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

Two Named NY-Penn League All-Stars

Two former Valley Leaguers have been named to the New York-Penn League All-Star teams, released a few days ago. Both of these players were drafted in June, and are off to very good starts!

  • Ben Breazeale (Harrisonburg 2014) was named to the NYP South team. Ben was drafted in the 7th round in June, and plays for the Aberdeen Orioles. He’s hitting 361/466/521 in 144 at-bats, with 14 doubles, 3 home runs, and a solid 28/35 BB/K rate.
  • Ryan Gridley (Waynesboro 2015) was named to the North squad. Ryan was drafted this June in the 11th round by the Oakland A’s, and plays for the Vermont Lake Monsters. The Lake Monsters. Sigh. Anyway, he’s hitting 269/372/328 in 134 at-bats, with 8 doubles and a 20/18 BB/K rate.

Congrats to both!


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


Garrett Cave Tampa 2017


Reed Hayes Vandy 2017


Walter Borkovich MSU



Four Hitters off to Screaming Starts

(Not a Daniel Murphy scream, but a scorching hot start…)

  • Tyler Ratliff (Purcellville 2016-7) was drafted by Texas in the 17th round just a couple weeks ago. After signing, he was sent to the Arizona League, where he is annihilating the pitching. Overall, he’s hitting 500/541/618 in his first 34 pro at-bats, with 13 runs scored, 9 RBIs, and 4 doubles. He went 5-5 with 5 RBIs in his second game as a professional.
  • Ben Breazeale (Harrisonburg 2014) was drafted by the Orioles ten rounds before Ratliff. He’s appeared in ten games so far, and hit safely in nine of them for Aberdeen. He’s at 486/571/771, with 6 runs, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, and a 7/8 BB/K ratio. He went 4-5 just last night.
  • Robby Rinn (Aldie 2013) was drafted in 2016 by the Royals. He hit 280/341/386 in 189 at-bats in his pro debut, but has exploded in 16 games and 66 at-bats in 2017 so far. He’s at 379/468/545 for Idaho Falls, with 13 runs, 5 doubles, 2 home runs, and a whopping 21 RBIs.
  • Gabriel Garcia (Winchester 2016) had a very good pro debut in 2016, hitting 300/393/500 and being noticed by various media outlets as a prospect to watch. Now a year later, and assigned to Helena of the Pioneer League, Gabriel is hitting 308/471/481 in 15 games and 52 at-bats. He has 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 11 RBIs, and 12 walks. He’s one to watch.

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.