Cyr, Povse Sent to Arizona Fall League

Each year, major league teams send a number of players to the Arizona Fall League, a sort of clearinghouse for prospects. It’s usually considered to be quite an honor, as teams often send their best to compete over the fall and winter.

Even though the season doesn’t start until October 10th, we can still celebrate two former Valley Leaguers who have been named by their organizations as participants in this year’s AFL:

  • Max Povse (Staunton 2013) has been sent by his parent organization, the Seattle Mariners, to the Peoria Javelinas. Max made his major league debut on June 22nd in 2017, but he gave up 9 hits and 3 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings for the Mariners. He fared much better in Double-A, going 3-2, 3.46, with 32 K’s in 39 innings. He also spent 31 2/3 innings in Triple-A Tacoma.
  • Tyler Cyr (Waynesboro 2014) spend 2017 plying his trade for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels in the San Francisco Giants system. He went 5-2, 2.19, with 18 saves and 57 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings pitched. He was assigned to the Surprise Saguaros.

Good luck to both pitchers! (ATVL will do his best to follow along…)

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League Record Book: Total Bases

We’re ready for the latest installment of the Valley League record book from 2004-2017! Cue up the list of most bases in one season….

1 Jimmy Yezzo Winchester 2012 148
2 Joseph Odom Winchester 2012 139
3 Jon Love Front Royal 2004 125
Tyler Kuhn Luray 2006 125
5 Zach Sterry Waynesboro 2016 123
6 Michael Wielansky Charlottesville 2017 122
7 Steve McQuail Front Royal 2009 119
Bradley Picha Winchester 2012 119
9 Jonathan Griffin Luray 2010 117
10 Collin Cowgill Covington 2005 116
11 Leo Rojas Winchester 2012 115

You know what it means, Dear Reader, when we have 11 on a list- someone from 2017 broke the seal! There he is, Charlottesville’s Michael Wielansky, with 122 total bases… just about breaking the top 5.

Major Leagues: Collin Cowgill
Current Minor Leagues: Joseph Odom, Zach Sterry
Previous Minor Leagues: Jimmy Yezzo, Tyler Kuhn, Steve McQuail, Jonathan Griffin
No Minor Leagues: Jon Love, Bradley Picha, Leo Rojas
Still in College: Michael Wielansky

Jimmy Yezzo Hagerstown

Jimmy Yezzo playing for Hagerstown

Erik Kratz Sold to Yankees

The Cleveland Indians have sold Erik Kratz (Waynesboro 2000, Harrisonburg 2001) to the New York Yankees.
 
Big Erik was having quite a good year for Triple-A Columbus, not only hitting a bit, but throwing out 37% of runners attempting to steal, and also framing well.
 
Erik has been assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre for the time being, but the thought is that he will join the big league club when/if Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine are suspended for their roles in the brawl with Detroit.
 
Oddly, Erik joins another catcher in Scranton with ties to theValley League. One of the other backstops is none other than Eddy Rodriguez, who played in Luray in 2005 and 2006. (And gave my daughter a baseball in New Market in 2006, in the process becoming her favorite player.)
 
If Erik is called up, he will also join another former Valley Leaguer- Brett Gardner, who played in New Market in 2003 and 2004.
 
(Erik is also a friend of ATVL, for full disclosure. He did a huge interview with this page back in 2006- you can read them here and here)
(Also see more on this deal here)
Erik Kratz throwing

Did You Know?

A bit of a mish-mash about Valley League alumni…

Did you know…..

  • That four former VBLers are currently playing in Aberdeen, the Orioles’ short season team in the New York Penn League? They are William Reed Hayes (Staunton 2015), Zach Jarrett (Woodstock 2014), Trevor Craport (Harrisonburg 2016) and Ben Breazeale (Harrisonburg 2014).
  • That, speaking of Craport, he’s exploded in August? He’s hitting 422/493/594, with 9 doubles in 64 at-bats.
  • That David Carpenter (Covington 2004) was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in July out of the Independent Leagues? David was pitching for Bridgeport of the Atlantic League, where we went- check out these numbers- 1-3, 1.91, with 30 saves in 39 games. In 37 2/3 innings, he allowed 27 hits, 12 walks, and struck out 45 batters.
  • That Chris Nunn (Winchester 2010) was signed, also out of the Independent Leagues, by the Chicago Cubs? Chris made a start Friday night for Double-A Tennessee. It didn’t go so well, but he has his foot back in the door!
  • That Patrick Mazeika (Waynesboro 2010) was promoted to Double-A Binghamton? After hitting 287/389/406 in 100 games in High-A, Patrick is hitting 400/471/733 in 6 games at Double-A so far.
  • And that the team in Binghamton is called the “Rumble Ponies?” What in the world is a rumble pony?
  • That Jack Leathersich (Haymarket 2010) has struck out 63 batters in 40 Triple-A innings for Iowa? He’s also thrown 2/3 of an inning for the Cubs. It didn’t go well.
  • That Erik Kratz (Waynesboro 2000, Harrisonburg 2001) has hit 12 home runs this season for Triple-A Columbus, giving him 122 career minor league homers?
  • That Robby Rinn (Aldie 2013) has a hit in 15 straight games for Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League? Overall, he’s hitting 357/439/536 in 207 at-bats.

Baseball America Top 100 Prospects

Baseball America publishes a list of their top 100 prospects each year, and have done so since 1990.

So, you know what I had to do, Brilliant Reader… here is every Valley League alumnus who has been named in the history of the BA 100 list!

1990-1997: None

1998: Mike Lowell, #71, 3B, New York Yankees (Waynesboro 1993)

1999: None

2000: Adam Everett, #76, SS, Houston Astros (Winchester 1996)
Aubrey Huff, #98, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays (Staunton 1997)

2001: Jon Rauch, #4, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Harrisonburg 1998)
Aubrey Huff, #43

2002: Jon Rauch, #92

2003: Jon Rauch, #92

2004-2005: None

2006: Cliff Pennington, #83, SS, Oakland A’s (Harrisonburg 2003)

2007: None

2008: Chris Perez, #97, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Staunton 2004)

2009: Yonder Alonso, #35, 1B, Cincinnati Reds (Luray 2006)

2010: Yonder Alonso, #45

2011: Jason Kipnis, #54, 2B, Cleveland Indians (Covington 2006-07)
Yonder Alonso, #73

2012: Yonder Alonso, #33
Cory Spangenberg, #78, 2B, San Diego Padres (Winchester 2010)

2013-2017: None

If I had to guess who will make the list in the coming year, I would say Nate Pearson (Staunton 2016) had a solid shot, especially with his velocity (he’s hit 100+ on the radar gun a number of times).

So, if you’re keeping score at home, 9 different players have been named a top 100 prospect. Two come from Harrisonburg, Winchester, and Staunton, and one comes from Waynesboro, Luray, and Covington. Every single one of the nine has had a nice career in the major leagues.

Mike Lowell Boston Red Sox

Mike Lowell with the Red Sox

Lest You Think ATVL is Finished

The Charlottesville Tom Sox hoisted (well, initially, Michael Wielansky did, to be technical about it) the Jim Lineweaver Trophy last night. Many of the kids have gone home already. Some will go home today, while a precious few will stay a few more days to unwind after a long, hard season.

Does this mean that All Things Valley League will close up shop for the offseason?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

This space is a year-round endeavor.

Over the next 10 months, I will be covering at least the following:

  • A list of the top hitters, starting pitchers, and relievers in the 2017 VBL season (spoiler alert- Michael Wielansky will be on the list) (And the lists are close to being ready, too. I will post on each player one by one, starting at the bottom.)
  • Park factors across the league (this one is close to being ready)
  • Minor league news (New York-Penn League All-Stars were just announced. Do you know which VBLers made the list? ATVL does…)
  • Major league news (Will Daniel Murphy get more MVP votes this year? Will Jason Kipnis and the Cleveland Indians make it back to the World Series? How about Jon Jay and Tommy La Stella and the Cubs? Brett Gardner and the Yankees?)
  • Professional players of the year at each level of affiliated ball (Rookie ball, Low-A, High-A, Double-A… etc. You get the picture.)
  • When the college season starts up again, I will be watching alumni to see who performs well during the college season in the spring
  • Top prospect lists (Like Michael Gigliotti (Covington 2015)- I would bet he’s going to be on the Kansas City Royal list)
  • And anything else that comes up.

So while we’ve finished one chapter, another one begins!

Remember to follow me on instagram @allthingsvalley (All Things Valley League), and Facebook!

 

Four Quick Transactions

I HAD AN ENTIRE POST READY WHICH JUST DISAPPEARED AFTER IT FAILED TO PUBLISH. THIS IS AN ABBREVIATED VERSION. Unhappy with WordPress right now.

As you know, Brilliant Reader, ATVL pays attention to the waiver wire, and keeps track of Valley League alumni who make debuts, are traded, released, or otherwise move teams of designations in the world of professional baseball.

I have four to report on at the moment… (not including Yonder Alonso, who got his own article on mlb.com)

  • Rico Noel (Covington 2008) has been signed by the Houston Astros, and assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi. Rico is an ATVL favorite because he’s…so…..FAST. He’s stolen 407 total bases over all levels since he was drafted. Anyway, Rico spent a couple months in the majors with the Yankees in 2015. He last played for Lancaster in the Independent Atlantic League (where he stole 34 bases in 38 attempts).
  • Randy Dobnak (Front Royal 2015) was signed by the Minnesota Twins and assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League. Randy pitched in 6 games for the Utica Unicorns (seriously) of the Independent United Shore League.
  • Matt Hockenberry (Woodstock 2013) was released by the Phillies. Matt couldn’t seem to solve Double-A Reading, although he didn’t get much chance to. Matt went 5-1, 2.51 in 89 2/3 innings in High-A, and 0-0, 14.73 in 7 1/3 Double-A innings. (Reading is a bandbox, too)
  • Collin Cowgill (Covington 2005) was released by the San Diego Padres. He played in the majors for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland A’s, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, and Cleveland Indians, putting up a 234/297/329 slash line and 4.0 WAR in 759 major league plate appearances. He’s been injured quite a bit this year; maybe he’ll get picked up by another organization.