Bridgewater, NJ – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball announced today that Somerset Patriots second baseman Nate Spears, along with pitcher Roy Merritt were named to the league’s Red, White and Blue All-Defensive team.
Spears earned the distinction with another fine year for the Patriots. The former big leaguer also made appearances at both shortstop and all three outfield positions, but spent the majority of his time manning second base. Of the 117 games he played in during the regular season, Spears appeared at second base in 89 of them.
The second-year Patriot led all Atlantic League second baseman in total fielding chances (423), putouts (176) and assists (241) while finishing with a .986 fielding percentage. He only committed six errors at second over the entire season.
The 117 games that Spears played marked the third-most on the team, behind only David Vidal and Robert Andino. Offensively, Spears finished the season second on the team in stolen bases (14) and runs (59), and fourth in at-bats (404) and hits (103).
Somerset finished the regular season second in the league in team fielding percentage (.979).
Merritt spent most of the 2015 season with the Sugar Land Skeeters, making just two of his 21 regular season appearances with the Patriots. In those two games, the fourth-year Patriot converted both of his two fielding chances.
Merritt made a huge impact in the postseason for the team, earning Atlantic League postseason MVP honors thanks to a 3-0 record with a 0.40 ERA, including a win in the championship-clinching game four of the championship series.
Long Island Ducks shortstop Dan Lyons was named Rawlings Gold Glove Defensive Player of the Year for his accomplishments on the field. Among all other shortstops with at least 100 games played, Lyons, 31, ranked the highest in fielding percentage (.976), recording the second most assists (355) and putouts (183), while committing only 13 errors. He represented the Liberty Division in the 2015 Atlantic League All-Star Game.
For the first time in ALPB history, a Red, White and Blue All-Defense team was established to commemorate the new red and blue stitched Rawlings baseball that was adopted as the official league baseball beginning with this year’s All-Star Game on July 8.
“It’s an incredible honor to present the first Rawlings Gold Glove Award in Atlantic League history to Dan, such an accomplished athlete,” said Mike Thompson, Executive Vice President, Marketing of Rawlings Sporting Goods. “The award has become the industry standard in recognizing defensive greatness in professional baseball.”
The 2015 Red, White & Blue Glove All-Defensive Team features ALPB Player of the Year Welington Dotel and Roy Merritt, the league’s most valuable player in the playoffs. The full roster follows:
Catcher Juan Apodaca, Lancaster Barnstormers
First Base Andres Perez, York Revolution
Second Base Nate Spears, Somerset Patriots
Third Base Patrick Palmeiro, Sugar Land Skeeters
Shortstop Dan Lyons, Long Island Ducks
Outfield Welington Dotel, Bridgeport Bluefish
Outfield Carlos Guzman, Camden Riversharks
Outfield Michael Rockett, Camden Riversharks
Pitcher Roy Merritt (LHP), Somerset Patriots/Sugar Land Skeeters
For information about the Somerset Patriots upcoming 2016 Season, stop by the Ticket Office located at TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit the Patriots on-line at www.somersetpatriots.com.