Etch: Roster is looking pretty good
In case you haven’t heard by now, the York Revolution got much better on Monday. The team announced the returns of slugger Chris Nowak, left-handed starter Chris Cody and right-handed reliever Shaun Garceau.
With Nowak coming on board, York is almost set as far as looking for position players. For the full details on what Nowak did last year, click here. But in case you don’t, lets just sum it up by saying he hit a franchise record 25 homers to go along with 66 RBIs, a .330 batting average, and an insane slugging percentage in just 84 games. In short, he was really good.
The team still needs a third outfielder (from everything I hear, that slot should be filled rather soon) and Revs manager Andy Etchebarren said Monday he would like to find an everyday second baseman to make Liu Rodriguez more of a utility player.
At this point, here is a very early look at the position player breakdown with the players York has signed thus far:
C-Salvador Paniagua/Travis Scott, 1B/DH-Chris Nowak, 2B-Liu Rodriguez, SS-Danny Gonzalez, 3B-Ramon Castro, LF/DH-James Shanks, CF-Scott Grimes, RF-??
Pitching: Cody, 28, is a huge addition to the Revs’ roster. Last season he set a Revs’ record for wins in a first half (seven) and led the Atlantic League in starts (18) and innings pitched (1042/3) while ranking second in wins (nine), third in strikeouts (78) and 10th in ERA (4.39) when he was picked up by the Atlanta Braves on July 31 of last year. At the Braves’ Class AA affiliate, Mississippi, the left-hander went 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA in six starts, which included a complete-game victory. Cody earned an invitation to the Braves’ minor league spring training camp but was released about two weeks ago, according to Revs’ manager Andy Etchebarren.
Given what he did last year, one would imagine Cody is a lock for the starting rotation. Yet, Etchebarren gave a different impression when chatting by phone on Monday.
“I don’t know exactly who is going to be in the rotation right now,” he said. “By the time we’re done here I’m going to have a hard time picking 13 (pitchers for the Opening Day roster). I think we’re going to bring in 16 (pitchers into spring training). They’re all gonna be pretty good. It’s gonna be a tough ten days.”
Garceau: Etch’ said he sees Garceau more as a long-inning reliever. Garceau, 24, went 4-9 with a 5.45 ERA for York a year ago. Having been a starter for most of his career, the former St. Louis Cardinals came to York and wound up splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation. He looked downright sloppy in some performances. Then in others he looked brilliant. For example, he came to within two outs of a complete-game shutout on Aug. 10 at Camden. In his next start on Aug. 16, he surrendered eight runs (seven earned) on six hits in just 1.1 innings. He followed that performance by tossing a complete-game shutout against the Road Warriors on Aug. 20.
“Right now I figure he’ll be a long bullpen guy but I can’t tell you for sure,” Etchebarren said. “I like his stuff. He pitched better out of the bulllpen. What I try to do is look at guys and if they got a chance to go to the big leagues, where would teams look at him for the big leagues? Would it be a long bullpen guy? Would it be a starter? I think the bullpen is his best chance at this point, I think. But I could be wrong.”
Overall, Etchebarren sounds confident in the roster York is assembling for the 2012 season.
“We’ll get to spring training and see what we got,” he said. “When things are all over with, I think we’ll be looking pretty good. I’m happy with how things are going right now. I know our pitching is gonna be good, our fielding is gonna be good, and our hitting should be fine – unless Nowak can’t hit like he did last year, and Shanks can’t hit and Castro can’t hit. Then we’ll be in trouble.”
In case you weren’t aware of Etch’s talents with sarcasm, take that last line tongue-in-cheek.