June 6-9, a four-game series. It is expected McGrady will travel with Sugar Land for the series and be in York, although that still has to be confirmed. It is unclear whether he will pitch in York. McGrady hasn’t yet appeared in a road game. Sugar Land’s other visits to York are August 6-8 and September 9-11.
It would be interesting if McGrady and Revolution reliever Mark Hendrickson ever found themselves in the same game…before embarking on a 10-year MLB career Hendrickson played in four NBA seasons from 1996 to 2000, and was on the court against McGrady three times.
The full release from Sugar Land is after the jump:
When Braves pitcher Jordan Walden went on the disabled list on Mother’s Day, it opened the door back up for former Revolution lefty Ian Thomas, who was recalled to Atlanta. Thomas was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett back on May 5 after 10 MLB appearances so he could start in order to throw more pitches, to develop a better slider. His cameo at Gwinnett lasted just one abbreviated home start, when he tossed three scoreless and hitless innings against Buffalo, striking out five.
In Thomas’s three appearances since re-joining the big club, he’s pitched two-thirds of an inning each in three appearances, at home against the Cubs (May 11), at the Giants (May 13) and at the Cardinals (May 16). He has not allowed a run in his Major League return, and has struck out five in that time (2.2 IP). Aside from one walk against the Cubs and one hit against the Giants, he was responsible for no other base runners.
After sustaining a concussion during the May 7 home game against Bridgeport, outfielder Steve Bumbry is still dealing with symptoms and has yet to return to the Revolution lineup. He has been placed on the disabled list as his treatment continues, and outfielder Stantrel Smith has been signed to the active roster. York’s roster remains at 27 active players, with the June 1 deadline for all Atlantic League rosters to be at 25 looming. There is still plenty of time for the roster to figure itself out, via MLB signings, injuries and so forth. But cuts remain a possibility.
Smith has previous playing experience in the Atlantic League. In 50 games for Bridgeport last year, he hit .244 with a homer and 11 RBI. Mark Mason’s commitment to running remains strong with the signing of Smith, as during his 10-year professional career the 30-year-old has swiped 279 bases. His career-best season as a professional came in 2011 with the Edinburg Roadrunners, when he batted .305 with two home runs and 46 RBI in 88 games, (42 steals). Smith set a career-high in steals the following season with Edinburg, pillaging 59 bases. He was selected in the 16th round of the 2003 draft by the Anaheim Angels.
Smith is active and available for the series in Sugar Land, May 19-22.
The Andy Marte Major League redemption tour is doing just fine in The Biggest Little City in the World. With the Triple-A Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), Marte hit .311 in his first 32 games, with five homers and 20 RBI. His OBP during that time was .362, and he slugged .534 with an OPS of .896 during the first month of the season. And those stats include a slow first two weeks for the former Revolution third baseman, which is now totally forgotten after going on a tear to begin May. In the 10 games between May 2 and 11, Marte hit .421 with four homers and 14 RBI and was getting on-base at a .478 clip with six walks once pitchers started pitching around him. He slugged .816 during that time with a ridiculous OPS of 1.294. In games May 8 and 9 at home against Tacoma (Mariners), he homered and drove in four runs both days.
Marte is picking up where he left off last season, as one of the most feared hitters in the Pacific Coast League. After he was signed by the Angels off the Revolution roster on August 4 of last season, he batted .362 with six homers and 18 RBI in just 26 games with Salt Lake to end the regular season, an even better showing than the .301/19 HR/74 RBI effort he put up in 96 games with York. He seemed destined for a September call-up to Anaheim, until he separated his shoulder sliding into the catcher during a playoff game, which ended his season. In the offseason, he chose to sign with the Dbacks as a free agent. When he returned to Salt Lake May 2-5, he put on a laser show against his former team, hitting .556 (10-for-18) in the four-game series, with a homer and five RBI. He went 4-for-6 on May 4, and 2-for-4 in each of the other three games, making the Angels probably wish he hadn’t gotten away.
In a move that comes as a bit of a surprise, former York Revolution pitcher Ian Thomas has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett of the International League by the Atlanta Braves, just a week after earning his first Major League win. Thomas appeared in 10 games out of Atlanta’s bullpen in making his MLB debut and certainly burst onto the scene, and then was part of Revolution history when he pitched against Scott Rice in Atlanta marking the first time two Revolution alums competed in the same MLB game.
The encouraging thing about it is, the roster move doesn’t appear to be based on performance. The Braves, who have been beset by injuries to starting pitchers, moved Thomas down to make room on their roster for right-hander Gavin Floyd who is coming off the DL, a veteran of 10 MLB seasons mostly with the White Sox. This move seems more to suggest fine-tuning Thomas’s arsenal for an eventual, and perhaps permanent return to the Majors.
York Dispatch Revolution beat reporter John Walk has good stuff on this subject in an entry on his blog, Revolution Rumblings. Thomas, whom the Braves made a starter at the tail end of last year at Double-A Mississippi, where he made 13 regular season starts and started and won a playoff game, will go back to starting at Triple-A Gwinnett in order to throw more pitches and work on his slider, according this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. With Thomas skipping Triple-A and making the Braves MLB roster out of spring training as a non-roster invitee, this will be his first experience in Triple-A. He is slated to start against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto) on Tuesday night (May 6) for Gwinnett.