York Revolution manager Mark Mason didn't have to look far for one of the team's newest players.
Center fielder Darian Sandford has agreed to a 2020 contract with the Revs after spending three seasons on the other side of the Susquehanna River with York's Atlantic League rival, the Lancaster Barnstormers.
The speedy Sandford was one of three player signings announced by Mason on Monday's Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 AM WOYK.
Mason also announced that first baseman Nellie Rodriguez and infielder William Salas will join the Revolution.
The Atlantic League season, however, has been put on indefinite hold because of the coronavirus outbreak. It's uncertain when the season will eventually start, but the April 30 season-opening date has already been delayed.
Speed demon: As a Barnstormer, Sandford batted .277 with a .355 on-base percentage. He also had 190 runs scored, 305 hits, 88 RBIs and a franchise-record 201 stolen bases (fifth-most in Atlantic League history) in 312 games.
The St. Louis, Missouri, native stole 82 bases (second-most in league history) during the 2018 season, followed by 74 steals (fourth-most in league history) in 2019, leading the league by at least 24 stolen bags in each of the last two campaigns. Sandford has been named to the Atlantic League Red, White and Blue All-Defensive Team in back-to-back seasons and played in the Atlantic League All-Star Game in 2018.
“I want Darian to lead off, bunt, use his speed,” Mason said in a news release from the Revs. “He’s excited about coming here, and we know what he can do.”
During his first Atlantic League season in 2017, Sandford batted .324 with a .403 on-base percentage and 45 steals in 60 games played. He had his contract purchased by the Washington Nationals in June of that season, and in 50 games at Double-A Harrisburg collected 33 hits and stole 21 bases while completing a six-year journey back to a major league organization.
Originally a 47th-round selection by the Kansas City Royals in 2010 out of Park (Missouri) University, Sandford spent two seasons in the Royals minor league system. In those two years, the 5-foot-8 outfielder sported a .263 average and stole 57 bases.
Sandford has spent time in several other pro leagues. In 835 career pro games, Sandford has a .260 career average and a .347 on-base percentage. Entering his 11th pro season, the switch hitter has 788 career hits, 528 runs scored and 606 stolen bases.
Rodriguez adds pop: Rodriguez, 25, has spent his entire pro career in the Cleveland Indians organization, including last season at Double-A Akron. In 2019, Rodriguez had 55 hits, 13 doubles, 12 homers and 42 runs scored in 78 games.
The New York City native was a 15th-round pick in 2012 out of George Washington (New York) High School, the same alma mater as former MLB great Manny Ramirez.
The 6-2 first baseman reached Triple-A Columbus by 2017. The right-handed hitter was an MiLB Organization All-Star for Cleveland in 2015 and 2016. He was the 2015 Carolina League MVP after totaling 109 hits, 51 extra-base hits, a league-high 17 home runs and 84 RBIs. His 98 RBIs that year between Lynchburg and Akron led all Indians minor leaguers.
In his eight-year minor-league career, Rodriguez is a .232 hitter with 716 hits, 315 extra-base hits (131 home runs) and 505 RBIs in 890 games.
“We’re looking to plug him into the middle of the lineup and let him swing away,” Mason said. “He’s already had a really good minor league career and has shown power at every level. I think he has the potential to put up some big numbers.”
Salas a career .300 hitter: Salas, 28, enters his fourth pro season.
The 5-10 infielder was born in Venezuela and was with Napa of the Pacific Association for the 2019 season. The right-handed hitter had a .339 batting average along with 77 hits, 21 extra-base hits (five home runs), 37 RBIs and 40 stolen bases in 61 games. He is a career .302 hitter with a .404 on-base percentage.
“He likes to hit the ball the other way and has really good speed,” Mason said. “We’re excited to have him. We’ve gotten a lot of good reports on him, and he’s excited to be coming here.”
The Revs will unveil more signings at 6 p.m. Monday, March 23, on Revs Hot Stove Weekly.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information for this story was provided by the York Revolution.