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…)
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….
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 playing for Hagerstown
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)
Milb.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.)
One of the great things for me to watch when I go to Valley League games is the way young fans enjoy the game and the players. Valley League players, since they are in college, are pretty open to talking to fans, especially “little” ones.
But that can carry on, too. A few years ago, I went to a minor league game in Williamsport, and spent some time chatting with Daniel Morales, a former Harrisonburg Turk (in 2006).
Ethan Carper, and his dad, Matt, have had that kind of summer. Ethan was featured in a News-Leader article earlier this summer here, and is a huge Staunton Braves fan.) They’ve been traveling, visiting different minor league parks, and checking in with former Valley Leaguers along the way. Matt’s been sending me pictures along the way….
Harrison Cooney (Front Royal 2012)
Jonathan Pryor (Harrisonburg 2016)
Logan Boyd (Charles Town 2013)
Matt Rose (Harrisonburg 2014)
Ryan McBroom (Haymarket 2011-12)
Irving Lopez (Staunton 2016)
Tyler Zombro (Staunton 2014)
I love that all these young men took the time to pose with Ethan, and perhaps have a short conversation with him! This is what baseball looks like.
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.