Former No. 3 overall pick in MLB Draft among latest announced signings by York Revolution

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Josh Vitters was No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs. Vitters has signed with the York Revolution for the 2021 season.

A former No. 3 overall draft pick is among the latest announced signings by the York Revolution.

Josh Vitters was a first-round selection by the Chicago Cubs in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. He was a high school All-American out of Cypress High School, where he was the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in California and a member of the 16-and-under Team USA.

Vitters’ signing was announced by Revs manager Mark Mason on Monday on Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK. Mason also announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Alberto Rodriguez.

Both players will finally call PeoplesBank Park home in the 2021 season — now just one month away — after being denied the chance when they signed with the Revs last year. The 2020 Atlantic League season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Revs season is set to start on Friday, May 28.

Vitters, 31, enters his 12th pro season. The right-hand hitting corner infielder had committed to Arizona State University while in high school but elected to sign professionally with Chicago, spending six seasons in the Cubs minor league system before receiving the call up to the majors in 2012 at 22 years old. Vitters played in 36 games for Chicago during the 2012 season, totaling 12 big league hits, including a pair of homers while sharing time at Triple-A Iowa. He hit .121 in the big leagues.

After eight years in the Cubs organization, Vitters’ first taste of the Atlantic League came in 2016 with the Bridgeport Bluefish, where he tallied 60 hits, five homers and 25 RBIs across 80 games. Vitters also has experience playing in the American Association (2017 with Sioux City) and the Canadian-American Association (2018 with Quebec). The Anaheim native is a career .262 hitter with 867 hits, 298 extra base hits (97 homers) and 347 RBIs across 927 career games.

“He went through a lot of years where he just felt like there was something wrong with his swing,” Mason said in a news release. “He ended up having to have a procedure done, and now he feels like he did way back when he was a first rounder and he’s excited for another opportunity to play. He’ll be on the radar of major league scouts. He was set to come here last year, and we’re excited to give him the opportunity again.”

Rodriguez is familiar with Atlantic League: Rodriguez, 29, enters his fifth season of pro ball in the United States. The right-hander is no stranger to the Atlantic League, having pitched for Sugar Land in part of 2017 and the Road Warriors in 2018. With the Skeeters, Rodriguez went 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts. With the Road Warriors, he made nine more starts and posted two wins while striking out 41 in 47 1/3 innings.

Rodriguez was originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Northwest Florida State College. In two seasons in the Royals system, the Cuba native was 6-1 with a 4.93 ERA in 29 total appearances. He earned five wins and sported a 3.39 ERA in 21 outings (13 starts) in the American Association before advancing to the Atlantic League. As a pro, the 6-foot-1 righty is 17-19 with a 4.82 ERA in 77 games (36 starts), racking up 237 strikeouts in 274 1/3 innings.

“I always thought he threw the ball extremely well,” Mason said in the news release. “He has good velocity and a good slider. He’s a workhorse. He’s started, pitched in long relief, pitched at the end of the game, so he comes in as a versatile pitcher and can give us different roles. We’ll plan on using him out of the bullpen initially. He’s excited to get here and we’re really happy to have him.”

The Revs will continue to unveil player signings for the upcoming 2021 season live on Revs Hot Stove Weekly. The next episode will air on Monday, May 3.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. Information for this story was provided by the York Revolution.