Former Rays 3B/1B prospect Chris Nowak signed with the Revs prior to Monday’s game. The right-handed hitter clubbed a homer in his first Atlantic League at-bat in Somerset, becoming the first Revs player to homer in his first at-bat with the club since Nate Espy accomplished the feat in the franchise opener in Bridgeport in 2007.
The Nowak signing means the long talked about troubles with the Revs’ offense could finally force some roster moves. The Revs have 26 players on the roster, 25 active. So if Ramon Castro joins the team Friday, as he is expected to do, the Revs will need to release one player.
The Revs have plenty of players on the bubble right now, and York manager Andy Etchebarren has plainly said, no one’s job is safe.
Don’t expect Etchebarren to make crazy moves.
Some players obviously are safe. Unless they have a personal issue or feel the need to step away from the game, Vince Harrison, James Shanks, Val Majewski, Eric Eymann and Scott Grimes are going to be on the team. They are the team’s top five hitters right now. But I think what Etch was trying to make plain to everyone is that he’s not going to play favorites. Even if a player won a ring with York last year, they need to produce. Even if a player is well-known throughout the league, they need to produce.
And some players haven’t done so.
The Revs entered the night ranked fifth in the eight-team league in batting. But that statistic fails to illustrate just how difficult it has been for the Revs to score runs. The team ranks dead last in the league in walks (103) and on-base percentage (.333).
York has scored fewer runs (171) than every team in the league … accept the league-run Road Warriors. The Revs also rank seventh in homers (29) — once again only the Road Warriors have been worse in this category (21).
The team has two players on the roster hitting under .200, and three position players — regular starters — batting under .255.
Fans can expect a flurry of moves if the position players don’t start hitting.
York made the decision to once again build a team capable of grinding out hits and runs. But that hasn’t happened as the Revs have struggled to hit, most notably at the top of the lineup where Scott Grimes and Chris Walker experienced slow starts. The Revs don’t really have a candidate to lead the league in homers, unless James Shanks heats up. So this team needs to become a better hitting club. And don’t be shocked if some familiar names don’t return to York at the end of this current roadtrip.