Who will be the next one gone?

LAKELAND, Fla. — Predicting anything in the Atlantic League is usually risky business.

There are just too many unknowns and things change from day-to-day in the premiere independent league in the country.

But that shouldn’t stop us from taking a guess on who will be the second Revolution player to earn an affiliated deal. Of course, no one is going to make it back as quickly as Steve Schmoll did, but we could easily see some of the players on the Revolution gone by the end of May. It happened last year, and this season the club clearly has a better roster intact heading into spring training. So let’s take a look.

1) Tie — Pete Munro (RHP)/Matt Esquivel (OF)

Munro spent all of last season pitching in Taiwan and was lights out, racking up a 2.02 ERA and 107 strikeouts compared to 22 walks. Statistics from the Chinese Professional Baseball League are usually impossible to find, and you could make the case that Munro (right) has a better shot of being noticed in the Atlantic League. He has appeared in an NLCS (’04) and the only thing holding him back is likely his age (32). But if he continues to mow down the competition, that might not be an issue.

Esquivel clearly doesn’t belong in the Atlantic League, considering his youth and the fact that he launched 19 homers in 372 at-bats at Double-A last year. But some off-the-field issues and subsequent suspensions have apparently left affiliated teams hesitant to sign the outfielder. Yet, if he tears up the Atlantic League in the early going while keeping his emotions in check, there’s a pretty good shot someone will be willing to take a chance on him.

2) Tyler Von Schell (OF)

Von Schell had the best minor league season of his career last year and was rewarded with a swift kick to the curb from the San Francisco Giants. He hit 24 home runs combined between Double-A and Triple-A last season and although he’s good for 100+ strikeouts every season, it certainly appears that he still has a lot left in the tank. His age (28) should also not hold him back if he gets off to a hot start for the Revs this summer.

3) Tie — Wayne Franklin (LHP)/ Aaron Rakers (RHP)

Franklin jumped to Taiwan early in the Atlantic League season last year and ended up regretting it. Although he lost some weight and turned his season around in Taiwan, if he had done that with York he might not be heading into his second year with the club. Franklin’s age (34) is the one big thing working against him and he likely would be a situational relief pitcher used against lefties in the major leagues. There isn’t a huge market for guys like that.

Rakers, 31, is probably one of the best finds of the offseason for York and has limited experience in the major leagues (14 games). He has a huge hurdle to overcome in coming back from a labrum tear, and clubs are probably looking for the right-hander to show them that he’s consistently healthy. But considering he was a solid option at Triple-A for San Diego last year, if he shows that he’s back to his old form quickly, the offers might come rolling in.

Other players with the potential to be signed quickly: Matt Padgett (1B/OF), Landon Jacobsen (RHP), Keoni De Renne (IF).

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6 Responses

  1. Last year I thought the Revs would quickly lose Keoni DeRenne. He’s fairly young, he’s a switch hitter, he has defensive versatility, he can run, and he has decent strike zone management (particularly for this roster). He played well enough in York, too, that I find it a bit surprising that he was back this year instead of signed to a AAA contract somewhere. As a Revs fan, I’m glad he’s back, though.

    For a lot of the same reasons (except the running), I think Kenny Perez could be gone before too long. He started to show a little pop last year in AAA, if he can get off to a hot start in that department in York it might be enough to make an organization take another look.

  2. De Renne’s issue last season has been the same thing he’s dealt with his entire career: injuries/size. He has a bad back and dealt with some other hamstring problems in York last year.

    He also had a tryout with the Chiba Lotte Marines — the team Bobby Valentine manages — this offseason and that didn’t seem to work out. I’m planning on chatting with him and getting his thoughts on being back for a second year in York.

  3. I know the announcer at Sovereign Bank Stadium liked to call DeRenne “The Big Kahuna”. My friend suggested the nickname “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” and that’s how we refer to him. It just seems to suit him a little bit better. On the downside, Shane Victorino is also known as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian”.

    Would you mind asking Keoni for his thoughts on the issue?

  4. I can certainly do that and I’ll ask him if he has had any other nicknames throughout his career.

  5. I just noticed on Atlantic League Baseball News that Jeff Farnsworth signed with Southern Maryland. Is this a case of the Revs just feeling like the bullpen is set?

  6. Because York held Farnsworth’s rights, the Revs had to allow him to negotiate with other teams. So they must feel the players they brought in were an upgrade over him, although I will confirm this.

    Farnsworth was a solid option last season at times, even looking like the closer-in-waiting, but maybe his antics got the best of him. He was known for setting off fireworks all over the place.

    I’ll have more on this soon.

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