Series 11: Somerset @ York

When you cover the Atlantic League for nearly two years — heck, make that two weeks — you hear the same nauseating mantra from executives over and over again.

“The No. 1 goal of the Atlantic League is to send players back to affiliated baseball.”

Well, I’m not denying that. Winning is a close second in this race. It always will be. And that’s all there is to it.

So with York sitting at 11-22 almost halfway through the Atlantic League’s first half, we already know about the club’s struggles in the win column. But here’s the thing: the Revs are struggling where it really counts.

No member of the Revs has been picked up by an affiliated organization yet — unless, of course, you count Steve Schmoll, who was a member of the Revolution roster for about the same amount of time Britney Spears’ first marriage lasted. Sure, you can make the case that multiple guys are deserving (I’ll get to that in a second), but at this point last year, York had already sent three men back to organized ball. Those guys were Tike Redman (Orioles), Ryan Baerlocher (Braves) and Adam Thomas (A’s).

Every other team in the Atlantic League seems to be doing just fine in this department. Even the struggling Barnstormers have watched three players (Brian Stavisky, Zach Parker and Vasili Spanos) move on to greener pastures. So what gives? Are York’s players just that bad? Or will the signings rack up quickly in the coming weeks?

It’s unpredictable, really. But this problem is arguably even more of an issue than York’s struggles in between the lines on the diamond. With that said, here are the three Revolution players with the best chance of being picked up by an affiliated organization (All stats through Wednesday’s games). And not surprisingly, no position players made this list.

1) Nick McCurdy (RHP) — McCurdy has quietly been the best pitcher out of York’s bullpen and with Dave Veres’ nagging groin, the former Baltimore Orioles’ prospect has assumed the closer’s role. He has a 1.77 ERA in 20 1/3 innings and has 22 strikeouts compared to 6 walks. McCurdy struck out seven in one appearance out of the pen on May 6 at Bridgeport and he’s become manager Chris Hoiles’ most reliable option in the late innings. The only knock on McCurdy is that he’s allowed seven of the first 13 hitters he’s faced to reach base in his 13 appearances. But with his stuff, baserunners don’t seem to be too big of a problem.

2) Dave Gassner (LHP) — The only reason Gassner isn’t in first on this list or tied with McCurdy is we haven’t seen a big enough sample size from him yet. The southpaw has four quality starts in six outings and has posted a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings. He had one really bad outing (nine runs, six earned in five innings against Camden) and has been the victim of some sporadic run support — the real reason for his 1-3 record. The fact that Gassner is left-handed is working in his favor, although he is not a power pitcher. He only has 16 strikeouts, so York’s suspect defense has really bitten him a few times. But Gassner does his best to field his position too. He already has four pickoffs.

3) (Tie) Dave Veres (RHP)/Wayne Franklin (LHP) — The numbers are great with Veres. He allowed his first two runs Thursday night and has allowed a measly .167 batting average. The question with the 41-year-old will always be his health. He left the Revs for a few days in part to have his artificial hip examined and although nothing was structually wrong, his hip will always be the big cloud hanging over him. If Veres was signed, an affiliated organization would likely be less patient with him (York rests Veres a lot and rarely uses him on back-to-back days) and that’s another cause for concern. But if he were to get picked up, it would easily be one of the best stories of the Atlantic League season.

Franklin kept the Revs afloat in the early going, winning three of his first four starts while posting a 3.86 ERA. But lately, he’s experienced a little more adversity. Franklin is winless in his last three outings despite going at least 5 2/3 innings in all of those appearances. Overall, the former Milwaukee Brewer is 3-1 with a 4.24 ERA. But here’s one big problem with his season so far: Franklin has an excellent ERA at home (1.99 ERA) but that number is astronomical on the road (8.74 ERA). It will be interesting to see how Franklin does over the course of the season. He’s been excellent in stretches for York — especially the last month of ’07 — but can he sustain that success to stir up some interest from a big league organization?

Now, some brief notes for the upcoming home series with Somerset.

Somerset Notes: The Patriots entered Thursday only two games out of first in the Freedom Division and that’s a place they’re accustomed to. Somerset has never finished a season with a losing record… Setup man Jason Richardson leads the Atlantic League with 6 wins. Closer Bret Prinz is on top of the league with 12 saves. That’s a pretty potent combo in the late innings… Somerset is 5-11 when trailing after six innings. That’s an impeccable record and means you can never count the Patriots out of a game. To compare, York is 2-18 in the same situation… The Patriots lost ace Brandon Knight to the New York Mets earlier this week. At least the Revs dodged that huge bullet. Knight led the league with 50 strikeouts when he was picked up… Somerset’s pitching staff is second to Southern Maryland with a 4.21 ERA. The staff has also racked up a league-high 226 strikeouts.

York Notes: York’s starting pitchers had not won a decision in 15 games before Aaron Myette’s win Thursday night. That streak dated back to Gassner’s win against Newark on May 13. Overall, the starting staff has a 5.81 ERA… The Revs have committed 24 errors over the last 15 games, which is absurdly bad. The poor defense has been an overlooked aspect of this team… Kenny Perez is hitting .325 with seven RBIs in his last 10 games. It seems that Perez has found a home at the top of the order, although he received the day off Thursday night… Sandy Aracena is hitting .455 over his last five games. He also leads the club with a .306 batting average… Keoni De Renne continues to struggle. He’s hitting .196 and his offensive struggles have carried over to the field. De Renne has 14 errors… 22 times this season York has scored a run only to watch the opposition score a run in the ensuing half-inning.

Pitching Probables: (York’s starters first)

Game 1: Wayne Franklin (3-1, 4.24 ERA) vs. Brian Reith (2-0, 5.51 ERA)

Game 2: Dave Gil (0-1, 15.00 ERA) vs. Brian Adams (2-1, 3.27 ERA)

Game 3: Corey Thurman (0-5, 9.00 ERA) vs. Jim Magrane (0-2, 8.76 ERA).

*Franklin photo by John Pavoncello.

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2 Responses

  1. Just imagine covering the league for six seasons…I believe that phrase is burned into my skull somewhere haha.

    Sometimes, the guys who get signed are the guys you least expect. For example, if somebody told me today that a Riversharks catcher got signed, Erick San Pedro wouldn’t have been my first guess.

    I still think it’s time to essentially blow up the team and start making some major changes. While it’s easy to be critical of Lancaster for their revolving door pitching staff — and I have been — it’s just as easy to be critical of York for seemingly being unwilling to tinker with their roster.

    I keep waiting for Adam Gladstone to pull the proverbial rabbit out of his hat…but I haven’t seen anything just yet. Perhaps they’re already conceding the first half?

  2. The addition of Ashby and Daubert did not blow me away. But at the very least, they’re new guys who hopefully will bring a new attitude and approach. Ashby is already doing that a bit. He stretched a single into a double last night and it started a four-run rally.

    I doubt they’re conceding anything — at least they would never say that publicly — but this team has to get some momentum going for the second half and that’s what these next 38 games should be for. The numbers show York is not comfortable playing form behind in games or in the division race — making a good start even more important.

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