Around the League

Barnstormers Return Two More

 
February 20, 2020, Lancaster, PA - Second baseman Melvin Mercedes and Olympics-bound left-handed pitcher Jared Lakind will be back with the Lancaster Barnstormers in 2020, it was announced today by manager Ross Peeples. 
 
The two signings bring the total number of players under contract for the upcoming season to five. 
 
Mercedes, 28, will be returning for his second season with the Barnstormers after missing roughly half of the 2019 campaign with a broken ankle.  The switch hitter was picking up steam, stealing four bases in his final six games before the injury as well as collecting five hits in his final nine at bats when getting hurt sliding into second base on a successful steal bid. 
 
The New York City native ended the year with 10 hits over his final five games, bringing his season average to .264.  He amassed eight doubles and two home runs, along with driving in 15 runs.  The versatile Mercedes also flashed leather at his most commonly played position, second base, fielding at a .977 clip over 34 games there. 
 
Mercedes signed with Oakland as a sixth round pick in 2012 and reached Class AAA in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.  He played all nine positions in one game during the 2016 season while playing for Class A Stockton. 
 
“Melvin is a guy that can play multiple positions,” said Peeples.  “When he was healthy, he played very well and brought some solid D to the Barn.” 
 
Lakind, who turns 28 in March, will be back for his third stint with the Barnstormers.  The Texas native posted a 2-3 record and 3.83 ERA over 41 relief outings during the 2018 season.  In 2019, the southpaw became a starter and went 7-9 with a 4.82 ERA in 25 starts and four relief appearances.  Along the way, he threw 12 quality starts, tied for the club lead. 
 
On Memorial Day (May 27) at Long Island, Lakind retired the first 20 batters he faced, and ultimately 24 of 27 overall in a game the Barnstormers eventually dropped, 3-2 with the lefty uninvolved in the decision. 
 
Lakind began his professional career in a first baseman in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  He switched to the mound in 2013 and posted his best pro season in 2016 when he went 5-1 with seven saves and a 2.59 ERA in 47 relief outings for Class AA Altoona. 
 
He split the 2017 season between the Pittsburgh and Miami organizations before coming to Lancaster. 
 
He is expected to leave the ballclub during the season to play for Team Israel in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. 
 
“Jared is a guy who can start or relieve,” said Peeples.  “He has been pretty successful in the bullpen role and brings us a quality lefty arm from there.”


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