The players that York Revolution manager Mark Mason finds usually come to him broken or flawed in some fashion.
In 2011, lefty reliever Scott Rice arrived in York needing to change his approach following a disappointing 2010 season with the Colorado Rockies' triple-A affiliate.
In 2012, there were starting pitchers Shawn Hill and Ryan Feierabend and reliever Ian Thomas. Hill, coming off surgery to remove a rib to correct a blood-circulation issue, had to prove he was healthy. Feierabend wanted to regain the form of his earlier days as a major leaguer. Thomas, who went undrafted out of college in 2009, worked his way up through the independent ranks and just desired a shot to prove himself against the triple-A-level talent in the independent Atlantic League.
In 2013, Andy Marte was very much like Feierabend, aiming to find his big-league form again after sitting out the 2012 season.
What all the players mentioned above have in common is that they were picked up off York's roster by major-league organizations and went on to reach the big leagues. Marte is the most recent example. The Arizona Diamondbacks called him up from their triple-A club last week, completing his four-year journey back to baseball's biggest stage. Rice, Thomas and Feierabend were in the majors earlier this season before getting demoted for various reasons.
Those players all also worked with Mason in their efforts to get signed out of York by big-league clubs and eventually make it to the majors.
In total, seven players have competed in the majors after suiting up for the Revs: Outfielder Tike Redman (2007 Orioles), left-handed pitcher Justin Hampson (2012 Mets), Hill (2012 Blue Jays), Rice (2013, 2014 Mets), Thomas (2014 Braves), Feierabend (2014 Rangers) and Marte (2014 D'Backs). Everyone but Redman played for Mason.
Pitcher whisperer: Sure, former Revs' skipper Andy Etchebarren and baseball operations manager Andrew Ball should get some of the credit for procuring talent when they were here. But Mason, as York's pitching coach from 2010 to 2012, was the man who worked directly with Hampson, Hill, Rice, Thomas and Feierabend. And in his first year as the York manager in 2013, Mason's most impressive acquisition was Marte, who put up stellar numbers in 96 games for the Revs before getting signed by the Los Angeles Angels.
Mason, though, should be known more as a pitcher whisperer. He's proven that again this season by getting the most out of the starting rotation. Starters Anthony Lerew (Angels) and Mike McClendon (Rockies) were picked up off York's roster by big-league clubs in late May. And Chris Cody left for a foreign league in late June.
This has left York with a ragtag bunch of starting pitchers for Mason and first-year pitching coach Paul Fletcher. Yet, York has continued to dominate on the mound. Corey Thurman (3.51 ERA) has returned to form following a disastrous 2013 campaign. Jorge Martinez has a 3.07 ERA in his first year pitching professionally in the United States. Logan Williamson pitched poorly with three other teams this season before coming to York and posting a 2.48 ERA in his first 10 starts. Scott Gorgen struggled with Camden earlier this year and in his first two starts for the Revs before posting a 2.70 ERA over his last three outings. And Alain Quijano is a 32-year-old slow-throwing lefty who worked his way up through the indy ranks and has gathered a 3.80 ERA in his first year pitching in the Atlantic League.
Along with the York bullpen's 2.81 ERA, the Revs' 3.27 team ERA through Saturday leads the league. The Revs are also on pace to snap the previous single-season franchise ERA record of 3.99, which was set in 2012 when Mason was the pitching coach.
Pitching has been the reason York won the first-half Freedom Division crown and has continued to win in the second half. It will continue to play a pivotal role come playoff time, too. Of course, this is where Mason's coaching wizardry will come into play, like it did in York's championship seasons in 2010 and 2011, when the Revs posted a combined 3.10 playoff ERA.
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.