York Begins 2020 Roster Construction
2019 All-Star outfielder, Melky Mesa has been re-signed by the York Revolution for the 2020 season. Mesa finished 2019 5th in batting average (.298), 3rd in slugging percentage (.500), and hit 20 home runs for the 2nd consecutive season.
The Revolution have re-signed right-handed starting pitcher Jake Welch. Welch debuted in the Atlantic League with York in September and struggled to a 6.88 ERA with a 1.471 WHIP in 3 starts. However, Jake’s first outing in Lancaster saw him pitch 6 and 1/3 innings allowing only 1 earned run on 4 hits while striking out 8. The damage was done over the next two starts where Welch surrendered 12 earned runs in 10 and 2/3 innings. I actually sat near Jake’s father during the last of these starts and he was NOT a fan of the automated umpire. I’m not sure what to do with that information, but maybe if the automated umps have names in 2020 it will improve the relationship. The strong first appearance with the Revolution, 10.6 K/9 in his 3 ALPB starts, and 2.93 ERA with the Frontier League’s Evansville Otters in 2019, all indicate Jake has the stuff to be a middle of the rotation starter for York moving forward.
Projections: 147 IP, 1.249 WHIP, 3.71 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
High-end Projections: 150 IP, 1.172 WHIP, 3.51 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 3.2 K/9
Low-end Projections: 123 IP, 1.385 WHIP, 5.145 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 8.5 K/9
York acquired the rights to left-handed reliever (and potential son of Phil Brickma) Brandon Fry in the New Britain Bees dispersal draft and have officially signed him for the 2020 season. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Fry hasn’t pitched a full season since 2017. In 35 innings last season, Fry posted a 3.34 ERA, but his 1.600 WHIP and 1.65 K/BB indicate his arm wasn’t back at full-strength. Brandon projects to post a sub-3.60 ERA. However, being unproven since the injury, 30% of Fry’s projections warn of a potential ERA above 4.00 and a WHIP over 1.450.
Projections: 52 IP, 1.385 WHIP, 3.60 ERA, 4.3 BB/9, 8.3 K/9
High-end Projections: 57 IP, 1.380 WHIP, 3.55 ERA, 4.2 BB/9, 8.3 K/9
Low-end Projections: 37 IP, 1.494 WHIP, 5.17 ERA, 5.0 BB/9, 6.9 K/9
Former Bees All-Star Lands in Somerset
The Somerset Patriots have signed first basemen and 2018 ALPB All-Star Jason Rogers for 2020. Rogers’ rights were obtained by the Patriots this fall during the New Britain Bees dispersal draft. Rogers projects as a .285/.380/.425 hitter in his age-32 season while splitting games between first base and DH. Only Jason’s lowest 3% of projections show him hitting any lower than .270, meaning the Patriots can feel good about signing a consistent veteran contributor to the middle of their lineup.
Projections: 450 PA, 63 Runs Created, 10 HR, .800 OPS, 2.9 WAR (MLB Equiv. Starling Marte)
High-end Projections: 500 PA, 70 Runs Created, 11 HR, .820 OPS, 3.3 WAR
Low-end Projections: 395 PA, 50 Runs Created, 8 HR, .765 OPS, 2.0 WAR
Blue Crabs Look To Add Rotation Depth
Right-handed starting pitcher Brandon Barker has been assigned to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. In 2019, Barker pitched for the Can-Am League’s Trois-Rivieres Aigles. He posted a 3.39 ERA with a 1.297 WHIP over 101 innings.
Projections: 100 IP, 1.387 WHIP, 4.21 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
High-end Projections: 122 IP, 1.330 WHIP, 3.71 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 8.6 K/9
Low-end Projections: 97 IP, 1.444 WHIP, 4.66 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 7.0 K/9
Rockers finalize 2020 coaching staff
After coming 1 series away from the 2019 ALPB Championship Series, the High Point Rockers have announced their finalized coaching staff for 2020.
Jamie Keefe returns for his 18th season managing indy ball and his 2nd managing the Rockers.
Frank Viola remains on as High Point’s Pitching Coach for 2020. Last season, Viola oversaw 3 ALPB All-Stars on the Rockers’ mound and 2 other pitchers who had their contract purchased mid-season.
Tyler Ladendorf will play infield for the Rockers while also doing double-duty as the team’s Hitting Coach.
Billy Horn will fill the roles of Bench Coach and Director of Player Procurement for the Rockers in 2020. Horn has previously held multiple coaching positions for indy league teams.
Albert Gonzalez returns for a 2nd season as High Point’s Bullpen Coach and his 4th with Jamie Keefe.
Bubber Birdsong brings a terrific baseball name and a wealth of baseball knowledge to the role of Assistant Coach. Birdsong brings years of coaching experience to the club and is expected to contribute in multiple ways throughout the 2020 campaign.