2012 Revs recap: Outfield
I’ll try to provide a series of recaps (hopefully have them all published by the end of next week when I find time) taking a look back at parts of the the 2012 York Revolution roster, both reviewing the season and giving my thoughts on the future at that position. We’ll start off with the outfield.
At the start: York’s opening day outfield consisted of Scott Grimes, James Shanks, Michael Hernandez and Stephen Douglas. Two of those players would no longer be with the team by the of the season.
York traded Douglas on May 23 to Laredo (American Association) in exchange for a player to be named later. Revs’ skipper Andy Etchebarren didn’t like what he saw out of Douglas defensively and he wasn’t putting up stellar numbers, either. Douglas batted just .221 with two homers, six RBIs, six runs scored and one stolen base in 21 games for York.
That left the Revs with three outfielders. But at the time, Grimes was dealing with bone chips in his right wrist. Just days earlier York brought in ex-major league outfielder Bobby Kielty that same week. Kielty wouldn’t stick around long, though, playing in just 19 games before ultimately deciding to retire, ending a 13-year pro career. He hit just .221 with three homers and eight RBIs for the Revs.
Roster moves: Just a day after shipping away Douglas, York signed speedy outfielder Brandon Haveman just hours after Lancaster released him. Haveman ended up being the spark plug that the Revs were looking for. Filling in for an injured Grimes in center field, Haveman took over duties as the lead-off as well and proved to be a big mid-season pick-up for the Revs. He finished the year batting .290 with six homers, 48 RBIs, 68 runs and 21 stolen bases in 106 games.
York later added outfielder Jeff Fiorentino in mid-July at a time when a couple outfielders were dealing with injuries. Like Haveman, the former big leaguer proved to be another big mid-season addition for the Revs. He went on to hit .311 with four homers, 27 RBIs, 49 runs scored and four stolen bases in 66 games.
Shanks: Shanks entered the season batting a combined .320 with York in 2010 and 2011. But he looked every the bit of his 33 years of age this season, often missing time with lower body injuries. His production also dropped off dramatically. The Revs cut ties with Shanks in early August after he hit just .249 in 77 games. Shanks soon found work in Southern Maryland, but not much changed there, as he held a .225 average in 25 games with the Blue Crabs.
Future: By the end of the 2012 season, York’s outfield consisted of Brandon Haveman in left, Scott Grimes in center and Jeff Fiorentino in right. Michael Hernandez mainly served as the designated hitter the final month or so.
The Revs’ outfielder could be very different come 2013. Grimes said Saturday night he’s not sure about his future as a ball player. That makes sense for the seven-year pro veteran. Grimes has been struggling the last two seasons to get back to the level he was at as the 2010 Atlantic League co-MVP. He batted .312 with 17 homers, 59 RBIs, 138 runs scored and 28 stolen bases that year as the Revs’ lead-off man. In 2011 he got off to a rough start but had a nice second half to finish the year with a .268 average to go along with 15 homers, 42 RBIs, 97 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. Grimes lost his lead-off spot in 2012, in part because of his struggles at the plate and also because Haveman excelled at the spot when filling in for an injured Grimes. When Grimes returned, Etch’ put him at the No. 9 spot in the lineup, basically serving as York’s “extra” lead-off man. Grimes finished the season batting .246 with 13 homers, 52 RBIs, 62 runs scored and 19 stolen bases. I would say it would be a smart move for York to cut ties with Grimes despite him being a fan favorite and a big part of the ball club since 2010. But Grimes is just too good defensively in center field. Only if York can find someone as adequate to play center (which is asking a lot) should the Revs think about that move.
Revs’ baseball operations manager Andrew Ball said Fiorentino would be a good candidate to be invited to spring training by a big league club in 2013. Should that be the case, and Fiorentino is successful in earning a spot, York would lose a solid outfielder and No. 2/No. 7 hitter in the lineup.
Though there are things he needs to work on, Haveman should definitely be brought back. in 2013. At 26 years old and just four seasons removed from playing college ball at Purdue, the speedster is definitely young enough to attract the interest of big league scouts (again, you have to remember the Atlantic League’s ultimate purpose is to get guys to the big leagues. Haveman still has to become more patient at the plate. There were too many times this season where he would swing at the first or second pitch of the at-bat. Etch’ repeatedly told me Haveman needs to take advantage of his best tool, which is his speed. That means Haveman needs to get on base more often. And he can do that by drawing walks. But that doesn’t happen when he goes down on just a few pitches. He could also improve his glove in the outfield, but that could come with time at Sovereign Bank Stadium, where the left-field wall can be tricky to deal with at times.
Of the four outfielders on York’s 2012 playoff roster, Hernandez is the only one I wouldn’t mind seeing go. He reminds me a lot of James Shanks last year. He put up good numbers despite being hobbled with knick-knack injuries throughout the season. Who knows how he’ll be at age 29 next year with those legs being a year older. And Ball said Hernandez might be playing winter ball during the off-season. One would think after being banged up for the last five months or so he’d just rest his body and get ready for 2013. Sure, he batted .303 with 13 homers, 55 RBIs and 55 runs scored. But he’s not the fastest outfielder in the world. So, if the Revs can find a replacement who can hit for average and is a little bit faster and younger (obviously easier said than done) then it would make sense to part ways with Hernandez.