The 2015 York Revolution season was the ninth in franchise history.
It was also one of the team's most forgettable campaigns.
The team stumbled to a horrid first half, before rallying to stay in contention for the second-half Freedom Division crown and a possible berth in the Atlantic League playoffs. York wasn't eliminated from playoff contention until the final days of the regular season.
That makes the 2016 season — the team's 10th in York — all that more important. It's a chance to erase the disappointment of a 2015 that ended without a postseason berth.
Familiar faces: The Revs structured much of their opening-day roster around players who helped fuel the second-half surge into contention. York went 24-46 in the first half, but after a slew of roster changes to begin the second half, turned its fortunes around, going 40-29 and finishing in second in the Freedom Division, a 16-game improvement over the first half. Now, 13 players from that second-half run will return for the start of the 2016 season.
Some of those names include 2015 Atlantic League All-Stars in Bryan Pounds, Andres Perez, Luis De La Cruz and starter Matt Neil, along with second-half acquisitions Ron Schreurs, Tyrelle Harris, Luis Perdomo, Tony Pena, Nick Ferdinand, James Simmons and a few others.
"You want to bring back your productive guys from the year before," manager Mark Mason said. "And there were a lot of guys that were productive in the second half, and some of the guys that we brought back were productive all year. ... So, we brought back guys who performed well."
MLB experience: This year's roster also possesses a lot of big league experience.
The Revs have three guys who played large chunks of their careers at the game's highest level in Jason Repko, Josh Wilson and Jose Arredondo.
Those three have 1,005 games of big league experience. Repko is in his third stint with York, his last coming in 2014. He last played in the MLB in 2012. Arredondo, who won't be with the team for its season-opening road trip because of some passport issues, was a reliever for four seasons in the majors, last pitching in 2012. Finally, Wilson is just a year removed from playing in the big leagues, appearing in 21 games last year for the Detroit Tigers.
"Those types of players that you bring in are invaluable for what they bring to the younger guys," Mason said. "They set a good model for those guys to follow."
Starting rotation: The biggest question mark heading into the year is with the team's starting rotation.
The only returning member from the 2015 rotation is Matt Neil, but through the brief spring training period, Mason and his coaching staff seem to have a good idea of who will slot in as starters. The Revs went 4-2 in the spring.
Mike McClendon is one guy who could step into one of the five starter spots, a role he possessed in two prior stints with York. Harris also showed the ability to pitch in a starter's role last year, taking a spot start late in the year before leaving the team to go back to school to complete his degree.
"We're going to piggy-back some guys with some other guys, just because nobody is built up to throw six or seven innings yet," Mason said. "So, we have some guys who can give us multiple innings behind a starter. ... Then we'll use our bullpen the way we would normally use it. So, it'll just be a little bit of a work in progress."
One of the bullpen options will be Dallastown High School graduate Eric Thomas, a 6-foot, 4-inch left-hander.
Opening schedule: It'll be a week before fans get to see their 2016 Revs in the newly-named PeoplesBank Park.
York opens the season on a six-game road trip, beginning with a four-game set against the league's expansion team, the New Britain Bees. That'll be followed by a quick two-game stop in Somerset before the home opener on Thursday, April 28.
The Revs' season opener against the Bees is set for 6:35 p.m. Thursday.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com