Telvin Nash accomplished almost everything he set out to do in 2019.
The 28-year-old slugger won the 2019 Atlantic League Player of the Year award, led the league in a number of statistical categories and broke Atlantic League and York Revolution records in the process.
He hit 41 home runs, drove in 100 runs, drew 105 walks, scored 107 runs and led the Atlantic League in slugging percentage and on-base percentage. It was arguably the best season in Revs' history and maybe the best season in Atlantic League history.
The one goal Nash didn’t reach after his historic season — earning a contract from a Major League Baseball team.
So, in 2020 the Revs’ all-time home run leader has decided to make a move to another organization and sign with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association.
Neither the American Association nor the Atlantic League are affiliated franchises. Both are independent minor leagues.
“It was just time for a change,” Nash said. “I loved it in York, don’t get me wrong. The fans were amazing. It just came down to trying to find somewhere for me to take my game to the next level.”
Change of scenery: Nash hopes that St. Paul will be the spot to get him back into affiliated baseball. Part of why he believes that is the Saints’ history of sending players back to MLB clubs.
Three players from the Saints’ 2019 squad had their contracts purchased by MLB teams, which raised the franchise’s total to 128 contracts selected by big-league clubs, with 19 of those making it to the MLB, according to the team’s website. York’s website lists 87 former Revs that reached affiliated baseball.
The Saints feature a field built in 2015 and averaged 7,900 fans in a stadium with a 7,210-seat capacity last year. By contrast, York's PeoplesBank Park was opened in 2007 and the Revs averaged a shade under 3,000 fans in 2019 in a stadium that has a 5,200-seat capacity.
The Saints are also coming off a league championship a season ago. The 2019 Revs reached the league playoffs, but lost in the semifinals.
The St. Paul franchise has even been rumored as a potential addition to affiliated baseball in the proposal for potential minor league baseball realignment.
Nash said he has talked with players that spent time in St. Paul and they told him it would be a good fit for him.
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Mason doesn’t agree: Mark Mason, Nash’s manager with the Revs, had a different take on the move. While he added that he couldn’t believe that Nash didn’t get signed by an MLB team after his 2019 season, Mason voiced concerns that playing in a league with younger, less-experienced players could diminish Nash’s statistics, and a down season could crush his MLB hopes.
“I do think staying in our league and showing he could do it again and again would have been a better move for him,” Mason said.
Nash and his agent had an opposite plan for what was best for him. The slugger said he loves Mason and credited Mason with helping him make the necessary adjustments to unlock his potential in 2019. Still, Nash believes that last season showed all he could accomplish in the Atlantic League.
“I really don’t know what else I could’ve done,” Nash said. “Don’t get me wrong, the Atlantic League is still the premier (independent minor) league, but I feel like I’ve done it there, I’ve proved myself there. I didn’t know what more to do, so I made the decision to sign somewhere that could push me a little bit more.”
Excited for future: Nash added that it will be hard to leave his York teammates, the organization and the Revs’ fans because of how much they supported him and helped him turn around his career.
While he is sad to leave the Revs after years of individual and team success, including an Atlantic League title in 2017, Nash is looking forward to what the move to St. Paul could do for his career.
“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting,” Nash said. “I’m just going to go do me. I’m just going to do what I do. Hopefully it’s the right decision and this springs my career to the next level. I’m excited to see where it might take me.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.