BARNSTORMERS BRING BACK MERCEDES
Right-Hander Wesley Rodriguez Signs Also
Lancaster, PA — Second baseman Melvin Mercedes has been signed to a 2022 contract with the Lancaster Barnstormers, it was announced today by manager Ross Peeples.
Lancaster has also signed right-handed pitcher Wesley Rodriguez, a former Arizona Diamondbacks farmhand.
Mercedes, 30, will spend his third season in Lancaster. Over his first two, he has batted a combined .285 in 122 games with 21 doubles and 20 stolen bases. He has hit four home runs, including one during the 2021 season opener at Gastonia. Mercedes committed only five errors at second base in 2021 for a .980 fielding percentage.
Both seasons have been hampered due to injuries. In 2019, the Bronx, NY native broke an ankle sliding into second base on a steal attempt at Southern Maryland during the eighth game of the campaign. Last year, after batting .362 in his first 38 games, the switch hitter sustained a broken hand on a pitch against the Blue Crabs on July 18. He returned on September 10.
Prior to coming to Lancaster, Mercedes spent seven seasons in the Oakland system and reached Class AAA in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He played all nine positions in one game with Stockton, September 3, 2016.
“Melvin has been here for a few years and brings the energy to our team,” said Peeples. “He loves to play the game, and it’s fun watching him go out there every day.”
Rodriguez, 25, like Mercedes, hails from the Bronx and was in fact, recommended by the Lancaster second baseman. The 12th round pick for Arizona in 2015 made only eight appearances through the 2017 season before going 4-2 with a 3.48 ERA in 24 relief appearances with Class A-Hillsboro in 2018. His 2019 was even better, posting a 5-1 record and 2.01 ERA over 35 games with Class A Kane County.
Last season, Rodriguez was 2-4 with a 3.44 ERA with Hillsboro (A+) and Amarillo (AA).
Over his career, he has struck out 166 batters in 158 innings while allowing only 125 hits and 72 walks. His ERA in the minor league ranks stands at 2.68 entering this season.
“Wesley has a live arm that he is trying to bring back to where it was before,” said Peeples. “He can fit in several roles out of the bullpen. His career numbers are really good.”
The two signings give the Barnstormers 16 players under contract for the upcoming season which opens at Gastonia on Thursday, April 21. Lancaster will open the gates on the 2022 season at Clipper Magazine Stadium on Friday, August 29 with a game against the York Revolution.
About the Lancaster Barnstormers
The Lancaster Barnstormers are headed into their 18th year in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Home games are played at Ballpark Digest’s two-time Best Ballpark in MLB Partner League Baseball – Clipper Magazine Stadium in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Please call 717.509.HITS (4487) or visit www.lancasterbarnstormers.com for more information.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With teams throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 1,000 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 44 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 24-year history. For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.