A Look at Chris Huffman, Prospect


Chris Huffman is a name that should be well known to folks in the Valley- not only did he play in the VBL for two season (Staunton, 2012-2013), but he went to Fort Defiance High School, and then JMU for three seasons.

After those seasons with the Dukes, Chris was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 14th round in 2014. He hasn’t blown away the prospect community, so to speak, but he has steadily performed at each level, and now finds himself on the cusp of the major leagues.

Let’s take a look at his stats over the years:

  • 2012, with the Staunton Braves: 0-1, 4.35, 20 2/3 innings, 19 hits, 10 walks, 19 strikeouts
  • 2013, with the Braves again: 1-1, 2.07 in 6 games, 6 K’s in 8 2/3 innings (3 saves). He also went 0-1, 1.22 in 7 1/3 playoff innings.
  • 2014, after getting drafted, with Eugene in the Northwest League: 0-1, 4.26, 19 IP, 1.421 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 7.6 K/9
  • 2015, with Fort Wayne of the Midwest League: 9-6, 3.28, 107 IP, 1.224 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 4.9 K/9
  • 2016, with Lake Elsinore of the California League: 1-5, 3.78 in 131 IP, with a 1.290 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and 6.7 K/9
  • 2017, with three different teams and three different levels (Lake Elsinore again, Double-A San Antonio, and Triple-A El Paso): 8-8, 3.18 in 144 1/3 IP, 1.261 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
  • In his minor league career, he’s 27-20, 3.45 in 401 1/3 innings, with a 1.268 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, and 6.5 K/9.

The 25-year old was named a San Diego “Organization All-Star” for his performance in 2017, along with the following writeup:

Climbing three levels, Huffman led Padres right-handers with a 3.18 ERA while placing fourth in the system with 144 innings pitched.

“He throws strikes. He’s very intelligent.,” [Director of Player Development Sam] Geaney said. “Going forward, we can see him in a variety of roles. He definitely has value as a starter and he put himself on the radar for us, and I imagine for other organizations, with his strike-throwing.”

I find the addition of “I imagine for other organizations” to be rather interesting here. Chris was not added to the Padres’ 40-man roster, so he is eligible to be chosen in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft (December 14). Is Geaney anticipating Chris will be chosen? I suppose the comment could also hint at Chris as trade bait, but I’m not sure why an organization would trade for him if they could have a shot at picking him in the draft next week.

Anyway, Chris, congratulations on being chosen as an Org All-Star, and good luck wherever you may be pitching next year!

Chris Huffman 2017


A Couple Quick Hits

The end of my basketball season has come and gone, which means a week of utter collapse, and then getting back to work.

We’ll start the process of returning to work by taking a quick look at a couple stories that have come across my desk in one way or another in the past couple week…

[In 2007], He was the ACC Player of the Year, first team All-ACC and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Dick Howser Trophy and Brooks Wallace Award the same season.

During his career, Thomas became the first Seminole to register 30 doubles, 100 hits and 30 stolen bases in a single season.  He finished that junior campaign with 33 doubles, which tied for the second most in a single-season at FSU.

Thomas led the ACC in batting average with a.430 mark while ranking first in six other offensive categories as junior.  He also finished among the Top 10 in four other categories enroute to earning consensus All-America honors.

Thomas’ 14 career triples are still the fourth most in school history.

Tony was drafted by the Cubs in the third round in 2007, spent 9 years in the minors in affiliated baseball, and now two years in Independent ball. Tony appears in the all-time minor league record book in the categories of doubles (tied for 13th), triples (3rd), and stolen bases (18th).

While Tony fell just a little bit short of the major leagues (he played in 164 Triple-A games), he has made a career for himself while playing baseball, which is much more than most of us can claim.

Taylor has also done what probably seemed like an internship with ATVL; a few years ago (when she was still a college student, I believe) she helped me with the statistics for park factors for a past Valley League season. Maybe 2012? She very cheerfully saved me dozens of hours of work.

Congratulations, Taylor!

Clint has had an illustrious minor league career- he’s on the all-time minors record book list for runs (12th), hits (7th), doubles (4th), home runs (3rd), RBIs (5th), and walks (13th). He has played in 1,053 minor league games since he was drafted in 2007, and appeared in 243 major league games as well.

  • The Express are also doing something fun in the offseason- reports uploaded to youtube! Kyle Gutshall, the broadcaster extraordinaire, posted the first one on November 18th. Good stuff!

Two Named Classification All-Stars

Baseball America has released their classification all-stars for each level of the minor leagues, and two former VBLers have been named! (By the way, ATVL will name a hitter and pitcher of the year for each level later on this offseason,. Stay tuned.)

  • Ben Breazeale (Harrisonburg 2014) was named a first team Short-Season All-Star at designated hitter. Playing for Aberdeen of the New York-Penn League, Ben hit 323/433/474 in 192 at-bats, along with 14 doubles, 5 home runs, and a 27/56 BB/K ratio.
  • Michael Gigliotti (Covington 2015) was named to the first team Rookie All-Star list at outfield. Gigliotti hit 329/442/477 for Burlington in the Appalachian League, along with 8 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs, a sterling 32/21 BB/K ratio, and 15 stolen bases in 155 at-bats at the level.

Congrats to both!

Top 2017 Prospects

Each year, two media outlets, Baseball America and Perfect Game, rank their top prospects in each summer league (well, most of them).

As usual, ATVL is there (with a little help from my friends) to keep everyone informed about what the scouting community thinks about the top players in our league.

So let’s take a look at the top ten prospects from each publication!

Baseball America Valley League Top 10 Prospects 2017
1. Zachary Peek, RHP, Strasburg, (So., Winthrop)
2. Dominic Canzone, OF, Front Royal, (So., Ohio State)
3. Tom Sutera, RHP, Purcellville (Jr., Siena)
4. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Charlottesville, (So., Old Dominion)
5. Luc Lipcius, OF, Front Royal, (So., Tennessee)
6. Nate Pawelczyk, RHP, New Market (Jr., Winthrop)
7. Jake Washer, C, New Market (RSo., East Carolina)
8. Brandon Quaranta, OF/1B, Strasburg (Sr., Philadelphia, Pa.)
9. Mike Wielansky, 2B/SS, Charlottesville (Jr., Wooster, Ohio)
10. Cash Gladfelter, SS, Woodstock (Jr., Shippensburg, Pa.)
Perfect Game Top 10 Prospects 2017
1. Dominic Canzone, OF, Front Royal, (So., Ohio State)
2. Zachary Peek, RHP, Strasburg, (So., Winthrop)
3. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Charlottesville, (So., Old Dominion)
4. Mike Wielansky, 2B/SS, Charlottesville (Jr., Wooster, Ohio)
5. Tom Sutera, RHP, Purcellville (Jr., Siena)
6. Tony Beam, C, Harrisonburg (Sr., Texas-San Antonio)
7. Max Wood, OF, Staunton (Sr., Central Florida)
8. Chris Farish, RHP, Harrisonburg (R-Sr., Wake Forest)
9. Brandon Quaranta, OF/1B, Strasburg (Sr., Philadelphia, Pa.)
10. Trevin Esquerra, 1B/3B, Purcellville (So., Loyola Marymount)

The Semi-Breakdown

Named on Both Lists:

  • Peek (1,2)
  • Canzone (2,1)
  • Sutera (3,5)
  • Pasquantino (4,3)
  • Quaranta (8,9)
  • Wielansky (9,4)

By VBL Team:

  • Strasburg- 2 (Peek, Quaranta)
  • Front Royal- 2 (Canzone, Lipcius)
  • Purcellville- 2 (Sutera, Esquerra)
  • Charlottesville- 2 (Pasquantino, Wielansky)
  • New Market- 2 (Pawelczyk, Washer)
  • Harrisonburg- 2 (Beam, Farish)
  • Woodstock- 1 (Gladfelter)
  • Staunton- 1 (Wood)
  • Covington, Waynesboro, Winchester- 0



Lopez, Gigliotti Named Appy League All-Stars

Two former Valley Leaguers were named to the Appalachian League postseason All-Star team- Irving Lopez (Staunton 2016) and Michael Gigliotti (Covington 2015).

  • Lopez, from Johnson City (since called up to State College), was named the best second baseman. He hit 287/378/433 in 50 games and 178 at-bats. He hit 7 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, and had a solid 19/25 BB/K ratio.
  • Gigliotti played in Burlington for 42 games before the Royals moved him up a slot to Low-A Lexington in the South Atlantic League. For Burlington, Michael hit 329/442/477 in 155 at-bats, with 8 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs, and an amazing 32/21 BB/K ratio. He went on to hit 302/378/419 in 86 at-bats at the next level, too.

Would you be interested in seeing the history of Appy League all-stars connected to the VBL? Of course you would!

2015- Patrick Mazeika, C, Kingsport (Waynesboro 2013)
2014- Jordan Edgerton, 3B, Danville (Woodstock 2013), Trey Cochran-Gill, RP, Pulaski (Harrisonburg 2012)
2013- Emilio Pagan, RP, Pulaski (Harrisonburg 2010) (Emilio was unscored upon in 20 1/3 innings at Pulaski)
2010- Marcus Nidiffer, 1B, Greeneville (Covington 2008-9)

Gomber Named August Pitcher of the Month


Austin Gomber Springfield 2017Milb.com has released its August players of the month, and our very own Austin Gomber (Luray 2012) is the Texas League pitcher of the month!

The article included this writeup about Austin:

Springfield Cardinals (Cardinals) left-hander Austin Gomber was 5-0 with a 0.91 ERA in six August starts. Gomber led the Texas league in WHIP (0.76), batting average against (.134) and ERA, while finishing second in strikeouts (44). He did not allow more than two runs in any of his six starts. Gomber, 23, was selected by St. Louis in the fourth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Atlantic University.

Pretty awesome month. Overall, Austin has gone 10-7, 3.34 in 26 games started in 2017. He’s allowed 116 hits, 51 walks, and struck out 140 in 143 innings pitched. That leaves him with a 1.17 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 8.8 K/9. All this is Double-A- two levels from the majors, but only one phone call. (I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would bet pretty heavily on Austin making the major leagues at some point.)

Congrats, Austin!


Tom Sox Named Summer Team of the Year, and Other Awards

In an absolute first in the history of the league, the Charlottesville Tom Sox have been named the best summer league team in the nation by Perfect Game!

Another media outlet, the website Collegiate Summer Baseball, in what seems like an impossible task, has ranked the top summer league teams from one to thirty. The Tom Sox finished 2nd on this list, behind the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League.

Perfect Game also named their summer All-Americans, and two 2017 VBLers made the lists, while one 2016 alum did as well.

  • Of course, Michael Wielansky (Charlottesville) was named to the first team at 2nd base.
  • Brandon Quaranta (Strasburg) was named to the 2nd team at utility.
  • Zach Neff (Waynesboro 2016) was named to the 1st team at starting pitcher. Zach, from Austin Peay, played in the Coastal Plains League. He went 7-0, 1.45, with 2 saves, 34 hits, 7 walks, and 65 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings pitched. ATVL named Zach the top relief pitcher in the Valley in 2016.

Charlottesville Team Shot resized