(March 30, 2021, York, Pa.) — The York Revolution closed out March with huge roster additions, nabbing local product and Major League veteran right-hander Casey Lawrence while re-signing outfielder Darian Sandford, one of the greatest stolen base threats in Atlantic League history. The signings were announced by Revs manager Mark Mason on Monday’s airing of Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy live on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK.
Lawrence is expected to join the front end of the Revolution starting rotation, coming to York from nearby McSherrystown, PA. The 33-year-old enters his 11th season of professional baseball and is coming off a 2020 season that saw him sign minor-league deals twice with the Minnesota Twins despite not seeing any innings; the 2020 MiLB season was cancelled due to COVID-19. The 6-foot-2 hurler most recently spent 2019 playing overseas in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, where he posted four wins, a 4.80 ERA, and 76 strikeouts in 110.2 innings.
The former Delone Catholic Squire was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Albright College (Reading, PA) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010. Lawrence impressed in his first pro season, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.33 ERA in 16 games (13 starts) between Short Season-A Auburn and Single-A Lansing. The Adams Countian quickly rose through the Blue Jays minor league ranks, reaching Triple-A Buffalo by 2013. In 2015, Lawrence set the all-time wins record for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats franchise with his 20th, a record that he still holds with a total of 24 victories, including a 12-win showing that season.
On April 8, 2017, Lawrence received his first Major League call-up and debuted in extra innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. A month later, the Seattle Mariners claimed Lawrence off waivers, and he quickly put himself in the Mariners’ record books. On June 1, Lawrence set a Seattle record for most strikeouts in a relief appearance with nine in five innings against the Colorado Rockies. The Mariners retained Lawrence for the 2018 season as he made the club’s Opening Day roster.
In 38 MLB games, Lawrence is 3-3 with a 6.64 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 78.2 innings. Across nine seasons in the minor leagues, Lawrence is 73-69 with a 3.77 ERA and 766 strikeouts in 1,129.1 innings. That includes 15 wins and a 3.73 lifetime ERA at the Triple-A level.
“We’re really excited to have Casey here, and I know he’s looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd,” said Mason. “He’s got great career numbers, and we see him being able to come in and be an impact starting pitcher for us right out of the gate and possibly get picked up a Major League club again.”
Sandford, 33, arrives in York after spending three seasons on the other side of the Susquehanna River with the rival Lancaster Barnstormers. He originally signed with the Revs for the canceled 2020 season. During his time in the Atlantic League, Sandford has batted .277 with 190 runs scored, 305 hits, 88 RBI, and a Barnstormers 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. He led 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.
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.
“He’s a prolific base stealer,” commented Mason. “He plays a great center field defensively. We’ve seen him go and get a lot of balls that had no business being caught. He’s on a short list of greatest base stealers that have ever played in this league. He can turn a walk into a triple on two pitches and we’re thrilled to have him here. He can just flat out fly and should be a nice addition to get on base for our power lineup.”
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.
The Revs will continue to unveil player signings for the upcoming 2021 season live on Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy each Monday at 6:30 p.m. on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK. The next episode will air on Monday, April 5, immediately following The Baltimore Baseball Show with Dan Connolly and can also be streamed on 989woyk.com and on the go with The New WOYK app.