(February 14, 2023, York, Pa.) — The York Revolution is bringing veteran reliever Victor Capellan back to York while adding versatile infielder Alexis Pantoja and catcher Deon Stafford to the 2023 roster. The signings were announced by Revs manager Rick Forney live on Monday’s episode of Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK.
Capellan returns to York, which he called home late in the 2019 season and for most of 2021. After being dealt to the Staten Island FerryHawks prior to the 2022 campaign, Capellan was one of the Atlantic League’s top closers, ranking third in the league with 20 saves, going 7-3 with a 1.60 ERA in 48 outings. He held opposing hitters to a .176 average and went 21 consecutive outings without allowing an earned run spanning nearly two months from May 28 to July 24. Forney reacquired Capellan’s rights via trade on January 24, sending lefty Jim Fuller to Staten Island.
“We have a strong relationship from our years together, and I’m glad we got it worked out,” remarked Forney. “He’s a really good person, comes to the park nice and early every day, prepares well, and you just know what you’re going to get from him every day. He’s a warrior and takes the ball whenever you need him. I feel pretty good with a lead in the ninth inning and Victor running out there.”
Capellan enters his 16th pro season and is one of the most accomplished relievers in MLB Partner League history. The Dominican Republic native began his pro career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 and reached Triple-A Reno as a 22-year-old. He became a mainstay in the American Association with Joplin in 2015 and was first acquired by Forney in Winnipeg the following season. Capellan spent five seasons with Forney’s Goldeyes and appeared in all 12 postseason victories during back-to-back championship runs in 2016 and 2017. Capellan tied a Winnipeg franchise record with 22 saves in 2018 and set a new mark with 27 saves in 2019. Not only did he rewrite franchise marks, but the durable reliever established the league’s all-time career appearances record in 2019 and set the league’s all-time saves mark the following year, as his 76 saves on the circuit eclipsed the previous mark of 70 set by former Revs lefty Kris Regas. The 33-year-old holds a career mark of 47-43 with 112 saves and a 3.61 ERA, which includes nine winter league seasons.
Pantoja embarks on his first Atlantic League season in 2023. A ninth-round draft pick of Cleveland out of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy in 2014, the 27-year-old spent his first six seasons in the Cleveland organization, reaching Double-A Akron for part of 2018 and all of 2019. Pantoja signed with Forney in Winnipeg prior to the 2021 season but had his contract purchased by Arizona during spring training and was assigned to Double-A Amarillo. The versatile infielder eventually played against Forney’s club with Kane County last season, manning mostly third base with a spectacular .980 fielding percentage. He has played mostly shortstop throughout his career, boasting a .957 career clip at both short and third and a .976 mark at second base. The lefty hitter is a career .238 batter with 10 home runs, 77 doubles, 13 triples, and 58 stolen bases. Most recently, Pantoja batted .257 with 15 doubles for Akron in 2019 and .250 with five home runs for Kane County last season.
“He's a solid defender and can play the heck out of the infield,” commented Forney. “It doesn’t matter where you put him, he’ll be as good of a defender as there’s going to be in the Atlantic League. He makes the routine plays and sometimes makes the plays on balls that he has no business making. When you have guys like that behind you, it makes any pitching staff better, and I think the fans will like watching his glovework. He also gets on streaks with the bat, doesn’t swing and miss a lot. He has a pretty good plan up there.”
Stafford returns close to home with the Revs in 2023. The Harrisburg native was an All-State catcher at nearby Lower Dauphin High School before a standout college career at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. That led to a fifth-round draft selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017. The 27-year-old spent his first four seasons in the Pirates system, reaching Double-A Altoona in 2021 before spending the rest of that season and all of 2022 with Forney in Winnipeg.
“Deon is a fantastic person, I love him to death,” said Forney. “I think the fans are going to love him. He’s super athletic, very strong. He was banged up last year but grinds through everything and plays really hard. He’s thrilled to be in York, and I’m glad he’s with me again.”
Stafford enjoyed the greatest offensive season in SJU history as a sophomore in 2016, batting .395 with a program record 18 home runs, leading the Atlantic 10 en route to snagging conference Player of the Year and multiple All-American accolades. The hard-nosed backstop garnered more honors early in his pro career, being named a New York-Penn League All-Star during his first season and both a South Atlantic League All-Star and MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2018 when he slugged 35 extra-base hits including 11 long balls for West Virginia. Stafford was an All-Star Game starting catcher last season for Winnipeg, belting 19 doubles and eight homers in 74 games. He is a career .251 hitter with 37 home runs, 67 doubles, and 175 RBI and owns a .988 lifetime fielding percentage behind the plate, while having also played outfield.
The Revs now have four player signings announced for the 2023 season with Capellan, Pantoja, and Stafford joining returning star power hitting first baseman Nellie Rodriguez, whose signing was announced a week earlier. Forney is scheduled to announce more player signings on the next episode of Revs Hot Stove Weekly presented by Shipley Energy on Monday, February 20, at 6 p.m. live on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK, 989woyk.com, and The New WOYK app.
About the York Revolution:
The York Revolution Professional Baseball Club is a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Revolution was Atlantic League Champions in 2010, 2011, and 2017. The 2023 season is the team’s 16th. Located at 5 Brooks Robinson Way, PeoplesBank Park hosts all Revolution home games, in addition to myriad events through the entire calendar year. For tickets or more information, please call 717-801-HITS (4487) or visit the Revolution online at www.YorkRevolution.com.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB):
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary season in 2023, the Atlantic League is Major League Baseball’s first Professional Partner League, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent more than 1,200 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 45 million fans to its family-friendly ballparks throughout its 25-year history. Please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.