Alumni update: Andy Marte, Josh Judy, other leagues get underway
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.
The way Marte is swinging the bat now, he could be called up at any time. If so it would be one of the stories of the year in Major League Baseball: Heavily heralded as a top prospect, Marte’s career was mostly burdened by expectations rather than emboldened by them. A veteran of 301 MLB games played since his debut for the Braves in 2005, Marte last played in the Majors in 2010, when he appeared in an MLB career-high 80 games for the Indians. He hit .229 for Cleveland that season and although Triple-A numbers don’t easily translate to the big leagues, it is worth noting despite being 30 years old, Marte never hit the ball in Triple-A in his time with Atlanta and Cleveland like he is now. So the second act to his career, on the cusp of the Majors once again, seem to suggest he’s improved significantly as a player since 2011 and just needs another chance at the top, a chance he may get with Arizona shortly, or perhaps by the time you’re reading this.
Should Marte be called up he would the first former Revolution position player to reach the Majors since outfielder Tike Redman in 2007, who began that season with York and ended it with the Orioles. The last four former Revs to reach the show have all been pitchers.
Don’t Judge Judy
The baseball flies in the thin air at several stops in the Pacific Coast league, but it’s no thinner than in Albuquerque where Isotopes Park is known as perhaps the biggest launching pad in all of professional baseball. That makes Josh Judy’s start to the season at Triple-A with the Dodgers even better than his already solid numbers would indicate.
In his first 12 games, Judy struck out 12 batters in 17 innings (only three walks), sporting an ERA of 3.71. Most impressively, he only surrendered one home run in that time. If you can only allow one homer every 20 innings or so in the PCL, that’s pretty far ahead of the curve as the entire league tends to skew to the side of offense. Manager Damon Berryhill is showing enough faith in Judy to use him late in close games as well; the righty notched two saves and two wins in the first month of the season.
Judy wasn’t a Rev for long, appearing in just four games at the beginning of last season, allowing three hits, a run and a walk with five strikeouts in four innings before being signed by the Angels where he appeared in 33 more games at Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Salt Lake. He then signed with the Dodgers as a free agent last winter. Judy is looking for an MLB return after he appeared in 12 games out of the Cleveland Indians bullpen in 2011.
FUN FACT: Before being drafted by Cleveland in 2007, Judy attended Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne at the same time as York Revolution sales manager Kaylee Swanson.
FUN FACT 2: On May 12, a combined 32 batters struck out (!) in El Paso’s 10-2 win over Albuquerque. Amazingly, 17 of the strikeouts belonged to El Paso batters despite the win, and Judy was responsible for five of them, pitching 1.2 innings in the 6th and 7th. This is significant because that many strikeouts have NEVER been recorded in a 9-inning MLB game.
Familiar faces pop up in Jersey, Texas, Canada
As some shorter-season leagues begin play, a few familiar names have popped up across this country and beyond. Former Revolution first baseman Jason Botts (’11) and Revs utility man Brandon Pinckney (’10) are both playing for the Grand Prairie Air Hogs in the American Association. Botts, who lives in the Dallas area is essentially playing at home for the second time in his career; he played in 93 MLB games with the Texas Rangers between 2005 and 2008. Since being signed by the Mets off of York’s roster 14 games into 2011, Botts has played at Triple-A with them, closer to home in the Atlantic League for Sugar Land in their first year in 2012 and in the Mexican League with Campeche last season. This will be Pinckney’s second season with Grand Prairie, where he hit .296 for them in 98 games last year.
Two former Revolution outfielders are also continuing their careers in the Can-Am Association, which is now a northeast division of the American Association, with the two groups of teams playing against one another in a very spread out league. Michael Hernandez (’12-’13) is with the New Jersey Jackals, who play at Yogi Berra Stadium in Little Falls, NJ. Carlos Guzman (’11) is with the Trois-Rivieres Aigles (Eagles, translated to English), located in the Provence of Quebec.
Have a tip on what a former Rev is doing, either on the field or off? E-mail email@example.com.