Minor League Record Book: Career Hits

Our next category in our minor league record book is hits!

First up, the most career hits from 2006-2017…

2006-2017
1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 1123
2 Joey Butler New Market ’06 958
3 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 814
4 Eric Campbell Luray ’06 762
5 Tyler Kuhn Luray ’06-07 725
6 Ben Guez Covington ’06 722
7 Blake Tekotte Woodstock ’06 707
8 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 692
9 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 684
10 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 683
11 Brian Bocock Luray ’04 633
Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10 633

Robinson, Butler, Schimpf, and Flores are still active. If Joey Butler hadn’t gotten hurt in 2017, he probably would have topped 1,000….

Robinson, Butler, Eric Campbell, Blake Tekotte, Ryan Schimpf, Collin Cowgill, and Brian Bocock have all played in the majors.

Here is the “all-time” list…

  All-Time
1 Andy Abad Harrisonburg ’93 1464
2 Alan Cockrell Staunton 1322
3 Luis Lopez Winchester ’92-3 1270
4 Jeff Manto Front Royal 1253
5 Jim Pankovits Harrisonburg ’74 1156
6 Jon Zuber Harrisonburg ’91 1155
7 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 1123
8 Doug Dascenzo Front Royal 1085
9 Andy Barkett Winchester ’92 1075
10 Tommy Murphy Staunton ’98 1060
11 Pat Watkins Staunton 977
12 Steve Decker Front Royal 975
13 Christopher Carter Waynesboro ’01 969
14 Wes Timmons Winchester ’98-9 966
15 Joey Butler New Market ’06 958
16 Frank Menechino Harrisonburg ’92 957
17 Kevin Reese Winchester ’98 953
18 Jack Voigt Staunton 933
Emil Brown Waynesboro ’94 933
20 Danny Godby Harrisonburg 898

Two players, Clint Robinson and Joey Butler, are on both lists. The next closest active player to the all-time list is Ryan Schimpf, who is over 200 hits away.

Andy Abad

Andy Abad

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#10 Starting Pitcher: Payton Kinney, Waynesboro

Payton Kinney NEbraska Omaha 2017The 10th best starting pitcher in the 2017 Valley League season is Waynesboro’s Payton Kinney!

Payton, a 6-foot-3, 215 pound righthander from Nebraska-Omaha, put up the following statline for the Generals:

Way ERA W L G GS IP H R ER BB K BAVG WHIP BB/9 K/9
2017 3.40 4 0 9 7 37.0 38 20 14 12 32 0.260 1.351 2.9 7.8
Play 1.00 1 0 1 1 9.0 6 1 1 1 4 0.212 0.778 1.0 4.0

Of the pitchers considered for this list, Payton finished 9th in ERA, tied for 7th in strikeouts, 10th in batting average against, 8th in BB/9, and tied for 6th in K/9. His best start was the playoff start you see above, which was against Harrisonburg on July 29th. He also threw 6 shutout, one-hit innings against the Turks on June 14th. He was named 2nd team All-Valley.

Here are his college stats:

ERA W L G GS IP H R ER BB K BAVG WIP BB/9 K/9
2017 3.88 3 3 16 3 51.0 39 25 22 31 56 0.204 1.373 5.5 9.9
2016 5.40 4 4 11 7 41.7 44 34 25 18 62 1.487 3.9 13.4
2015 4.17 8 2 14 12 69.0 71 47 32 22 52 1.348 2.9 6.8

Payton redshirted in 2014, and spent 2015 and 2016 at Southeast Community College, a junior college in Nebraska.

Congratulations on your excellent summer, Payton!

Payton Kinney Nebraska Omaha 2017

Minor League Record Book: Runs

So it’s time to move along to the minor league record book.

A quick note before we start. A month ago or so, I worked pretty extensively on the list of major league players with a background in the Valley. At the same time, I decided to pump up both the minor league and major league record books.

But because I didn’t want to just throw out the one from 2006-2017, I kept it, and created a new one that tries to cover as much of the history as possible. So for each category (runs today), there will be two lists: the one with the top ten (or so) from 2006-2017, and then a top 20 from history. Some names will be the same on each, but only a few.

Also, there will be a few spots where information was not complete. This is mostly in the year a player appeared in the Valley. If any of you can help me out with some of the missing years, feel free to drop me a line.

So let’s start with runs:

2006-2017
1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 583
2 Joey Butler New Market ’06 531
3 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 485
4 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 458
5 Sherman Johnson Covington ’10 431
6 Eric Campbell Luray ’06 428
7 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 427
8 Ben Guez Covington ’06 423
9 Blake Tekotte Woodstock ’06 414
10 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 387

Major leagues: Clint Robinson, Joey Butler, Ryan Schimpf, Eric Campbell, Collin Cowgill, Blake Tekotte
Still active: Robinson, Butler, Schimpf, Sherman Johnson, Campbell (in Japan)

All-Time
1 Jeff Manto Front Royal 818
2 Andy Abad Harrisonburg ’93 753
3 Alan Cockrell Staunton 741
4 Jim Pankovits Harrisonburg ’74 679
5 Gary Jones Waynesboro ’82 642
6 Frank Menechino Harrisonburg ’92 632
7 Antoan Richardson Winchester ’03 621
8 Luis Lopez Winchester ’92-3 620
9 Doug Dascenzo Front Royal 603
10 Jon Zuber Harrisonburg ’91 595
11 Tommy Murphy Staunton ’98 592
12 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 583
13 Jack Voigt Staunton 558
14 Kevin Reese Winchester ’98 546
15 Pat Watkins Staunton 542
Emil Brown Waynesboro ’94 542
17 Joe Koshansky Staunton ’02-03 541
18 Andy Barkett Winchester ’92 536
19 Wes Timmons Winchester ’98-9 535
20 Joey Butler New Market ’06 531

On both lists: Clint Robinson, Joey Butler

League Record Book: Strikeouts

Along with the reduction in innings (the last entry of the 2004-2017 record book), comes the reduction of strikeouts. Here we go….

1 Tim Gudex Harrisonburg 2004 89
2 Dustin Umberger Luray 2007 88
3 Cody Weiss Luray 2010 87
4 Drew Granier Harrisonburg 2010 84
5 Robert Gilliam Luray 2007 81
6 Jeff Dagenhart New Market 2004 79
Josh Eidell Woodstock 2007 79
8 Kevin Herget Strasburg 2012 77
9 Omar Aguilar Covington 2004 76
Sean Stidfole Winchester 2004 76

The highest total in 2017 was turned in by Winchester’s Daniel Collins, with 57 total. Nick Fuchs, from Woodstock, led the regular season with 53. The highest in history belongs to John Radosevich, who struck out 212 batters for Harrisonburg in 1964.

Major Leagues: none
Current minor leagues: Kevin Herget
Previous minor leagues: Tim Gudex, Dustin Umberger, Cody Weiss, Drew Granier, Robert Gilliam, Omar Aguilar, Sean Stidfole
No Minor leagues: Jeff Dagenhart, Josh Eidell

So that does it- we’re finished the league record book from 2004. We will move on to the minor league record book next- more fun!

tim-gudex-pitching-iowa

Tim Gudex long ago

A Look at the Starters

Now that we’ve finished up the top hitters of the 2017 Valley League season, we’ll turn our attention to the list of the top ten starting pitchers.

Some thoughts before we begin:

  • Pitchers needed to qualify for the ERA title to be eligible for this list (that means .8 innings per game played by the player’s team).
  • The most important categories are strikeouts (by extension, K/9), walks (and BB/9), WHIP (walks+hits divided by innings), and batting average against. Innings can be a tie-breaker.
  • Wins are not very important in this exercise.

As usual, there were many pitchers who appeared in the 2017 VBL season who did not reach the innings threshold, but who were excellent all the same.

Here is a list of the starters who had excellent to pretty good summers but fell short because of innings:

  • Conor Gillispie, Charlottesville: 2-0, 1.58, 22 2/3 IP, 14 hits, 4 ER, 5 BB, 22 K’s, .175 BA, 0.837 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
  • Jordan Cox, Staunton: 0-1, 1.65, 16 1/3 IP, 8 hits, 3 ER, 8 BB, 24 K’s, .145 BA, 0.982 WHIP, 4.4 BB/9, 13.3 K/9
  • Colin Brown, Woodstock: 1-1, 3.46, 13 IP, 9 hits, 5 ER, 5 BB, 9 K’s, .200 BA, 1.077 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 6.2 K/9
  • Justin Sorokowski, Charlottesville: 3-1, 4.17, 32 1/3 IP, 25 hits, 15 ER, 10 BB, 22 K’s, .216 BA, 1.084 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 6.1 K/9
  • Andrue Hughart, Purcellville: 1-0, 1.45, 12 1/3 IP, 9 hits, 2 ER, 5 BB, 11 K’s, .200 BA, 1.138 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 8.0 K/9
  • Deacon Medders, Staunton: 2-1, 3.54, 33 IP, 30 hits, 13 ER, 9 BB, 32 K’s, .234 BA, 1.182 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
  • Ryan Ruggles, Front Royal: 3-2, 3.03, 32 2/3 IP, 36 hits, 11 ER, 5 BB, 27 K’s, .273 BA, 1.254 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
  • Michael Dailey, Charlottesville: 2-1, 3.17, 28 1/3 IP, 26 hits, 10 ER, 10 BB, 25 K’s, .243 BA, 1.272 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 8.0 K/9
  • Sean Lawlor, Covington: 1-2, 3.21, 28 IP, 29 hits, 10 ER, 8 BB, 24 K’s, .259 BA, 1.321 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
  • Ryan Leckich, Front Royal: 1-1, 2.02, 26 2/3 IP, 17 hits, 6 ER, 19 BB, 23K’s, .179 BA, 1.348 WHIP, 6.4 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
  • Mark Moclair, Front Royal: 2-2, 2.92, 27 2/3 IP, 14 hits, 9 ER, 25 BB, 46 K’s, .154 BA, 1.408 WHIP, 8.1 BB/9, 14.9 K/9
  • Matthew Young, Harrisonburg: 2-1, 3.20, 19 2/3 IP, 18 hits, 7 ER, 10 BB, 28 K’s, .243 BA, 1.421 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 12.8 K/9

 

League Record Book: Innings Pitched

I have to admit, Brilliant Reader, that innings pitched is not a very “sexy” category, but I decided to include it to show how much the game has changed. Take a look at the highest totals of innings pitched since the 2004 VBL season:

1 Tucker Pryor Front Royal 2008 79.0
2 Joshua MacDonald New Market 2005 76.0
3 Aaron Luchterhand Harrisonburg 2011 73.0
4 Drew Granier Harrisonburg 2010 72.2
5 Kyle Dubois Woodstock 2004 72.1
6 Lee Tabor New Market 2005 71.0
7 Peden Rucker Winchester 2005 70.2
8 Ross Fetterly New Market 2007 69.2
9 Jon Dages Waynesboro 2007 68.2
Ben Hildreth Haymarket 2008 68.2

With pitch counts and college coaches wanting more and more to protect arms (and why not?), the highest total this season was Strasburg’s Benjamin Dum, who ended up with 58 total innings pitched for Strasburg- a full 10 2/3 innings behind Dages and Hildreth. No one has joined this list in 6 seasons now. Interesting, no?

Major leagues: None
Previous minor leagues: Drew Granier, Lee Tabor
Independent Leagues: Peden Rucker, Ben Hildreth
No pro ball: Tucker Pryor, Joshua MacDonald, Aaron Luchterhand, Kyle Dubois, Ross Fetterly, Jon Dages

Tucker Pryor Front Royal

Tucker Pryor throwing for Front Royal in 2008 (Credit: Haymarket Joe, AKA Joseph Cashwell)

#1 Hitter: Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville

Before we start the discussion of our #1 hitter from 2017, let’s take a quick look at the former #1 choices:

2016- Zach Sterry, Waynesboro
2015- Shane Billings, Harrisonburg
2014- Gunnar McNeill, Staunton
2013- Jordan Tarsovich, Strasburg
2012- Jimmy Yezzo, Winchester
2011- Brad Zebedis, Strasburg
2010- Cory Spangenberg, Winchester
2009- Stephen McQuail, Front Royal
2008- Tyler Townsend, Winchester
2007- Jason Kipnis, Covington

Some years, the choice for the best hitter in the league is a tough one. In 2007, for example, ATVL waffled between Zach Greinke and Jason Kipnis for forever, it seemed, until the final choice of Kipnis was made.

Michel Wielansky Charlottesvile 2017

This year, however, the choice was perhaps the easiest in the 11 years of listing the best that set foot in the Valley.

In what should come as exactly zero surprise, the best hitter in the 2017 Valley League season is Charlottesville’s Michael Wielansky!

Here is what Michael did for the Tom Sox in he regular season and playoffs:

VBL G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS Avg OBP SLG
2017 37 155 38 67 18 4 4 34 20 15 11 1 0.432 0.489 0.677
Play 7 32 8 13 1 0 1 6 4 0 2 0 0.406 0.459 0.531

Do you want to know what made Michael an easy choice for #1, Dear Reader? Michael finished 1st in the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, doubles, hits, and runs. He also tied for 3rd in RBIs, tied for 6th in home runs, and finished 3rd in triples. That’s first in 8 categories, and top five in 10.

His season was so amazing that he entered the league record book (from 2004) in 6 categories: batting average (1st), runs (tied for 4th), hits (tied for 1st), doubles (tied for 2nd), triples (tied for 10th), and total bases (6th). Holy smokes!

He was critically important to the best team in all of summer baseball (according to Perfect Game); so much so, that when the Tom Sox were given the Jim Lineweaver Trophy, Michael’s teammates sent him to receive the trophy from Commissioner Alger. A nice touch!

Michael had 5 hits in a game once, 4 hits 3 times, 3 hits 6 times, 2 hits 16 times, and had at least one hit in 39 of 44 games. He also started the season with a 14 game hitting streak. He was obviously named the league MVP, first team All-Valley at second base, and Perfect Game named him a 1st team All-American. Baseball America named him the 9th best prospect in the league, while Perfect Game pegged him at #4.

This all just added to the young man’s resume, which is already pretty full. Take a gander at what he’s done at Wooster:

Woo G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS Avg OBP SLG
2016 49 195 61 73 18 5 7 52 30 20 22 2 0.374 0.461 0.626
2017 46 186 69 79 15 6 10 54 19 13 20 9 0.425 0.509 0.731

So. Michael led his college team in 2016, as a true freshman, in runs, doubles, triples, home runs, stolen bases, and slugging percentage. After that season, he was named second team All-Region by ABCA and D3baseball.com. He was named first team All-Conference, and NCAC New comer of the Year.

Then as a sophomore in 2017, Michael led his college team in runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, batting average, slugging percentage, and even with 15 hit-by-pitches! He was named a first team All-American by ABCA, Mideast Region Player of the Year, ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove winner at shortstop, and to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District team.

All of this is amazing. Michael might have just had the best Valley League season in the past 15 years, and perhaps one of the best ever. Congratulations on your truly amazing season in the Valley League, Michael!