Five Selected in Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 draft was held yesterday, during the last day of the MLB Winter Meetings. Count me as one of the nerds who gets pretty excited about what unprotected players might be moving elsewhere.

While no VBLers were chosen in the major league portion of the draft (which means they would have to stay in the major leagues for the 2018 season or be offered back to the original team), five were chosen in the Triple-A portion. There are no stipulations on these players; they can just stay in the minors all year long.

It’s still exciting though; each of the selected players have shown something that made them attractive to another organization.

Here they are:

  1. Joe Odom (Winchester 2012), was selected by the Seattle Mariners (original team: Atlanta). Joe has battled injuries for much of his career, but he has a good bat (he was one of the triumvirate in Winchester who annihilated the VL pitchers in 2012, along with Jimmy Yezzo and Leo Rojas).
  2. Jay Gonzalez (Harrisonburg 2011) was selected by Arizona (original team: Baltimore). Jay is faaaaast. He’s 10th in the modern-day record book with 122 career steals, and tied for 9th with 43 in one season- in 2016.
  3. Jacob Wilson (Luray 2009) was picked by the Nationals from the Cardinals. Jacob hit 248/337/417 in Double-A in 2017.
  4. Chris Nunn (Winchester 2010) was selected by the Houston Astros (from the Chicago Cubs). Chris has had an interesting career so far. He spent 2012-2015 in the San Diego Padres’ organization, and was released. He spent 2016 out of baseball, but signed with Evansville of the independent Frontier League for 2017. He pitched in one game, striking out 9 in 5 innings, and was scooped up by the Cubs. Now the Astros grabbed him.
  5. Kaleb Fleck (Waynesboro 2008,2010), picked by the Nationals from the Diamondbacks. Kaleb might join Jacob Wilson at Syracuse in 2018. He also ranks 9th (tied) in career saves in the modern day minor league record book.

Good luck to all five players- may you all be called up to the major leagues in 2018!


A Look at Patrick Mazeika, Prospect

Patrick Mazeika St Lucie 2017Continuing the theme of checking in with prospects that have a background in the Valley League, today we have Patrick Mazeika (Waynesboro 2013).

(Previous players covered are Sam Howard (Staunton 2012), Tyler White (Haymarket 2010), and Michael Gigliotti (Covington 2015).)

Mazeika, an 8th round draft pick of the Mets in 2015, shows up at #25 in the Mets system per, climbing up four spots from the preseason. He crushed at Stetson for three seasons, and also crushed for Waynesboro in ’13.

At Stetson, Patrick hit 348/469/484 in 620 at-bats, with 123 runs, 216 hits, 42 doubles, 3 triples, 12 home runs, 113 RBIs, and a fantastic 99/53 BB/K ratio. In his very short Valley League stint, Patrick hit 382/552/566 in 24 games and 76 at-bats… with 15 walks against 14 strikeouts.

This is what says about Patrick:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 30 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45

Scouts will often say that guys who hit find their way to the big leagues. The way Mazeika has swung the bat, first during three years at Stetson and thus far since he joined the Mets organization, he looks like he could hit his way up to New York.

A left-handed hitter with a very strong approach, Mazeika has walked nearly as often as he struck out during his pro career. While he does have some extra-base ability, he’s not likely to be a huge over-the-fence power guy, so the Mets would like to see him use the whole field more consistently. Mazeika’s defense behind the plate remains a work in progress, both his fringy arm — an elbow injury that delayed his full-season debut by a month didn’t help — and his overall receving skills. He has made some strides, but he still has a ways to go.

Mazeika has played first base in the past but doesn’t really have the power profile for the position. He’ll continue to focus on getting better behind the plate, though he’s always likely to be a bat-first catcher should he be able to stick there.

It’s true that he can hit:

  • 2015, Kingsport, Appy League: 354/451/540 in 226 AB, 24/26 BB/K- ATVL’s Rookie Level hitter of the year
  • 2016, Columbia, South Atlantic League: 305/422/402 in 239 AB, 38/39 BB/K
  • 2017, St.Lucie, Florida State League: 287/391/406 in 352 AB, 48/53 BB/K
  • 2017, Binghamton, Eastern League: 333/391/571 in only 6 games

I would expect Patrick to start 2018 in Double-A Binghamton, with a good chance to both move up to Triple-A and/or make the major leagues!

Patrick Mazeika NY Mets

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

Minor League Record Book: Walks in a Season

Next up: walks in one minor league season. You’ll see some new names on here, Brilliant Reader!

1 Sherman Johnson Covington ’09-10 2015 89
2 Sherman Johnson Covington ’09-10 2014 88
3 AJ Kirby-Jones Waynesboro ’09 2012 86
4 Tyler White Haymarket ’10 2015 84
5 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 2011 79
Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2012 79
Joey Butler New Market ’06 2012 79
Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 2013 79
9 Rob Kral Waynesboro ’09 2013 78
10 Sherman Johnson Covington ’09-10 2016 74

The name here, of course, is Sherman Johnson. Sherman is on this list three times, for the seasons 2014-2016. His plate discipline has earned him a spot on some prospect lists in past years, but he’s coming up on his age-28 season, so he’s not considered a “prospect” anymore. I really think he can help a major league team, though!

Johnson, Tyler White, Joey Butler (free agent), and Ryan Schimpf are all still active.

1 Gary Jones Waynesboro ’82 1984 138
2 Gary Jones Waynesboro ’82 1986 128
3 Gary Jones Waynesboro ’82 1983 126
4 Gary Jones Waynesboro ’82 1987 123
5 Gene Richards 1975 116
6 Billy Sample Harrisonburg ’75 1978 109
7 Frank Menechino Harrisonburg ’92 1997 105
8 Jeff Manto Front Royal 1987 102
Shawn Fagan Front Royal 2002 102
10 Frank Menechino Harrisonburg ’92 1995 96
11 Dan Pasqua New Market ’81 1984 95
12 Cliff Pennington Harrisonburg 2008 93
13 Mark Davidson Winchester ’82 1985 92
14 Lauro Felix Harrisonburg ’91 1996 92
15 Gene Richards 1976 91
Jeff Manto Front Royal 1989 91
17 David Eckstein Harrisonburg 1999 89
Sherman Johnson Covington ’09-10 2015 89
19 Sherman Johnson Covington ’09-10 2014 88
20 David Eckstein Harrisonburg 1998 87

Welcome to the Gary Jones list! Holding down the top four spots is pretty significant. Jones has to have one of the most interesting minor league stat lines for players who never reached the major leagues. In 8 minor league seasons, Gary hit 283/437/370, with 783 walks to only 542 strikeouts. He topped out in Triple-A. But, he’s been the Chicago Cubs’ third base coach the past couple years, so that’s pretty cool. Will he get a managing gig someday?

Gene Richards, Frank Menechino, Jeff Manto, Sherman Johnson, and David Eckstein all appear twice. And there’s Cliff Pennington at #12, currently a free agent at the major league level.

Minor League Record Book: RBIs In a Season

Our next category in the minor league record book, both 2006-2017 and all-time, is RBIs in one season.

1 Dalton Hicks Luray ’09 2013 110
2 Jonathan Griffin Luray ’10 2012 102
3 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2011 100
Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10 2014 100
5 Tyler White Haymarket ’10 2015 99
6 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2010 98
Mickey Wiswall Winchester ’08 2012 98
8 Rebel Ridling Covington ’06 2009 97
9 Michael Snyder Haymarket ’11 2013 92
10 Ryan McBroom Haymarket ’11-’12 2015 90

Only one repeater on this list- the newly-retired Clint Robinson. Four players topped the century mark, in four successive seasons. Flores, White, and McBroom are the players still active.

1 Joe Koshansky Staunton ’02-03 2008 121
2 Christopher Carter Waynesboro ’01 2005 115
Joe Koshansky Staunton ’02-03 2005 115
4 T.R. Marcinczyk Staunton 1999 111
5 Dalton Hicks Luray ’09 2013 110
6 Joe Koshansky Staunton ’02-03 2006 109
Nick Stavinoha Front Royal ’03 2011 109
8 Mark Davidson Winchester ’82 1985 106
9 Jonathan Griffin Luray ’10 2012 102
10 Jeff Manto Front Royal 1988 101
Ben Harrison Harrisonburg ’01 2006 101
12 Jeff Manto Front Royal 1994 100
Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2011 100
Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10 2014 100
15 Billy Sample Harrisonburg ’75 1978 99
Mike Lowell Waynesboro ’93 1998 99
Luis Lopez Winchester ’92-3 1997 99
Stephen Smitherman Winchester ’98-9 2002 99
Ryan Shealy Harrisonburg ’99 2004 99
Joe Koshansky Staunton ’02-03 2007 99
Tyler White Haymarket ’10 2015 99

Joe Koshansky is on this list four times, and three of the top seven! Jeff Manto appears twice as well.

In 2008, Koshansky was in Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies’ system. He hit 300/380/600, with 90 runs, 137 hits, 36 doubles, 4 triples, and 31 home runs. He drove in 121 runs in 137 hits?!?

4 Added to 40-Man; 1 Released

With the Rule 5 draft coming up on December 14th, major league teams are filling out their 40-man rosters to protect the prospects they see a use for in the future. (Players can not be called up to the major leagues unless they are on the 40-man, so it is actually a very big hurdle to overcome for prospects.)

According to wikipedia (I know, I know), here are the rules for eligible players:

Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization’s 40-man roster and:

  • were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming; or
  • were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming.

FOUR former Valley Leaguers were added to their team’s 40-man roster over the past couple weeks, making them ineligible for the draft, but also means they could make the majors much easier:

Two players are newly-eligible for the draft but were NOT added to the 40-man (there are others, too):

ATVL will be watching to see if either of these guys, or any other VBLers, of course, are selected in any phase of the draft.

Also, one player has been released by his organization:

  • Jordan DeLorenzo (Front Royal 2013). Jordan was awesome for the Cards in ’13; he went 4-3, 1.69 in 8 starts, with a 0.82 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, and 9.8 K/9. ATVL named his the 2nd best starter in the league that year. Jordan was drafted in 2014 by St. Louis, and appeared in 40 minor league games over the last 4 years (he struggled with injuries).

How Did Our AFL Guys Do?

Can you believe, Dear Reader, that the Arizona Fall League has concluded already?

Well, it’s an honor to be selected to play there, so let’s look at how the three former Valley Leaguers pitched (because all three are hurlers).

  • Max Povse (Staunton 2013) started 6 games for Peoria, and went 1-2, 4.56, with 28 hits, 6 walks, and 25 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings pitched. I can’t help but wonder if he was auditioning for a starting job with the 2018 Seattle Mariners… right now, has Max listed at #7 for the rotation (2nd in AAA, with a mid-2018 ETA).
  • Tyler Cyr (Waynesboro 2014) pitched in 8 games for Scottsdale, and was also named to the all-star team. He went 0-1, 5.63 in 8 innings, with 8 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts.
  • Ryan Meisinger (Staunton 2014) was assigned to Salt River after the season started. He appeared in 6 games, going 1-0, 0.00 in 6 innings, while allowing 1 hit, 2 unearned runs, 0 walks, and 0 strikeouts. It’s a little odd that he didn’t walk or strike out anyone.