Skeeters land Bernard and high-potential bullpen arm for 2020
The Sugar Land Skeeters enjoyed their 70 games with Wynton Bernard in 2019 enough to re-sign him for 2020. Bernard made a real impact with Sugar Land after being released from the Cubs organization in July, batting .314/.353/.461 in the regular season and continuing to be a difference-maker during the Skeeters’ playoff run. Bernard projects to hit about .300 as the team’s everyday left fielder but may be signed away from Sugar Land if he’s hitting above .300 a few weeks into the 2020 season.
Projections: 425 PA, .305 Avg., 7 HR, .820 OPS, 55 Runs Created, 2.7 WAR (2019 MLB Equiv. Nicholas Castellanos)
High-end Projections: 440 PA, .310 Avg., 8 HR, .885 OPS, 61 Runs Created, 3.1 WAR
Low-end Projections: 385 PA, .280 Avg., 6 HR, .750 OPS, 46 Runs Created, 2.1 WAR
After a season with the Baltimore Orioles’ short-season A affiliate Aberdeen IronBirds, right-handed reliever Kyle Martin has been added to Sugar Land’s roster ahead of the 2020 season. Kyle posted a 4.12 ERA with 11 K/9 with Aberdeen but also ended the year with a .407 BABIP, and an impressive 2.33 xFIP. In other words, Martin could miss bats, but when he didn’t, bad things happened, and it wasn’t necessarily his fault. With better breaks, that 4.12 ERA could have been much lower.
Martin primarily leans on a sinker and if he can play off of it with good location and some complimentary pitch selection, he could have high-leverage potential for Sugar Land moving forward.
Barnstormers find rotation and lineup depth
Devon Torrence re-signed with the Barnstormers for his 2nd Atlantic League season. The switch-hitting outfielder returned to baseball in 2019 after several seasons of professional football and slashed .227/.294/.277 in 268 plate appearances. However, a slow start and sub-par September dragged down Devon’s numbers. Torrence managed a .259/.306/.366 between July and August, including a .296/.333/.481 month of July. Torrence projects to split time across all three outfield positions and could see extensive playing time if he starts well and doesn’t drop-off as the season progresses.
Projections: 285 PA, .235 Avg., 3 HR, .595 OPS, 22 Runs Created, 0.6 WAR (MLB Equiv. Brandon Belt)
High-end Projections: 295 PA, .255 Avg., 5 HR, .665 OPS, 29 Runs Created, 1.1 WAR
Low-end Projections: 245 PA, .225 Avg., 1 HR, .565 OPS, 17 Runs Created, 0.3 WAR
By signing with the Barnstormers, BJ Boyd is returning to professional baseball after spending 2019 playing junior college football. BJ previously played 7 seasons in the Athletics organization where he slashed .271/.321/.342 in 459 triple-A plate appearances and .323/.366/.428 in 578 career chances in double-A. Boyd doesn’t seem to have walked away because of performance issues, but rather to follow a passion for the gridiron. Just a year ago, Boyd was a triple-A prospect with plus contact and speed. If he comes back in early 2020 swinging the lumber well, look for BJ to have his contract purchased quickly.
Projections: 445 PA, .295 Avg., 6 HR, .745 OPS, 55 Runs Created, 3.0 WAR (2019 MLB Equiv. Scott Kingery)
High-end Projections: 480 PA, .300 Avg., 5 HR, .750 OPS, 60 Runs Created, 3.3 WAR
Low-end Projections: 430 PA, .280 Avg., 4 HR, .712 OPS, 49 Runs Created, 2.5 WAR
The Barnstormers have added righty outfielder LeDarious Clark to the roster. Clark has been playing in the Rangers system since 2015 and reached double-A Frisco last season. Unfortunately, Clark has struggled to put together good at-bats above Rookie-ball and his defense needs improvement. Only expect Clark to begin the 2020 campaign at the top of the depth chart if Lancaster struggles to fill positions or if he comes into spring training with a few tricks up his sleeve. Clark will still see plenty of game action as a primary bench bat with some pop in the outfield and dangerous speed.
Projections: 295 PA, .220 Avg., 11 HR, .755 OPS, 35 Runs Created, 1.4 WAR (2019 MLB Equiv. Jon Berti)
High-end Projections: 355 PA, .230 Avg., 12 HR, .760 OPS, 42 Runs Created, 1.8 WAR
Low-end Projections: 270 PA, .205 Avg., 10 HR, .750 OPS, 31 Runs Created, 1.3 WAR
The Barnstormers have re-signed Destin Hood for 2020. Coming over from the Texas Rangers organization, Hood missed about half of 2019 with an injury that carried over from the off-season. Destin finished his shortened first season in the Atlantic League with a .224/.276/.429 slash and 9 home runs. Hood is expected to serve as Lancaster’s primary DH in 2020, and the team would be happy if he can add some stability to their regular lineup during his age-30 season.
Projections: 320 PA, .235 Avg., 13 HR, .740 OPS, 38 Runs Created, 1.5 WAR (MLB Equiv. Rhys Hoskins)
High-end Projections: 430 PA, .235 Avg., 18 HR, .780 OPS, 57 Runs Created, 2.7 WAR
Low-end Projections: 305 PA, .230 Avg., 11 HR, .720 OPS, 34 Runs Created, 1.3 WAR
Right-hander Brooks Hall will return to the Barnstormers rotation for 2020 after not pitching last summer. Hall’s first and only Atlantic League season in 2018 saw him post a 4.94 ERA with a 1.371 WHIP and 3.09 K/BB. Showing good control but posting low strikeout numbers, Hall can easily get burned during games when balls in play are finding gaps to fall into. Brooks projects as a 5th starter for Lancaster this season.
Projections: 95 IP, 4.85 ERA, 1.360 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 6.9 K/9
High-end Projections: 105 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
Low-end Projections: 90 IP, 5.05 ERA, 1.415 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 6.5 K/9
Tony Thomas and Dean Green return to Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Lineup for 2020
Tony Thomas (of first stealing of first base fame), has re-signed for his second season with the Blue Crabs. Thomas split time between third base and corner outfield in 2019 and showed noticeable improvement in the final 3 months of the season. Before July 1st, Thomas’ had posted a .216/.267/.357, but he gathered himself and produced a greatly improved .302/.351/.516 slash over his final 75 games. Look for Tony to be a league-average or above starter for the Blue Crabs with his positional versatility and power-hitting potential getting him into nearly every game in 2020.
Projections: 425 PA, .270 Avg., 17 HR, .795 OPS, 58 Runs Created, 3.1 WAR (MLB Equiv. Manny Machado)
High-end Projections: 490 PA, .280 Avg., 19 HR, .820 OPS, 71 Runs Created, 4.0 WAR
Low-end Projections: 380 PA, .260 Avg., 16 HR, .785 OPS, 52 Runs Created, 2.7 WAR
Dean Green has re-signed with the Blue Crabs after making his Atlantic League debut with the club last season. His stint with the team only lasted 36 games before his season was cut short by injury, but Green posted an impressive .304/.373/.452 slash line during that time. Coming back, the 30-year-old Green hopes to keep the momentum going from last year while staying healthy for the long-haul as the team’s everyday DH.
Projections: 355 PA, .305 Avg., 13 HR, .660 OPS, 33 Runs Created, 1.1 WAR (2019 MLB Equiv. Danny Jansen)
High-end Projections: 455 PA, .315 Avg., 18 HR, .680 OPS, 44 Runs Created, 1.7 WAR
Low-end Projections: 320 PA, .300 Avg., 11 HR, .640 OPS, 27 Runs Created, 0.7 WAR
Revolution gather arms for the pitching staff and Chris Vasquez out of USC Beaufort
After pitching for the Revolution from 2013 to 2015, Edward Paredes will return to York for 2020. Posting a 3.00 ERA in 141 innings with York, Paredes moved back to affiliated ball, eventually reaching the majors for 25 appearances with the Dodgers. Following some rough patches over the past couple of seasons, Paredes returns to York looking to find any magic that may remain in his left arm. Paredes’ fastball doesn’t aften break 90 mph these days, but if his slider is near its best, he will be a headache for opponents all season.
Projections: 39 IP, 4.00 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 11.0 K/9
High-end Projections: 43 IP, 3.10 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 12.1 K/9
Low-end Projections: 33 IP, 5.30 ERA, 1.450 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
The Revolution have signed right-handed starting pitcher Alberto Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who is entering his age 28 season, has previously pitched briefly for the Skeeters in 2017 and threw 47 innings and 1/3 innings for the Road Warriors in 2018. After not taking the mound in any traceable manner in 2019, Alberto Rodriguez brings back-end of the rotation potential to the Revolution staff in 2020.
Projections: 114 IP, 4.80 ERA, 1.600 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
High-end Projections: 114 IP, 4.25 ERA, 1.530 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 8.3 K/9
Low-end Projections: 110 IP, 5.35 ERA 1.675 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 8.0 K/9
Chris Vasquez has been signed to play with the Revs in 2020. Chris Vasquez was a good player at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and should get the chance to see time in York’s middle infield this season. For full projections for Chris, be sure to check back during ALPB Roundup’s season previews.