OF Haveman the spark the Revs were looking for

Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Brandon Haveman

York's Brandon Haveman rips a three-run double in the seventh-inning to give the Revolution a 4-2 lead and win by the same score over Camden at Sovereign Bank Stadium Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Bill Kalina photo bkalina@yorkdispatch.com

Brandon Haveman has dealt with it throughout his baseball career. At 5-foot, 8-inches tall, the York Revolution outfielder understands he might not have the look of a big-time ballplayer.

“When scouts look at guys, they’re looking for the bigger guys. They’re looking for guys that will fill out,” Haveman said before Wednesday’s game. “But once guys come out and see me play and see me hit, they’re like ‘Oh, this guy can play a little bit.’”

Such was the case when Revs manager Andy Etchebarren first saw Haveman play earlier this season, when Haveman was a member of the Lancaster Barnstormers.

In his only game against the Revs as a Barnstormer on May 20, Haveman went 0-for-3 at the plate. But Haveman hit darts right at York fielders in each at-bat, and he showed off his speed when getting out of the batter’s box quickly and sprinting down the first-base line. Revs’ manager Andy Etchebarren liked what he saw.

So, even though Lancaster released Haveman on May 23 after batting just .182 in 10 games for the Barnstormers, Etchebarren wanted him. Haveman would join York on May 24, just a few days after York signed former major league outfielder Bobby Kielty.

At the time, Etchebarren was re-tooling his roster and was also in need of an outfielder with centerfielder Scott Grimes dealing with a wrist injury.

Turnaround: Haveman has been more than just a fill-in for Grimes, though. As York’s lead-off man the last 14 games, Haveman is batting .361 with 12 runs scored, eight RBIs and three stolen bases.

He scored York’s first run on Wednesday night against Camden and later had a bases-clearing three-run double in the seventh that wound up giving York a come-from-behind 4-2 win.

Everyday player: The 25-year-old Haveman isn’t surprised with his turnaround at the plate in York. He says he’s always hit, so long as he’s playing everyday.

“I was playing every three days (in Lancaster). I came in late, four games into the season and they had two outfielders hitting over .400 already,” he said. “It makes it tougher (not playing everyday). The more at-bats you get, the more comfortable you get in the batter’s box.”

He proved that during his time as a Seattle Mariners prospect the last three years. The Mariners took Haveman in the 29th round of the 2009 draft after he hit .422 in his senior year at Purdue University.

Haveman put up solid numbers in rookie ball that year (.339 average) and in 2010 at Class AA Jackson (.296 average), earning him a call-up twice to Class AAA Tacoma in 2011.

But Haveman hit just .200 in limited action (16 games) with Tacoma, and the Mariners later released him in spring training this year.

“I hit .200 in triple-A with (35) at-bats,” he said. “It’s good I have triple-A time on my resume. And I’m a career .292 hitter in the minor leagues. If I get an opportunity to play on a team, I will go out and prove I can hit .290 every year.”

He’s proven that already in York. If he keeps it up, a big league club should come calling for his services eventually, no matter if he doesn‘t look like the biggest player in the game.

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