Lewis Traded to Arizona

In the recent transactions department, a former Valley Leaguer has been traded from the Kansas City Royals organization to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Sam Lewis, best known in the Valley for playing for Woodstock in 2011, was traded for outfielder Peter O’Brien. Lewis was a nondrafted free agent signee of the Royals in 2012. Over 4 minor league seasons, he went a total of 13-6, 2.92, with a 1.103 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, and 8.5 K/9 in 129 2/3 innings pitched. He reached high-A Wilmington in 2016.

The website “Last Word on Baseball” said this about Sam:

Lewis split the past season between Rookie Ball in Idaho Falls, Single-A Lexington, and High-A Wilmington. The 25 year-old right-hander posted a cumulative 1.62 ERA with a 39/7 K/BB ratio in 44 1/3 innings over three starts and 17 relief appearances. Lewis doesn’t appear to be anything more than an organizational player, or at best, a reliever.

Well, let’s see how things go in Arizona’s system!



2015 Rookie Pitcher of the Year

Photo by Ken Pullen

Photo by Ken Pullen

The 2015 rookie level pitcher of the year is Keegan Long (Front Royal 2014)!

Keegan dominated the Pioneer League for Missoula, going 2-0, 0.67, with 2 saves in 23 games and 26 2/3 innings pitched, along with a 0.79 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, and 12.1 K/9. The 29th round pick in the 2015 draft of the Diamondbacks was also named the #1 starter in the 2014 Valley League season.

Others to Consider

Heath Slatton (Staunton 2014): 3-1, 0.79, 8 saves, 0.84 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 9.5 K/9 in 22 2/3 innings for the Giants’ Arizona League team

Chad Martin (Aldie 2014): 1-0, 2.61, 1.24 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 6.2 K/9 in 38 innings in the GCL (Yankees)

Mike Estevez (Charles Town 2013): 3-0, 1.38, 9 saves, 1.19 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 11.1 K/9 in 26 innings in GCL (Blue Jays)

Brandon Glazer (Waynesboro 2013): 2-4, 3.62, 1.10 WHIP, 0.6 BB/9, 5.0 K/9 in 44 2/3 innings in Arizona League  (Angels)

Logan Longwith (Front Royal 2014-15): 2-1, 2.42, 5 saves, 0.88 WHIP, 0.4 BB/9, 8.3 K/9 in 26 innings in GCL (Tigers)



2015 Double-A Hitter of the Year

2014 Winner: Cory Spangenberg (Winchester 2010)

2015 Winner: Chad Oberacker (Fauquier 2009)

Chad Oberacker Midland 2015In a photo finish, our award shall be presented to Chad Oberacker, who plied his trade in Oakland’s system at Double-A Midland in 2015. The 25th round draft pick in 2011 hit 294/360/425 in 101 games and 395 at-bats. He scored 69 runs, drove in 44, hit 27 doubles, 5 triples, 5 home runs, stole 19 bases, and finished with a 42/74 BB/K ratio.

Chad was exposed to the Rule 5 draft in the offseason, and was scarfed up by the Arizona Diamondbacks. By the way, Chad is one of the last players left in pro ball from the Fauquier Gators.

Others to Consider

Ryan Schimpf (Luray 2008): 271/378/581 in 258 at-bats, 20 doubles, 20 home runs for New Hampshire. Ryan finished a very close second to Oberacker.

Mac Williamson (Harrisonburg 2011): 293/366/429 in 259 at-bats, 16 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs for Richmond

Tyler Bortnick (Front Royal 2006): 275/356/360 in 222 at-bats, 11 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, 12 stolen bases for Jackson

Sean Jamieson (Front Royal 2010): 272/376/381 in 294 at-bats, 14 doubles, 6 home runs, 10 stolen bases for Mobile

Tyler White (Haymarket 2010): 284/415/426 in 190 at-bats, 6 doubles, 7 home runs, 42/35 BB/K ratio for Corpus Christi

Olivera, Morozowski, and Bennie….

The first weeks of school, along with a new schedule, heavy workloads, and a new basketball season (coaching), can put a really large damper on my posting time.

However, here are three stories about former Valley Leaguers who are putting up big numbers in the minor leagues!

  • Joe Bennie (Strasburg 2011) went on an unholy tear starting August 1st, hitting a home run in 4 straight, and 8
    Joe Bennie takes a hack

    Joe Bennie takes a hack

    of 9 games. Josh Jackson covered him with an article on milb.com, including this quote from Joe:

“I’ve never hit eight home runs in a season — going back through college, high school, Little League, never — so to hit eight in nine days, it’s something I’ll always remember,” he said. “It’s just clicking in my approach in what I’ve been looking for, being on time and ready to hit. I think it’s finally being a professional hitter.”

Bennie is hitting 266/362/429 in 403 at-bats, along with 29 doubles, 2 triples, and 11 home runs this season.

  • Orlando Olivera (Luray 2011-12) was the 1151st overall draft pick this June, in the 38th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s done nothing but rake in the pros, though, putting up a combined 347/400/556 stat line at two different levels. He has 8 doubles, 6 home runs, and 30 RBIs in only 33 games!
  • Jason Morozowski (Staunton 2013) was a 13th round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks this June after a standout career at Mount Olive. He was just named the Pioneer League hitter of the week by milb.com, after putting up a 409/435/864 week! This is what Sam Dykstra wrote about Jason:

Morozowski jumped onto the D-backs’ radar after producing a .424/.481/.790 line with 21 homers and 82 RBIs in 55 games at the University of Mount Olive, a Division II school in North Carolina, this spring and Arizona was able to grab him with their 13th-round pick in June. The 21-year-old, right-handed-hitting outfielder hasn’t been able to replicate those absurd numbers entirely in the pros, but he’s certainly held his own in the Pioneer League, where he had a .305/.387/.494 line in 45 games. He broke out in the power department last week with three homers after entering the week with only one in his first 40 games with the Osprey.

Congratulations to all three players!

All the Latest Transactions

Let’s take a look at transactions through December 23:

The Boston Red Sox signed Jorge Marban (Winchester 2009). Jorge was a free agent signee of the Texas Rangers in 2010, but was released after the 2011 season. He has toiled in the Indy Leagues since then. Jorge will hopefully make a full-season minor league team out of spring training this spring.

The Toronto Blue Jays signed Greg Burke (Front Royal 2001). Burke was a minor league free agent who last pitched in the majors in 2013 with the New York Mets.

The Washington Nationals signed Clint Robinson (Harrisonburg 2005-06). A lowly 25th round draft pick in the 2007 draft out of Troy, Clint has done nothing but rake in the minors. He has received two “cups of coffee” in the majors; one with the Royals in 2012, and just last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Arizona Diamondbacks released Jake Roberts (Harrisonburg 2012). Jake was a free agent signee in late 2013, and threw 25 innings for the ‘Backs in 2014.

The Atlanta Braves released Zach Jadofsky (Woodstock 2011). Zach threw for 4 seasons in the Braves’ minor league system. He went 10-9, 4.62 in 175 1/3 innings pitched.

The Houston Astros released Pat Christensen (Harrisonburg 2011). Pat has actually been very good i nthe minors since being drafted in the 27th round in 2013. He’s gone 6-3, 3.53, with 84 strikeouts in only 81 2/3 innings.

The Milwaukee Brewers signed Ben Guez (Covington 2006), and released Andy Moye (Luray 2009). Guez was a minor league free agent who played for Toledo in Triple-A the last three years. Moye had some arm trouble last year for Double-A Huntsville, and ultimately played for four seasons in the minors.

The Texas Rangers signed Antoan Richardson (Winchester 2003). Antoan got to watch the Derek Jeter sendoff in New York last September. He also got 4 major league at-bats for the Atlanta Braves back in 2011. His Strat-O-Matic card may be quite good in 2014…

The Houston Astros grabbed Will Harris (Staunton 2003) off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Will has a real chance to help the Astros in 2015; he has a 9.7 K/9 in 99 major league innings. He misses bats!

Flores Named Arizona Organization All-Star

Rudy Flores Visalia 2014Rudy Flores (Haymarket 2010) is the latest Valley League alum to be named an organizational All-Star!

This is what milb.com’s Sam Dykstra wrote about the first baseman:

First baseman — Rudy Flores, Visalia (132 games):  After being taken by the D-backs in the 21st round of the 2012 Draft out of Florida International University, Flores showed nice pop in his first full season at Class A South Bend in 2013, producing an .865 OPS with 19 homers and 64 RBIs. He took his power to a new level by leading the organization in homers (28) and RBIs (100) while producing a .301/.354/.528 line for the Rawhide. He was especially good in the second half, when he had a .349/.398/.628 line with 18 homers and 57 RBIs in 67 games. His Cal League-leading 189 strikeouts could be an issue as he climbs the chain, however.

Rudy tore a hole in the Valley League when he played for Haymarket- he was incredibly difficult to get out back in 2010. Congratulations on the award, Rudy!

McQuail Hits Three Home Runs

Steve McQuail 09-03-2014 3 home runsThe name Steve McQuail should be a familiar one to Valley League fans- or at least to fans who have been around for five years or more.

Back in 2009, McQuail played for Front Royal, and put on an amazing display of power throughout the summer, ending up with 16 home runs in 42 games (along with 14 doubles), and even winning the home run derby, held that year at Woodstock. Baseball America named him the 5th best prospect in the league, and ATVL named him the top hitter.

Steve was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 30th round of the 2010 draft, but they released him after two seasons in short season ball.

But he didn’t give up. Steve played in the Frontier League in both 2012 and 2013, and then was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014. He’s played in Low-A South Bend, Triple-A Reno, and High-A Visalia this year. Combined in the three stops, he hit 253/308/487 in 304 at-bats.

The big news, however, is what he did on Wednesday, in game one of the California League playoffs. Steve unloaded on Stockton, going 4-5, with 3 home runs and 5 RBIs.

Visalia won easily, 13-3, thanks to McQuail and a couple other former Valley Leaguers- Rudy Flores (Haymarket 2010) drove in 4 runs with a double and home run, and Brandon Sinnery (Winchester 2009) earned the win with 6 solid innings pitched.

Way to go, Steve and the Valley League!