Melvin Mercedes Returns to Lancaster Barnstormers

Melvin Mercedes and Jared LakindSubmitted Image

LANCASTER, PA — Second baseman Melvin Mercedes, the reigning Atlantic League Defensive Player of the Year, will be back for his fourth season in a Lancaster Barnstormers uniform, it was announced this week by manager Ross Peeples.

Also returning is left-handed starter Jared Lakind, who has not pitched since his first appearance of the 2021 season.

The Barnstormers now have 17 players under contract for the upcoming campaign. Their defense of the Atlantic League title will begin on April 28 at Southern Maryland. The home opener is set for four days later against the York Revolution at 6:30.

Mercedes, 31, played an integral role in the Barnstormers’ third Atlantic League championship. His glovework at second base and, late in the season, in centerfield, earned him recognition as the league’s top defensive player. At the plate, the switch hitter batted .294 with a career-high 12 home runs, driving in 72. His 105 runs scored comprised the third-highest single season total in club history as did his 83 walks

Among his accomplishments was a 23-game hitting streak (36-92, .391), the longest in Barnstormers history, turned in during the month of July. He was 10-for-37 (.270) with six extra base hits over Lancaster’s eight playoff games.

Both of Mercedes’ first two seasons with Lancaster were shortened by injuries. Over those two years, he hit a combined .285 with four homers and 49 RBI.

The Bronx, New York native was drafted by Oakland in 2012, spending seven seasons with the A’s, peaking at Class AAA Nashville. He once played all nine positions in the same game with Stockton in 2016.

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“If you go by the saying, ‘it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,’ that is what Melvin is for us,” said Peeples. “He is our energy bug. He anchors the team at second base and at the top of the lineup. He adds so much to the team on and off the field; his personality sets the tone.”

Lakind, 31, pitched out of the Lancaster bullpen the entirety of the 2018 season and was converted to a starting role for 2019. He went a combined 9-12 with a 4.59 ERA over those two seasons and, at one point, carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Long Island Ducks, on May 27, 2019.

After spending the 2020 pandemic season in the Constellation Energy League in Sugar Land, Lakind returned to the Barnstormers for 2021. Eight outs into his first start, the club’s second game of the season, Lakind left with an elbow ailment and has not pitched since that time.

The Cypress, Texas native began his professional career as a first baseman in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization, playing that position for three seasons before converting to the mound in 2013. He was 5-1 with seven saves out of the bullpen for Class AA Altoona in 2016. He went to the Miami system in 2017 before joining the Barnstormers the following year.

“Lakind is a lefty who will start for us,” said Peeples. “He has been in several roles in the past, and I am excited to see what he looks like after his surgery. He is an asset on and off the field.”

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