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.

McGrath Mades Major League Debut!

Kyle McGrath SD 2017The San Diego Padres have called up former Staunton Brave Kyle McGrath (2011)!

By my count the 203rd Valley League alumnus to make his major league debut, Kyle ascended through the minors very quickly since he was drafted in the 36th round in the 2014 draft. The reason? He has been amazing at getting hitters out (which is a pitcher’s job, after all).

Initially assigned to the Arizona League, Kyle went 1-0, 0.79, with 22 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings and a 0.618 WHIP in his first pro season. In 2015, he pitched in Double-A for one game, but spent the rest of the year at Fort Wayne of the Midwest League, where he went 3-0, 1.70, with a 0.932 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings.

Last year, in 2016, he pitched in one game in Triple-A, and went 1-0, 0.00 in 17 1/3 innings in Lake Elsinore of the California League, and 1-2, 1.29, with a 0.822 WHIP and 50 K’s in 48 2/3 innings for Double-A San Antonio.

This season, Kyle is 1-1, 2.66 at San Antonio, with a 0.845 WHIP and 27 K’s in 23 2/3 innings.

In his entire minor league career (so far), Kyle is 7-5, 1.61, with a 0.839 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, and 10.1 K/9 in 184 2/3 innings (208 strikeouts!).

Kyle made his major league debut last night, July 30th, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He threw a clean inning while striking out 2.

Congratulations, Kyle!

Adams Makes MLB Debut

Austin Adams Nationals 2017The 205th Valley League alumnus to make his major league debut is Austin Adams, who pitched in Staunton in 2011!

Austin has been a strikeout machine in the minor leagues since he was drafted in the 8th round in 2012 by the Los Angeles Angels. Over 254 1/3 minor league innings, he has struck out 334 batters. Of course, the problem lies with his control- he’s also walked 185 in that time.

Austin made his major league debut on Saturday, July 15, for the Nationals against the Cincinnati Reds. He entered the game in the 8th inning of a 10-0 game. The inning, ah, did not go well. Perhaps Austin was a bit ramped up, but he faced five batters and did not record an out. He gave up 1 hit, walked 2, hit a batter, and a hitter reached on an error.

Hopefully Adams will get a second shot at pitching in the big leagues soon!

Want to Know Where Current Pro Players Are From?

What a terrible title, but we’re going with it.

I’ve started working on a new project, one I should finish this weekend- I’m listing all pro players, both current and “retired,” by Valley League team (and within that, by season).

It’s always been fascinating to me to have this conversation- which teams have the most pro players? I was having a conversation with Staunton’s Steve Cox about a week ago, and I mentioned the 2006 New Market Rebels- the team that went 32-10 in the regular season. Right away, we were naming players from that squad- Joey Butler, Brandon Dickson, Gerard Haran….

So I was able to enter the current pro players yesterday, and I noticed something- some teams have tons of alumni playing, while others….. do….. not.

So I had to count them, of course. Ready? (By the way, I did not count Indy Ball players, OR foreign players)

  1. Harrisonburg Turks- 34
  2. Staunton Braves- 24
  3. Front Royal Cardinals- 19 (Hunter Newman was just released- bummer)
  4. Purcellville/Charles Town Cannons- 16
  5. Waynesboro Generals- 15
  6. Luray Wranglers and Winchester Royals- 14
  7. Haymarket/Aldie Senators- 12
  8. Covington Lumberjacks and Woodstock River Bandits- 10
  9. New Market Rebels and Strasburg Express- 8
  10. Charlottesville Tom Sox- 4

A couple thoughts here. First, Strasburg came into existence in 2011, and Charlottesville in 2015. Their numbers are smaller, most probably, for that reason.

Not to be too critical, but the number from New Market, Covington, and Woodstock is a little bit shocking. When you see Haymarket/Aldie with more even though the team folded after 2015….

And Luray still has 15 active, even though they were sold and moved after the 2012 season.

Of course, this can change very quickly- in fact, any of these teams could have free agents signed at any time.

Thoughts? Get a thread going!

Three Quick Hits

There are a few small news stories to cover today!

  • Jack Leathersich (Haymarket 2009) has been called up to join the Chicago Cubs. He made his major league debut in 2015, and has been working his way back ever since. He is the 24th Valley League alumnus to play in the majors in 2017 (assuming he does actually pitch in a game soon, of course).
  • Tony Thomas (Harrisonburg 2005) has been named to the American Association All-Star team. He’s hitting 296/362/542 in 179 at-bats for the St. Paul Saints.
  • Two former Valley Leaguers have been named to the major league All-Star teamDaniel Murphy (Luray 2004-5) and Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006). Murphy is hitting 341/395/575 in 308 at-bats, with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, and 60 RBIs. Whoa. Alonso is hitting 280/375/568 in 243 at-bats, with 13 doubles, 19 home runs, and 41 RBIs. His previous high in home runs was NINE.