(March 17, 2020) — Center fielder Darian Sandford, first baseman Nellie Rodriguez, and infielder William Salas will all join the Revolution in 2020. The signings were announced by Revs manager Mark Mason live on Monday’s Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 AM WOYK.
Sandford, 32, arrives in York after spending three seasons on the other side of the Susquehanna River with Lancaster. As a Barnstormer, Sandford batted .277/.355/.306 with 190 runs scored, 305 hits, 88 RBI, and a franchise-record 201 stolen bases (fifth-most in Atlantic League history) in 312 games. The St. Louis, MO, 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 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,” commented Mason. “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 just 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 (MO) University, Sandford spent two seasons in the Royals minor league system. In those two years, the 5-foot-8 outfielder sported a .263 average, collected 77 hits and 27 RBI, and stole 57 bases splitting time between the Arizona League Royals and Idaho Falls Chukars.
Sandford has spent time in several other professional baseball leagues making appearances in the Frontier League, Can-Am, and Pacific Association. Prior to advancing to the Atlantic League, Sandford stole 123 bases in parts of two seasons for Vallejo (Pacific) and finished the 2016 season just one shy of 100 stolen bases. His 99 stolen bases in 116 attempts is still a Pacific Association single-season record.
In 835 career games, Sandford has a .260 career average and .347 on-base percentage. Entering his 11th pro season, the switch hitter has 788 career hits, 528 runs scored, and 606 stolen bases.
Rodriguez, 25, has spent his entire pro career in the Cleveland Indians organization including last season at Double-A Akron. In 2019, Rodriguez earned 55 hits, wracked up 13 doubles, belted 12 home runs, and drove in 42 runs in only 78 games.
The New York city native was a 15th round pick in 2012 out of George Washington (NY) High School, the same alma mater of former MLB great Manny Ramirez. Rodriguez also spent his youth on the 16U and 18U USA Baseball teams.
The 6-foot-2 first baseman started his first pro season with the Arizona League Indians in 2012 and reached Triple-A Columbus by 2017. The righty bat was an MiLB Organization All-Star for Cleveland in 2015 and 2016. Spending a large portion of 2015 with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, Rodriguez was named a Post-Season All-Star and Carolina League MVP after totaling 109 hits, 51 extra-base hits including a league-high 17 home runs (in addition to four more with Double-A Akron), and 84 RBI. His 98 RBI between Lynchburg and Akron led all Indians minor leaguers.
Rodriguez’ standout 2015 season came after leading the Midwest League with 22 home runs for Lake County in 2014. He went on to blast a career-high 26 home runs for Akron in 2016, ranking third in the Eastern League and marking a third consecutive year with 21 or more long balls. Rodriguez followed with 17 homers for Triple-A Columbus in 2017 (ranking in the International League’s top ten) and a combined 15 more between Akron and Columbus in 2018. In his eight-year career, Rodriguez is a .232 hitter with 716 hits, 315 extra-base hits (131 home runs), and 505 RBI in 890 games.
“We’re looking to plug him into the middle of the lineup and let him swing away,” said Mason. “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.”
Rodriguez’s father, Nelson, also played professional baseball, reaching Double-A with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Salas, 28, enters his fourth professional baseball season. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Salas 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 RBI, and 40 stolen bases in just 61 games. He is a career .302 hitter with a .404 on base percentage. The 5-foot-10 infielder has also displayed a dependable glove and posted a .975 fielding percentage at shortstop last season. A former standout for Graceland (IA) University, Salas led the Yellowjackets in hits (52) and steals (27) in his senior campaign.
“He likes to hit the ball the other way and has really good speed,” commented Mason. “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 each week on Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on SportsRadio 98.9 FM and 1350 WOYK. The next airing will be on Monday, March 23, at 6 p.m. and available online at 989woyk.com and on The New WOYK app.