York Revolution center fielder Scott Grimes (pictured above right) capped his record-setting season by earning first-team honors on Baseball America’s All-Independent Leagues Team. This year’s team is comprised of players from seven different independent leagues around the country. Grimes, 27, was one of just two Atlantic League players to earn first-team honors. Newark outfielder Brian Barton, a former big leaguer, also earned first-team honors.
Grimes led the minors in runs scored, plating an Atlantic League single-season record 138 runs in 132 games. He destroyed the former mark (119) established by Lancaster’s Michael Woods in 2008. It’s unlikely Grimes’ record will ever be broken. The Atlantic League could shift to a 126-game scheduled next season. But more importantly Grimes possessed a unique skill set. He was young enough (he turned 27 in September) to play almost every day, he consistently reached base (.429 OBP), he hit for average (.312 BA), he moved himself into scoring position (28 SBs), and he had power (17 HRs, 32 2Bs). He also played on the league’s best hitting club.
The leadoff man for the league-champion Revolution, Grimes played a pivotal role in York’s championship run. He batted .371 in the playoffs, homering on the road against Somerset in Game 3 of the Freedom Division Series to ensure the series would return to York for a decisive Game 5. He also scored the eventual game-winning run in York’s series-clinching victory in Bridgeport, sparking a rally by hitting a single off former big league closer Jorge Julio.
“There’s no doubt what Scotty is,” York manager Andy Etchebarren said during the postseason. “Everybody who watched Scotty all year, knows what he is. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s the MVP. No doubt.”
Grimes came to York in the preseason on the recommendation of Southern Maryland manager Butch Hobson. Hobson managed Nashua in the Can-Am League, the same league where Grimes earned Player of the Year honors after a standout 2008 season with the Worcester (Mass.) Tornadoes. The New York Mets signed Grimes to a minor league deal for the 2009 season, but Grimes played in just 27 games in the Mets system after being hit by a pitch and breaking a bone in his hand. He answered any questions about his durability by playing in all but eight games for the Revolution this season.
“The only thing I expected from him was effort,” Revolution Director of Player Procurement Michael Kirk said about his expectations for Grimes headed into 2010. “I heard he had all the tools … but I knew he was going to go all out. I didn’t realize he would end up being one of the finest outfielders in all of independent baseball.”
Grimes shrugged off his individual numbers during interviews throughout the season, opting to point to the accomplishments of his teammates. He viewed the single-season runs scored record as a team honor.
“This is the best (team) I’ve been a part of hands down,” Grimes said in the moments after winning the league championship. “This is what matters the most — right here.”
He shared Atlantic League Player of the Year honors with Lancaster third baseman Aaron Herr.
Herr, Southern Maryland starter Dan Reichert, and Bridgeport closer Jorge Julio earned second-team honors.