The Revs are definitely not ailing, playing some of their best baseball of late — winning five of their last seven. But the York lineup has seen plenty of new faces added as several players continue to nurse nagging injuries and the Revs attempt to replace three players lost to major league organizations.
Revs manager Mark Mason began a four-game series against Lancaster with just two bench players. One — Eric Patterson (quad) — has not been healthy since suffering a strain in early May, and the other reserve has been backup catcher Patrick Arlis. The Revs needed to acquire some players.
The latest acquisition has been designated hitter/outfielder Cody Johnson, a first-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2006. Just 24, Johnson has big-time power, and a habit for striking out (he hit 21 homers but struck out 194 times in 113 games in 2011). But Johnson could be a key signing for York. The Revs really never replaced the power of Chris Nowak (Revs 2011-2012). After Nowak announced his retirement in the offseason, the Revs opted to sign Johan Limonta and Brian Burgamy to share time at first base — Nowak’s former position. But neither are big-time home run hitters. Limonta is more of a doubles hitter and Burgamy does a bit of everything — most notably being the hardest out in the league (he has a league-high .453 OBP).
The signing of Johnson should add some power to the Revs lineup. Currently York ranks fifth in the league in homers. And it should be noted power hitters can turn it around in the Atlantic League. Former manager Andy Etchebarren recalled talking to one of Nowak’s former hitting coaches in affiliated baseball, a coach who thought Nowak was a (expletive) hitter.
“Well he ain’t (expletive) any more!” Etchebarren said with a laugh, back in 2012. All Nowak did in York was set the team record for homers in back-to-back seasons, hitting 25 homers in a partial season in 2011 and 34 homers in 2012.
At age 24, Johnson is a prime candidate for a player who has the time to rework his approach or swing in order to cut down on strikeouts and return to affiliated baseball.
Onetime Atlantic League reporter Mike Ashmore profiled Johnson during his time with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. He also has a question-and-answer piece where Johnson discusses his strikeout numbers.
A Trentonian story from March also questions whether Johnson could be headed to the Bronx soon.
Now with 27 players — the league maximum — under contract, the Revs will need to decide what outfielders to keep before Atlantic League rosters need to be trimmed to 25 players before June 1. Currently the Revs have Johnson, Mike Coles, Jeff Fiorentino, Tyler Graham, James Shanks and Ruddy Yan. Patterson also plays outfield (and infield).
Other new faces for the Revs include:
* Coles, who was signed May 18, a career independent league player with a .302 career average.
* Left-handed reliever Edward Paredes, who was signed May 17, is with his first independent team and owns a 4.73 career ERA.
* And, though he is not new to York fans, Shanks returned to the Revs May 11 after sitting out the first month of the season. He has five RBIs in his first seven games back with the Revs.
* Yan, who was signed May 8, is in his sixth independent season and second Atlantic League club this season.