For York Revolution, 3 players added, 1 exits; plus Atlantic League experimental rules set

Jack Kenley

It’s been an eventful week for the York Revolution and the Atlantic League.

Two productive bats from the 2021 roster are among the three latest announced signings by the Revs. The other new addition is also a familiar face to York fans after pitching for the team in 2016.

In addition, York became the first Atlantic League franchise this year to have one of their players signed away by a major league organization.

Finally, on Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced two experimental playing rules for use during the 2022 Atlantic League season. 

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Infielder Jack Kenley and outfielder JC Encarnacion will return to York from the 2021 club, and right-handed pitcher Jorge Martinez will return to the Revs for the first time since 2016.

In addition, catcher Brian Navarreto, who had previously signed with York, joined the Milwaukee Brewers as big-league spring training camps get underway.

The player moves were announced by York manager Mark Mason on Monday’s airing of Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK.

Kenley: Kenley joined the Revs last season after beginning his career in the Detroit Tigers organization, where he reached as high as Double-A Erie in 2021.

In 96 games after his signing with York, Kenley hit .288 with a .415 on-base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage, while also slugging 22 doubles and 12 home runs. He also had 68 walks.

“He had very good power numbers, especially for a middle infielder,” Mason said in a news release. “He’s a left-handed bat that did some real damage in our league. He made us better defensively at second base, and we’re really excited to have him back with us this year.”

Playing three years at the University of Arkansas, Kenley’s breakout season in 2019 saw him hit .311 with 13 home runs en route to the team’s second consecutive trip to the College World Series. That performance led to him being selected in the eighth round by the Tigers in the 2019 MLB Draft.

JC Encarnacion

Encarnacion: Encarnacion played 86 games with York last season after signing on June 16.

The 23 year old hit .295 with a .363 on-base percentage and a .521 slugging percentage. He had 32 total extra base hits, headlined by 18 doubles and nine homers. He also stole 14 bases and legged out five triples.

“When you look back at the year he had, it was a quietly impressive year,” Mason said in the news release. “Tremendous power numbers and a good batting average. He can also be one of the best base stealers in the league when he gets on.”

Encarnacion will enter his sixth pro season since signing with the Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent in July 2016. Encarnacion reached the Low-A South Atlantic League with the Rome Braves in 2018 before being sent to the Baltimore Orioles on July 31 as part of a four-player package in a deal for pitchers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day. After earning postseason All-Star Honors in 2018, Encarnacion hit .245 with nine home runs in his first full season with Low-A Delmarva in 2019.

Jorge Martinez

Martinez: Martinez returns to York for the third time, most recently in 2016. That 2016 season saw him start seven games and total 40 innings (3-2, 1.80 ERA) before his contract was purchased by Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League.

He made his U.S. debut with the Revs in 2014 at age 29. In 24 starts, Martinez pitched to a 3.21 ERA, which ranked fourth in the Atlantic League among qualified pitchers. Across 134.2 innings, Martinez struck out 93 batters while walking 39, compiling an 11-8 win-loss record.

“We wanted to get a little more veteran presence in our starting rotation,” Mason said in the news release. “He’s had a great career in Mexico since he's left here. Great guy who knows how to pitch, so I'm happy to plug him into the rotation.”

The Cuba native enters his 18th pro season with a lifetime 111-89 record and a 3.93 ERA, in addition to 34 career victories in his native Cuba.

Navarreto: Navarreto, 27, was a sixth-round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins out of high school in 2013 and reached the majors for two games with the Miami Marlins in 2020, while spending most of last year at Triple-A Jacksonville.

A career .214 hitter across nine seasons, Navarreto spent the bulk of his first seven seasons in the Twins system before a July 2019 trade to the New York Yankees. After finishing the year at then-Double-A Trenton, Navarreto signed with Miami that offseason.

Navaretto’s contract purchase by Milwaukee comes after the Revs sent a franchise record-tying six players to big-league organizations last year, their most since the 2007 and 2011 seasons.

The Revs now have 16 players under contract for the 2022 season and will continue to unveil new signings live on Revs Hot Stove Weekly each Monday at 6 p.m.

Experimental rules: The experimental rules to be used in the Atlantic League in 2022 are designed to create more action on the field, to reward athleticism and to raise the profile of starting pitchers.

The experimental rules listed below were previously tested in the Atlantic League on a limited basis. Below is a summary of the experimental rules that will be tested to start the 2022 Atlantic League season:

The double-hook designated hitter adjustment will be modified.

In 2021, teams lost their designated hitter when they removed the starting pitcher from the game.  However, in 2022, if the starter is able to complete at least five innings, the designated hitter will be allowed to remain in the lineup for the entirety of the game. MLB is hoping this rule will place an emphasis on longer outings by starting pitchers.

The dropped-pitch rule will also be used.

As in the second half of 2019, batters will be able to advance to first base on any pitch that is not caught in the air by the catcher, even with first base occupied by a runner. Those who get to first base safely will be awarded a hit. This rule is intended to increase the importance of taking care of the baseball and reward athletic players who are able to capitalize on wild pitches and passed balls.

Reach Steve Heiser at or on Twitter at @ydsports. The York Revolution provided information for this report.