Yarbrough Named Pitcher of the Week

Ryan Yarbrough Durham 2017The Valley League has quite a number of pitchers performing well at the upper-most levels of the minor leagues, just waiting for the call to the Show.

Kevin Herget (Strasburg 2012), Sam Howard (Staunton 2012), Chad Huffman (Staunton 2012-13), and Austin Gomber (Luray 2012) come immediately to mind.

There’s one more, of course, and he’s been pitching so well lately that he’s been named the International League’s pitcher of the week for July 31-August 6. That’s Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012), who went 2-0, 0.00 over 13 2/3 innings, with only 4 hits allowed, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts for Triple-A Durham. Overall, Ryan is 12-5, 3.27, with a 1.14 WHIP over 135 innings in 2017. He’s allowed 114 hits, 35 walks, and struck out 131 batters.

I would be surprised if Ryan doesn’t get the call sometime between now and the end of the major league season. Perhaps he’ll help with the Tampa Bay push for a playoff spot….

Two Named NY-Penn League All-Stars

Two former Valley Leaguers have been named to the New York-Penn League All-Star teams, released a few days ago. Both of these players were drafted in June, and are off to very good starts!

  • Ben Breazeale (Harrisonburg 2014) was named to the NYP South team. Ben was drafted in the 7th round in June, and plays for the Aberdeen Orioles. He’s hitting 361/466/521 in 144 at-bats, with 14 doubles, 3 home runs, and a solid 28/35 BB/K rate.
  • Ryan Gridley (Waynesboro 2015) was named to the North squad. Ryan was drafted this June in the 11th round by the Oakland A’s, and plays for the Vermont Lake Monsters. The Lake Monsters. Sigh. Anyway, he’s hitting 269/372/328 in 134 at-bats, with 8 doubles and a 20/18 BB/K rate.

Congrats to both!


All-League Selections Announced

Next up, the League’s announcement regarding the All-League teams…

Charlottesville’s Michael Wielansky and Purcellville’s Thomas Sutera took home the major awards as the VBL announced its 2017 All-League teams.

The vote of team and media representatives across the Valley resulted in a Division III infielder earning Player of the Year honors after leading the league in batting average, and a reliever taking home Pitcher of the Year recognition.

Wielansky (College of Wooster) hit .432- one of the highest batting averages of the league’s collegiate era, and did so on 155 at-bats- tied for third-most in the league.

The second baseman led the VBL in hits (69), doubles (18) and runs scored (38), while adding four triples, four home runs, 34 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.

Sutera (Siena College) was 6-0 with three saves and a 1.57 ERA in 15 relief appearances. He also had the win decision in the VBL’s victory over the SCBL in North Carolina and in a postseason game vs. Winchester, giving him an overall summer record of 8-0.

Sutera struck out 39 batters in 34.1 innings, scattering 26 hits and walking 10. He raised that performance to another level in the postseason, striking out 11 of the 12 batters he faced in four perfect innings.

The first team included New Market catcher Jake Washer, Purcellville first baseman Trevin Esquerra, New Market shortstop Nick Barber, Covington third baseman Bruce Strickland, and an outfield of Dominic Canzone (Front Royal), Jacob Rhinesmith (New Market) and Max Wood (Staunton).

The Valley was full of strong utility and designated hitter candidates this summer, with the top spots going to Charlottesville’s Rick Spiers (.333 batting average and 4-0 record on the mound) and Strasburg’s Brandon Quaranta (11 homers, 49 RBIs).

The first team pitching staff included Strasburg’s Benjamin Dum and Zach Peek, Charlottesville’s Sean McCracken, and Woodstock’s Nick Fuchs. Sutera was joined by Front Royal’s Joshua Andrews in the top reliever spots.

There were three repeat All-League selections this year. Quaranta, Dum and Woodstock’s Danton Hyman (a second team outfielder) were all first team honorees in 2016.


Most Valuable Player: Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville
Pitcher of the Year: Thomas Sutera, Purcellville

C: Jake Washer, New Market, East Carolina University (.346, 5 HR, 35 RBI)
1B: Trevin Esquerra, Purcellville, Loyola Marymount University (.362, 8 HR, 33 RBI)
2B: Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville, College of Wooster (.432, 4 HR, 34 RBI)
SS: Nick Barber, New Market, East Carolina University (.322, 2 HR, 21 RBI)
3B: Bruce Strickland, Covington, Felician College (.328, 4 HR, 27 RBI)
OF: Dominic Canzone, Front Royal, Ohio State University (.404, 3 HR, 23 RBI)
OF: Jacob Rhinesmith, New Market, Western Kentucky University (.369, 3 HR, 33 RBI)
OF: Max Wood, Staunton, University of Central Florida (.390, 5 HR, 21 RBI)
DH: Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg, Philadelphia University (.331, 11 HR, 49 RBI)
UTIL: Rick Spiers, Charlottesville, Randolph-Macon College (.333, 3 HR, 19 RBI; 4-0, 0.78 ERA, 27 K)
SP: Benjamin Dum, Strasburg, Virginia Commonwealth University (5-2, 2.77 ERA, 39 K)
SP: Nick Fuchs, Woodstock, Gannon University (3-3, 2.72 ERA, 53 K)
SP: Sean McCracken, Charlottesville, Johns Hopkins University (2-0, 1.65 ERA, 27 K)
SP: Zach Peek, Strasburg, Winthrop University (4-1, 1.80 ERA, 40 K)
RP: Joshua Andrews, Front Royal, Grand Canyon University (2-1, 0.68 ERA, 46 K, 2 SV)
RP: Thomas Sutera, Purcellville, Siena College (6-0, 1.57 ERA, 39 K, 3 SV)

C: Tony Beam, Harrisonburg, Texas-San Antonio (.375, 0 HR, 16 RBI)
1B: Luc Lipcius, Front Royal, University of Tennessee (.336, 4 HR, 21 RBI)
2B: Chase Sudduth, New Market, North Georgia College (.324, 2 HR, 25 RBI)
SS: Cash Gladfelter, Woodstock, Shippensburg University (.323, 1 HR, 15 RBI)
3B: Seth Woodard, Winchester, Old Dominion University (.333, 1 HR, 18 RBI)
OF: McClain Bradley, Waynesboro, Wofford College (.359, 2 HR, 18 RBI)
OF: Danton Hyman, Woodstock, Newberry College (.379, 1 HR, 27 RBI)
OF: Cody Wilson, Winchester, Florida Atlantic University (.336, 0 HR, 23 RBI)
DH: Vinnie Pasquantino, Charlottesville, Old Dominion University (.336, 4 HR, 30 RBI)
UTIL: Alec Aleywine, New Market, Gulf Coast Community College (.314, 3 HR, 33 RBI; 4-0, 3.82 ERA, 27 K)
SP: Daniel Collins, Winchester, Montreat College (1-3, 3.73 ERA, 47 K)
SP: Andy Crum, Purcellville, Shippensburg University (3-2, 2.00 ERA, 32 K)
SP: Payton Kinney, Waynesboro, Nebraska-Omaha (4-0, 3.40 ERA, 32 K)
SP: Marc Moclair, Front Royal, University of Tampa (2-2, 2.92 ERA, 46 K)
SP: Mason Studstill, Harrisonburg, Eastern Florida State College (4-0, 2.50 ERA, 31 K)
RP: Joe Burris, Charlottesville, Christopher Newport University (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 K, 4 SV)
RP: Drew Loepprich, Charlottesville, Wake Forest University (4-0, 0.72 ERA, 25 K, 0 SV)
RP: Nate Pawelczyk, Winthrop University, New Market (3-0, 0.55 ERA, 23 K, 3 SV)

(For full disclosure, ATVL had a vote this year.)

New Market and Charlottesville each placed 6 players on the combined lists. Front Royal has 4, Purcellville, Strasburg, Woodstock, and Winchester all have 3. Harrisonburg and Waynesboro have 2 each, and Covington and Staunton have 1.

Manager of the Year

The League’s press release naming Charlottesville’s Corey Hunt the Manager of the Year….

Charlottesville’s Corey Hunt has been named the Maynard “Mo” Weber Manager of the Year in a league vote.

Hunt led the Tom Sox to a dominant 32-10 record in his first year as a VBL head coach, and just the third season of the Tom Sox franchise.

The South pennant winning roster included VBL Player of the Year Michael Wielansky, eight South Division All-Stars, six total selections to the VBL’s Showcase All-Star team, and six All-VBL selections. He coached four different NCAA D-III players to All-Star or first team All-League recognition.

Charlottesville swept the past two pennant winners, Staunton and Waynesboro, in the South playoffs. They are trying to stave off elimination tonight however, after dropping Game 1 of the finals to defending champs Strasburg.

Currently the head coach at nearby Monticello High School, Hunt also played locally at MHS and the University of Virginia.

While at the University of Virginia, Hunt batted .337 in 101 career at-bats, which included 27 runs scored and 19 RBIs. In 2011, Hunt scored the winning run of the Charlottesville Super Regional, to send the Cavaliers to the College World Series. He coached the Monticello Mustangs to the 3A state semifinals in 2015.

The Maynard “Mo” Weber Coach of the Year Award was established in 2008. An educator and businessman, Weber coached baseball for more than 65 years. He was head coach at The College of William and Mary from 1964-65 and again from 1978-1981. When Weber stepped down from his coaching position in New Market at the age of 88 in 2011, his jersey, No. 1, was also retired. He was inducted into the Valley League Hall of Fame this summer.

Charlottesville plays for the franchise’s first VBL championship tonight!

Almonte, Rinn, Ratliff Named All-Stars

The Northwest League will send their best to play an All-Star game against the best from the Pioneer League on August 1st, and three former Valley Leaguers will be there.

Two players, Abraham Almonte (Strasburg 2016) and Robby Rinn (Aldie 2013), will represent the Pioneer League, while Tyler Ratliff (Purcellville 2016-17) will be there from the Northwest League.

Their stats through July 26th:

  • Almonte is 0-0, 1.74, with 5 saves and 16 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings pitched for Missoula.
  • Rinn is hitting 365/456/518 in 34 games and 137 at-bats for Idaho Falls.
  • Ratliff is hitting 250/308/375 in 72 at-bats for Spokane, after hitting 500/541/618 in 34 at-bats in the Arizona League.

Congrats to all three!

Update on Lang, Villanueva, Jones, and O’Reilly

For our afternoon post, here are four quick updates on former Valley Leaguers!

  • Michael Lang (Haymarket 2009), a free agent signee of the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2012, spent parts of two seasons in the Diamondback system. He was scooped up by Sioux City of the Independent American Association, and has now spent parts of 5 seasons there. A few days ago, he set the franchise record for career triples- he has 23 in his Indy ball career. He already owned the single season record, by the way.
  • Elih Villanueva (Luray 2007) is an old name among ATVL’s regular readers. He started 170 minor league games between 2008 and 2015, and 1 major league game in 2011 (against the Phillies, who whacked him pretty good). Elih was released by the Baltimore Orioles after the 2015 minor league season. He pitched in the Dominican Winter League, but was not signed by another club. He didn’t pitch in 2016, but signed with the Independent Lancaster Barnstormers in the Atlantic League this spring, where he went 5-1, 2.72 in 7 starts. All this to say that Elih was signed by the Red Sox a couple days ago, and is scheduled to start for Double-A Portland tonight. (I moved him back into the “active” file!)
  • You might remember Bradley Jones (Charles Town 2015) from his monster home run derby at the All-Star game in 2015, but he should also be known for being a darn good hitter in games, too. An 18th round pick in 2016, he was assigned to Low-A Lansing of the Midwest League in April. But after hitting 326/395/560 in 184 at-bats, he’s been promoted to High-A Dunedin of the Florida State League.
  • The Cardinals drafted Mike O’Reilly (Woodstock 2014) in the 27th round of the 2016 amateur draft. Today he was named a Midwest League All-Star after going 3-1, 2.08 in 39 innings. He’s given up 29 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 39. Way to go, Mike!

That’s all for now….

Two Named All-SWAC

Two former Valley Leaguers have been named to the All-SWAC postseason teams, released Monday. Both from Alabama State, our honorees are…

First of all, Tyler Howe (Waynesboro 2015-16) was named the Pitcher of the Year. The press release included this information:Tyler Howe Alabama State 2017

Howe, who was selected SWAC Pitcher of the Week on March 28 and was a SWAC Preseason First-Team selection, led the team in wins with a 7-4 record in 12 starts. He tossed three complete-games, and pitched in 78.0 innings with 83 strikeouts, which ranked second in the conference. This season, Howe became Alabama State’s All-Time strikeout leader (228). He posted a 3.35 ERA with one shutout. The Lakeland, Fla. native ranked 13th nationally in complete games and second in the conference. Also, he ranked third in the conference in victories.

Secondly, Diandre Amion (Purcellville 2016) was named to the second team in the outfield. The press release said the following:Diandre Amion Alabama State 2017

Amion, who was second on the team in batting with a .318 average in 151 at-bats, registered 48 hits, including six doubles, one triple and one home run. He scored 24 times and drove in 25 runs.

Congratulations to both players!