MiLB Photos of the Week

Each week, MiLB.com posts a collection of cool photos from around the minor leagues. This week, former Wayneboro General Michael Brosseau (2015) was the subject of two photos- both taken by Steve Roberts/Bowling Green Hot Rods.

By the way, Michael has just been called up to Charlotte of the Florida State League- he played in his first game there last night.

Michael Brosseau Bowling Green Aug 3 2017Michael Brosseau Bowling Green Aug 4 2017

Yarbrough Named Pitcher of the Week

Ryan Yarbrough Durham 2017The Valley League has quite a number of pitchers performing well at the upper-most levels of the minor leagues, just waiting for the call to the Show.

Kevin Herget (Strasburg 2012), Sam Howard (Staunton 2012), Chad Huffman (Staunton 2012-13), and Austin Gomber (Luray 2012) come immediately to mind.

There’s one more, of course, and he’s been pitching so well lately that he’s been named the International League’s pitcher of the week for July 31-August 6. That’s Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012), who went 2-0, 0.00 over 13 2/3 innings, with only 4 hits allowed, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts for Triple-A Durham. Overall, Ryan is 12-5, 3.27, with a 1.14 WHIP over 135 innings in 2017. He’s allowed 114 hits, 35 walks, and struck out 131 batters.

I would be surprised if Ryan doesn’t get the call sometime between now and the end of the major league season. Perhaps he’ll help with the Tampa Bay push for a playoff spot….

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.

Almonte, Rinn, Ratliff Named All-Stars

The Northwest League will send their best to play an All-Star game against the best from the Pioneer League on August 1st, and three former Valley Leaguers will be there.

Two players, Abraham Almonte (Strasburg 2016) and Robby Rinn (Aldie 2013), will represent the Pioneer League, while Tyler Ratliff (Purcellville 2016-17) will be there from the Northwest League.

Their stats through July 26th:

  • Almonte is 0-0, 1.74, with 5 saves and 16 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings pitched for Missoula.
  • Rinn is hitting 365/456/518 in 34 games and 137 at-bats for Idaho Falls.
  • Ratliff is hitting 250/308/375 in 72 at-bats for Spokane, after hitting 500/541/618 in 34 at-bats in the Arizona League.

Congrats to all three!

The Ridiculousness That is Mike O’Reilly

Mike O'Reilly Peoria 2017

Mike O’Reilly pitched in Woodstock back in 2014. He was very good in the VBL as a rising sophomore- in fact, ATVL named him the 10th best starter in the league.

Picked in the 27th round of the 2016 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Mike was sent to the Gulf Coast League, where he pitched very well. He finished 3-1, 2.48 in 40 innings, with 35 hits allowed, only 5 walks, and 38 strikeouts. He was a finalist for ATVL’s short season pitcher of the year award (which went to Jordan DeLorenzo (Front Royal 13)).

Mike was assigned to low-A Peoria of the Midwest League to start 2017, and what he’s done so far this season is almost off the charts. At this point, after his incredible start on Monday night (July 10), Mike has 3 of the top 4 minor league starts by all Valley League alumni all season. Let’s take a look:

  • July 10, game score of 104: complete game shutout, 1 hit, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts
  • May 20, game score of 96: 8 1/3 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
  • June 7, game score of 91: complete game shutout, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Overall, he’s 8-2, 1.56, with a 0.67 WHIP in 80 2/3 innings. He’s allowed 44 hits, 10 walks, and struck out 79. That’s juuuust about an 8-to-1 K-to-BB ratio.

Baseball America has mentioned Mike a couple times, and they make sure to say that Mike doesn’t have the best “stuff” in the system, as he works 88-90 with his fastball. To be sure, Mike has a long way to go, but we just can’t argue with these results.

I would expect Mike to make the jump to High-A very soon, as he honestly doesn’t have anything left to prove at the Low-A level.

Mike O'Reilly Peoria July 10 2017

 

Four Pitchers off to Great Starts

As I did a few days go with four batters off to hot pro starts, let’s take a look at four pitchers who have done the same!

  • Abraham Almonte (Strasburg 16) was drafted in the 26th round this June by the Arizona Diamondbacks, after wowing the Valley League with strikeouts out of the bullpen for the Express last summer. He’s pitched in 5 games so far for Missoula in the Pioneer League, and is 0-0, 0.00, with 2 hits, 0 walks, and 8 strikeouts in 5 innings (and 3 saves).
  • Garrett Cave (Staunton 15) was nabbed in the 4th round by the Giants. He’s 0-0, 0.00 after appearing in 3 games, with 2 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts in 4 innings (1 save). He was assigned to Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League.
  • Reed Hayes is in the Orioles’ system after being picked in the 13th inning out of Vanderbilt. They sent the 2015 Staunton Brave to Aberdeen of the New York-Penn League, where he is 1-0, 0.00, with 2 hits, 0 walks, and 3 strikeouts in 3 innings (2 saves, too).
  • Walter Borkovich (Staunton 15) was signed as an undrafted free agent in June by the Braves. Assigned to the Gulf Coast League, Walter has thrown 4 shutout innings while allowing 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout.

Keep it up, guys!

Abraham Almonte Philly U

Almonte

Garrett Cave Tampa 2017

Cave

Reed Hayes Vandy 2017

Hayes

Walter Borkovich MSU

Borkovich