De La Cruz returns to York; Guzman, Checo signed
The York Revolution have resigned All-Star catcher Luis De La Cruz to a contract for the 2016 season, also adding Atlantic League stalwart infielder Joel Guzman and right-handed pitcher Mariel Checo. Revs manager Mark Mason announced the signings during Friday’s airing of “Revs Hot Stove Weekly” on SportsRadio 1350 WOYK.
One of the top performers for the Revs in 2015, De La Cruz batted .275 in 269 at-bats last season, smashing seven doubles and five home runs while driving in 31 runs. De La Cruz got off to a scorching start, batting .338 through May, and also finished strong, hitting .319 over his final 24 games. His highlights included a May 5 War of the Roses matchup in Lancaster in which he went 3-for-4 with an RBI double and a three-run round-tripper, as well as a 4-for-4 game at Southern Maryland on August 19, part of a stretch that saw him tally multiple hits five times in six games.
De La Cruz, 26, also contributed as a rock-solid backstop, catching over 620 innings with a fielding percentage of .989. He threw out 25 percent of attempted base stealers on the season. For his efforts both behind and at the dish, De La Cruz earned a nod for the Atlantic League All-Star Game, representing the victorious Freedom Division in Bridgeport.
Originally signed by St. Louis as a 17-year-old in 2006, De La Cruz reached as high as Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals organization. The Dominican national spent seven seasons in the St. Louis system before briefly signing with the Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League in 2013. De La Cruz signed with the Atlanta Braves organization later that season, playing 24 games for the Advanced-A Lynchburg Hillcats. He spent a couple seasons in the Dominican Winter League before signing with Mason and the Revs last year.
Guzman, 31, crosses divisional lines to join the Revs after spending the 2015 campaign with the Camden Riversharks. One of the Riversharks’ most formidable bats, he ranked second on the team in doubles (26), home runs (13), and RBIs (70) with his RBI total ranking fifth in the league. Guzman also added his fair share of stolen bases, swiping 11 bags in 13 chances.
Signed as a farmhand for the Dodgers in 2002, Guzman made it to The Show in 2006, playing eight games for Los Angeles that season and 16 games for Tampa Bay in 2007. He spent parts of 10 seasons in the minor leagues, playing for teams in the Dodgers, Rays, Nationals, Orioles, and Reds systems. In 348 games at the Triple-A level, the 6’7 right-handed slugger has hit .251 with 51 home runs and 202 driven in. Over a 13-year pro career, Guzman is a .260 hitter with 205 home runs including 33 for Double-A Bowie in 2010, a total that led the Eastern League.
Guzman also made his bones overseas, spending 2011 in the Japan Central League and parts of the following two seasons in the Mexican League.
Checo, 26, returns to the Atlantic League after making six appearances with Long Island in 2015, totaling nine strikeouts in 6.2 innings. The native New Yorker made two more appearances during the Ducks’ playoff run, striking out three in two innings over two outings.
Drafted by the Yankees out of Midtown Manhattan’s Norman Thomas High School in 2009, he made it as high as Single-A Charleston in his five seasons in the New York system. Checo made eight appearances for Kansas City’s rookie-league affiliate in Idaho Falls in 2014. He also pitched for Fargo-Moorhead in 2015 before signing late in the season with the Ducks.
The Revs now have 19 players under contract for the upcoming season. The club will continue to unveil player signings each Friday on “Revs Hot Stove Weekly” on SportsRadio 1350, woyk1350.com, and the WOYK mobile apps. Fans should tune in next Friday, April 1 at 6 p.m. for more player announcements.
The Revs will open the 2016 season on the road against the expansion New Britain Bees on Thursday, April 21. The club then kicks off its 10th anniversary season at home on Thursday, April 28 against the Sugar Land Skeeters. Full-season, partial season, mini plans, and individual tickets are on sale now at YorkRevolution.com.