Angels sign 3 Atlantic League players
The Los Angeles Angels signed a trio of players out of the Atlantic League on Sunday, picking up York Revolution third baseman Andy Marte, Long Island starter Dontrelle Willis and reliever Jason Urquidez.
Marte becomes the sixth Revs player to get signed by a major league organization after suiting up for York this season. Willis is the third Long Island player signed by a major league organization this year. And Urquidez is the fourth Lancaster player to have his contract purchased by a big league club this year. Marte and Willis will report to the Angels’ Class AAA Salt Lake affiliate, where they’ll join former Atlantic Leaguers Josh Judy (York) and Dustin Richardson (Sugar Land). It’s unclear where Urquidez will report.
The Angels are strengthening their reputation for not being afraid of taking chances on Atlantic League players. Marte, Willis and Urquidez make up a total of seven Atlantic League players to be picked up by the Angels this year (Marte is the second York player signed by Los Angeles this season). The Angels’ big league roster already includes two former big leaguers in pitchers Jerome Williams (former Barnstormer) and Daniel Stange (former Bluefish). This will mark the first time in Marte’s 12-year pro career where the Dominican Republic native will play in the Angels’ organization.
Marte, a former major leaguer, was pulled from the Revs’ lineup just before the start of Game Two at Long Island on Saturday night. He leaves York with a .301 batting average, 19 homers, 74 RBIs and 61 runs scored in 96 games. He also had 26 doubles. His 19 homers are tied for the third-most in the Atlantic League and his 74 RBIs is second in the league.
While it’s unclear what position the Angels would like to use Marte at, it’s worth noting that third baseman Chris Nelson was called up to the big league club Wednesday after putting up stellar numbers for its Class AAA Salt Lake affiliate this season.
Marte, 29, came to York this season after a year away from the game. He has 301 games of big league experience. To read a feature story, along with a video, on the slugger published earlier this season, click here.
Not only is Marte a big loss to the Revs’ offense, his departure leaves York with 25 players under contract, with just 11 of those being position players. Infielders Ofilio Castro (oblique strain) and Wilson Batista (groin strain) were still out of the Revs’ lineup Saturday as they both recovery from injury. As a result, York was forced to play its only bench player, backup catcher Charlie Neil, at the designated hitter spot.
York is expected to get some relief in infield-depth, but not until the end of next week. Revs’ manager Mark Mason had said Thursday that slugger Brian Burgamy is likely to return to the club next weekend. Former Revs’ infielder Joe Thurston is likely to join the club shortly after Burgamy. Both finished up their time playing in the Mexican League on Saturday.
Willis: Willis, 31, has compiled the best earned run average in the Atlantic League this season, posting a 2.56 ERA through 14 starts. The southpaw has a 5-4 record and has struck out 52 batters in 87 and two-thirds innings. He is tied for second in the league in complete games as well with three.
Urquidez: Urquidez, 30, is easily the Atlantic League’s best reliever this season. The right-hander held opponents scoreless in 36 of 39 appearances, posting a 0.25 ERA in 36 innings of work. He recorded 24 saves – tied for second-most in the Atlantic League – to go along with 48 strikeouts and seven walks. The California native (who went to the same high school as New York Mets’ reliever and former Revs’ pitcher Scott Rice) has previously played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox organizations. He has yet to reach the majors, playing in a career 136 games at the Class AAA level, last competing there in 2011.
For more on Urquidez, here’s a column I wrote on the Lancaster reliever in early July about several topics, including obstacles he’s overcome off the field and an awesome thing he did for a special Revolution fan earlier this season.
Lancaster manager Butch Hobson confirmed Sunday evening that Urquidez has been picked up by the Angels.
“I’m kind of dumbfounded why it hasn’t happened sometime before now,” Hobson said by phone. “He’s been pitching well all year. Some light came on in someones’ head to finally give him a chance.”
Demoted: In other news, former York Revolution starter Ryan Feierabend was sent down to Class AA Frisco from Class AAA Round Rock by the Texas Rangers over the weekend. The left-hander began the year at Frisco, going 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts, before being promoted to Round Rock, where he posted a 5-4 record and 3.77 ERA in 17 games (15 starts). A former big leaguer, Feierabend struck out 70 and walked 30 in 102.2 innings of work for Round Rock.