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York Revolution's 2019 roster features 11 returning players, eight former major leaguers

  • The Revs return 11 players from last year's team, including Melky Mesa and Ryan Dent.
  • York has eight ex-MLB players on its roster, including former Twins and Orioles infielder Alexi Casilla.
  • An interesting player on the Revs is Jeffrey Rosa, a 23-year-old reliever who manager Mark Mason said throws 97-98 mph.
Ryan Dent, right, seen here in a file photo after hitting a 2018 homer, is one of the key returning players for the York Revolution in 2019.

Every new season marks significant change for a team in the Atlantic League.

Players are eager to move up and teams are looking to pluck the best players who recently were released from affiliated teams.

As a result, York Revolution manager Mark Mason said he's accustomed to retaining about 50 percent of his roster from the previous year.

This season, the Revs return 11 players, many of whom were top pitchers or starting position players in previous seasons. 

York Revolution Manager Mark Mason during practice at PeoplesBank Park in York City, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"The core group is a great group," Mason said of the 2019 Revs. "Most of them were position players, but we also bring back ... some strong, solid pitching. Position player wise, we brought back the majority of our guys."

The Revs also sport a roster with eight former MLB players.

Those familiar faces, plus a number of new players, will open the 2019 season at 6:30 p.m. Friday at PeoplesBank Park against the Long Island Ducks, weather permitting.

York is looking to return to the postseason after missing out on the playoffs in 2018, despite an overall record of 68-58. That was the third-best record in the Freedom Division behind Sugar Land and Lancaster.

The Revs won the Atlantic League title in 2017, the third championship in franchise history, which dates back to 2007.

Revs preparing for season with rule changes

Former major leaguer Thomas back with York

Here's a list of some Revs' players to watch this season: 

Melky Mesa: Last season's team MVP, the 32-year-old Mesa is one of the 11 returning players.

Mesa slashed .337/.380/.577 (average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with 24 doubles and 20 home runs in his All-Star campaign last season.

Mesa, who was signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic at age 19 and had a cup of coffee in the majors with New York in 2012 and 2013, spent most of last season as a designated hitter because of hamstring and quadriceps injuries. 

"I like to play defense, because I have to show off everything I’ve got," said Mesa, who will play left field this season. "I just have to try to put everything together this year."

York Revolution play-by-play broadcaster Darrell Henry, right looks at the roster with pitcher Ross Detwiler during a practice at PeoplesBank Park in York City, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Detwiler is one of the key returning players for the Revs this season. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Ross Detwiler: As one of the Revs' most established former major leaguers, Detwiler hopes to get back to the bigs, just like he did last season.

The 32-year-old lefty starter had a 2.70 ERA in 30 innings in York before being signed by the Mariners. He threw 84 2/3 innings in Triple-A Tacoma and earned a spot start with the M's. 

"My mindset is the same as last year," Detwiler said. "If you take this league lightly at all, you’ll get stung by it. There are a lot of good players in this league."

Mitch Atkins: Atkins, 33, is back for another season after a successful 2018 campaign with the Revs.

Atkins, who tossed 22 2/3 innings across three MLB seasons with the Cubs and Orioles from 2009-11, led the Revs in innings pitched (144 2/3), wins (12) and strikeouts (137) last year.

"He was solid. Every night he went out there you knew you'd get five-plus (innings) out of him," Mason said.

Ryan Dent: As one of the team's leaders, the 30-year-old Dent, returns for his third season with the Revs at shortstop.

Dent, who was a first-round pick in 2007 by the Red Sox and played 10 minor-league seasons, had a .332 on-base percentage with 16 homers in 2018.

"I love everything Ryan brings to the table," Mason said. "Defensively, he can make every play, he can hit and he’ll play every day."

Alexi Casilla: After spending parts of nine seasons as an MLB infielder with the Twins and Orioles, the 34-year-old Casilla is back for his third season in York.

He slashed .336/.384/.418 last year with 16 stolen bases.

Telvin Nash, seen here in a file photo, is expected to add a lot of pop in his return to the York Revolution lineup this season.

Telvin Nash: As a former third-round pick by the Astros in 2009, Nash hit nine homers and nine doubles for a 1.061 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 39 games for York last season.

Josh Judy: Judy, who pitched 14 innings for the Indians in 2011, returns to the Revs after spending the last three seasons in the Mexican League.

Judy threw four innings for the Revs in 2013.

Dustin Richardson: Richardson, 35, returns to York after posting a 2.87 ERA in 15 2/3 innings last year.

Richardson was a fifth-round draft pick by Boston in 2006 and threw 16 1/3 innings between two stints with the Red Sox in 2009 and 2010. 

Jose Ortega: Ortega, a former major leaguer, joins the Revs after playing for Sugar Land and the Road Warriors in 2018.

Ortega tallied 15 2/3 innings in three seasons for the Tigers from 2012-14.

Jeffrey Rosa: As the youngest player on the Revs, Rosa, 23, will spend his first season in York.

According to Mason, Rosa has a live arm, touching 97-98 mph on the radar gun out of the bullpen. 

Late addition: The Revs announced a late addition to the roster earlier this week in right-hander Robert Morey.

Morey, 30, comes to York following six seasons in the Miami Marlins organization and a year pitching in Taiwan. He was a 2010 fifth-round draft pick. He’s compiled a 27-32 record with a 4.63 ERA in 119 outings (100 starts) in the minors. He reached as high as Triple-A.

Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at jmeyer@yorkdispatch.com.