Over the past several weeks, when the York Revolution have announced player signings for the start of the 2017 season, the pattern has been the same.
The team would reveal two familiar players and one newcomer.
That plan held true again on Wednesday night, when two more former York players and one new face were announced as the latest signings on the "Revs Hot Stove Weekly" radio show on 1350 WOYK.
Jared Mitchell: Jared Mitchell will return for his second consecutive year with the Revs. An outfielder, Mitchell, 27, played 69 games for York last year, joining the team in the middle of the season after beginning the 2016 season in Class AA ball with the Trenton Thunder, a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees. While with the Revs, Mitchell showcased his talent, hitting .285 with eight home runs and driving in 39 runs. It was the first time in Mitchell's career playing in independent baseball, after spending the first eight years of his pro career bouncing around in the minors for the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Yankees. The highest level he reached was AAA.
Nick Mutz: The second player to be revealed was right-handed pitcher Nick Mutz. While Mutz is technically a former York player, his first stint with the club in 2015 didn't last very long. He appeared in only seven games with York, totaling 6 1/3 innings, while accumulating a 4.26 ERA out of the bullpen. Just 26, Mutz spent parts of his first four years in pro ball playing in the San Diego Padres system, making it to Class High-A ball. Mutz left the team early on in that 2015 season and then took last year off to refocus on other things in his life, according to manager Mark Mason. Now back in baseball, Mason is expecting the hard-throwing reliever to come into 2017 as a reliable option out of the bullpen.
"I think he's a guy who can help us," Mason said on the radio show. "I think, sometimes, he had a tendency to fall in love with the breaking ball at times when he was with us a couple years ago, but he has a lot of potential and he has a swing-and-miss pitch and anybody who has a swing-and-miss pitch is a good bullpen guy for me."
Luis Alen: Luis Alen was the final player revealed during the latest show and he's no stranger to independent baseball. While this will be his first stint with the Revs and in the Atlantic League, Alen, 31, has played independent baseball since 2010.
A catcher, Alen spent the first half of his career making it as high as Class AAA with the Florida Marlins, and then played at the lower levels of the minors while with the New York Mets. While he struggled offensively in affiliated ball, since playing in independent ball, primarily in the American Association, Alen's offense has improved. He's a career .305 hitter in non-affiliated ball, belting 49 home runs and driving in 400 runs. Last season, he hit .297 with nine home runs and 57 RBIs.
Mason said that he likes the addition of Alen because it gives him a solid one-two catching punch with Isaias Tejeda, allowing Mason to play both consistently, while also keeping their legs fresh by occasionally putting them in the designated-hitter spot or at first base.
Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org.