Chomping at the Bit for Baseball 2021: 'Daddy Shark' Returns to Revs
The York Revolution announced the return of one of the Atlantic League’s top hitters and a potential starting pitcher when it revealed the re-signing of All-Star outfielder Melky Mesa and left-handed pitcher Austin Nicely. The return of both players, who had previously signed with York in 2020, was announced by Revs manager Mark Mason live on Tuesday’s Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 AM WOYK.
Nicknamed “Daddy Shark” by Revs fans for his iconic walk-up music, Mesa earned an Atlantic League Post-Season All-Star Team selection for the second time in as many years after ending the 2019 season ranked fifth in the league in batting average (.298) and fourth in slugging percentage (.500). The outfielder became just the second player in franchise history to author a pair of 20-homer seasons, joining Chris Nowak (2011-12). In addition, Mesa finished top 10 in the league in total hits (137), tied for fifth in extra-base hits (49) and drove in 70 runs during his second season in York.
The year before, Mesa was named Revs’ Player of the Year after batting .337 (tied for fourth in Revs history), smashing 20 home runs, and earning 89 RBI (seventh in club history). His slugging percentage of .577 was the second highest in single-season franchise history at the time (now third). Mesa was selected to represent the Revolution in the Atlantic League All-Star Game in both of his first two years with the team.
Mesa, 33, is entering his 16th season in professional baseball. Heading into his third season in York, he is among career franchise leaders in several categories, ranking tied for ninth all-time in batting average (.316), tied for eighth in home runs (40), tied for ninth in triples (8), tenth in RBI (159), and fourth in slugging (.535).
“He’s such a great guy and great teammate,” commented Mason. “He’s also extremely talented and one of the most feared hitters in our league. He’s a really great guy to have back and a very steady bat in the middle of our order.”
Mesa originally signed with the New York Yankees in 2003 and ascended through the Yankees farm system. The Dominican Republic native was a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2009 after belting 20 home runs for Charleston and was the Florida State League Player of the Year in 2010, when he clubbed 19 long balls while hitting .260 with Tampa. He combined to bat .264 with a career-high 23 home runs between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2012 and was an Eastern League All-Star, earning his first big league call-up. Mesa appeared in three games for the Yankees in 2012 and five more in 2013, combining to go 6-for-15 with a pair of doubles.
Mesa has spent parts of five seasons at the Triple-A level in the Yankees, Kansas City Royals, and Toronto Blue Jays organizations. Over his minor league career, he has totaled 159 home runs, 599 RBI, and 133 stolen bases.
Nicely, 26, returns to the Revs after joining York in September 2019. Along with that of teammate Jake Welch, Nicely’s contract was acquired in a trade with the Evansville Otters (Frontier League). The lefty made one start for York, striking out three batters in four innings and earning a no decision on September 13, 2019, at Lancaster.
“He’s competing for a starting rotation spot,” stated Mason. “We only got to see one start back in 2019, but there’s an opportunity for him to come back in and make an impact for us.”
In two seasons with Evansville, Nicely was 14-12 with a 4.28 ERA in 26 starts, racking up 151 strikeouts in 206.1 innings. The Grottoes, VA, native spent four years in the Houston Astros system after being selected in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Reaching as high as Class-A Quad Cities, Nicely is 21-25 with a 4.79 ERA in 77 games, including 60 starts over his pro career.
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 29, at a new airtime of 6:30 p.m., immediately following the season premiere of The Baltimore Baseball Show with Dan Connolly, and available online at 989woyk.com and on The New WOYK app.