Three Named Top College Prospects

Back on January 6, Baseball America posted a list of the top 100 college prospects for the 2017 draft. As usual, ATVL scoured the list looking for former Valley League players. This year, three players are listed:

  • Michael Gigliotti, Lipscomb (Covington 2015) is listed at #14. Over his freshman and sophomore years at Lipscomb, Michael has hit 320/408/454 in 425 at-bats, along with a 56/66 BB/K ratio. He hit 280/349/320 in 75 at-bats in ’15 for the ‘Jacks.
  • Nate Pearson, JC of Central Florida (Staunton 2016) is listed at #41. The hulking righthander (he’s 6-foot-6) pitched in one game for the Braves last summer.
  • Garrett Cave, Tampa (Staunton 2015) is listed at #56. Garrett transferred to D-II Tampa for 2017 after two years at Florida International. He pitched in 14 games for the ’15 Braves, finishing 1-0, 4.34, with 1 save, 27 walks and 37 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched.

Hopefully all three will be drafted this coming June!

Michael Gigliotti

Michael Gigliotti


Top Prospects in the 2016 VBL Season?

I’m tempted, sometimes, to write titles like, “You’ll Never Believe Who Was Chosen As Top Prospects!” as click bait. Well, I think we can believe it, so it doesn’t really fit.

What I do have for you, of course, is two lists of top prospects in the 2016 season- one from Baseball America, and one from Perfect Game. Then I have the totals by team, and any player that was listed twice.

First, Baseball America’s 10:

  1. Corey Childress, rhp, Harrisonburg (Jr., Troy)
  2. Keegan James, rhp, Strasburg (So., Mississippi State)
  3. Brooks Crawford, rhp, Charlottesville (So., Clemson)
  4. Campbell Scholl, rhp, Waynesboro (Sr., Central Florida)
  5. Tanner Poole, of, Waynesboro (R-Jr., Mississippi State)
  6. Tripp Shelton, ss, Harrisonburg (Jr., UNC Greensboro)
  7. Zach Sterry, 1b/3b, Waynesboro (Sr., Oakland)
  8. Adam Sisk, of, Staunton (Jr., James Madison)
  9. Nick Ward, ss/2b, Woodstock (Jr., West Chester, Pa.)
  10. Jonathan Bowlan, rhp, New Market (So., Memphis)

Second, Perfect Game’s 20:

  1. Keegan James, rhp, Strasburg (So., Mississippi State)
  2. Tanner Poole, of, Waynesboro (Sr., Mississippi State)
  3. Zach Sterry, 1b/3b, Waynesboro (Sr., Oakland)
  4. Tyler Ratliff, inf, Purcellville (Jr., Marshall)
  5. Trevor Craport, 3b, Harrisonburg (Jr., Georgia Tech)
  6. Michael Curry, c, Strasburg (So., Georgia)
  7. Brooks Crawford, rhp, Charlottesville (So., Clemson)
  8. Will Reed, rhp, Purcellville (S0., Harford CC)
  9. Tripp Shelton, ss, Harrisonburg (Jr., UNC Greensboro)
  10. Campbell Scholl, rhp, Waynesboro (Sr., Central Florida)
  11. Blake Whitney, rhp, Front Royal (Jr., South Carolina Upstate)
  12. Carter Pharis, inf, Strasburg (So., Alabama Birmingham)
  13. Chase DeMars, 2b, New Market (Jr., South Carolina Columbia)
  14. Nick Ward, ss/2b, Woodstock (Jr., West Chester, Pa.)
  15. Corey Childress, rhp, Harrisonburg (Jr., Troy)
  16. Brandon Quaranta, inf/rhp, Strasburg (Jr., Philadelphia)
  17. Erne Valdes, lhp, Front Royal (Sr., St. Thomas)
  18. T.J. Condon, c, Waynesboro (Sr., Faulkner)
  19. Abe Almonte, lhp, Strasburg (Sr., Philadelphia)
  20. Terrell McCall, rhp, New Market (Fr., Alabama State)

By Team:

  1. Strasburg- 5
  2. Waynesboro- 4
  3. Harrisonburg, New Market- 3
  4. Purcellville, Front Royal- 2
  5. Staunton, Woodstock, Charlottesville- 1
  6. Winchester, Covington- 0

Listed On Both (BA 1st, PG 2nd):

  1. Corey Childress (1, 15)
  2. Keegan James (2, 1)
  3. Brooks Crawford (3, 7)
  4. Campbell Scholl (4, 10)
  5. Tanner Poole (5, 2)
  6. Tripp Shelton (6, 9)
  7. Zach Sterry (7, 3)
  8. Nick Ward (9, 14)

#5 Hitter: Jonathan Pryor, Harrisonburg

(Austin Bachand / DN-R)

(Austin Bachand / DN-R)

Welcome to the top five!

According to ATVL, the 5th best hitter in the 2016 Valley League season is Harrisonburg’s Jonathan Pryor, from Wake Forest!

Jonathan was a critical bat in the middle of the Turk lineup. Over 36 games and 120 at-bats, he hit 358/463/508, with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, 30 runs scored, 26 RBIs, and a stellar 24/22 BB/K ratio. He finished 3rd in the league in batting average. He went 1-3 in the all-star game (along with 2 RBIs and a walk), and went 2-8 with a double in the playoffs. The Valley League named him 1st Team All-Valley in the outfield. His best game was on June 26th against the Express, when he went 4-5, with 3 runs, a double, 3 RBIs, and a stolen base.

The current senior has seen action in three different seasons for the Demon Deacons. In 2014, as a freshman, Jonathan hit 179/200/179 in only 28 at-bats. He really took off as a sophomore, when he hit 316/366/384 in 48 games and 177 at-bats. He added 9 doubles and 1 home run, while he scored 35 runs and drove in 11. He walked 5 times that year against 40 strikeouts.

As a junior in the spring of 2016, Pryor hit 247/421/313 in 166 at-bats, with 8 doubles, 1 home run, 39 runs, 17 RBIs, and a much better 39/51 BB/K ratio. Oddly enough, Jonathan has seen action in 5 different summer leagues now. In 2014 he played in the Perfect Game and New England Collegiate Leagues. In 2015 he played in the Coastal Plain League, and in the season just concluded he played in the Valley League and joined the Cape Cod League in August.

Congratulations on your excellent summer, Jonathan!


Devenski Makes All-Rookie Team

Each year, Baseball America names an “All-Rookie” team from the major leagues. It’s been several years since the last Valley League alumnus made the list, but this year, one broke through- Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011)!

This is what the site had to say about Chris’s excellent season as a swing man for the Astros (meaning that he both started and relieved):

RP Chris Devenski • Astros

Devenski doesn’t throw 100 mph like the Mariners’ Edwin Diaz, who struck out 15.3 batter per nine innings, and he didn’t save 19 games like the Cardinals’ Seung Hwan Oh, the outstanding 34-year-old Korean import. All he did was pitch the most effectively, among rookie relievers, in the highest-leverage spots. Devenski, whom the Astros picked up in 2012 when they traded Brett Myers to the White Sox, likes to get ahead of batters with a low-90s fastball before finishing them off with either an outstanding changeup or slider, both of which sit at 80-82 mph. In his 43 relief appearances, he struck out 83 in 84 innings and recorded one save while allowing a .194 average and 0.81 WHIP.

I don’t think Chris will win the American League rookie of the year (which will most likely go to Michael Fulmer, or, God forbid, to Gary Sanchez), but he was, at least according to Baseball America, the best rookie reliever in the game!


#7 Reliever: Devin Gould, Staunton

Devin Gould Staunton 2015The 7th best reliever in the 2015 Valley League season is Staunton’s Devin Gould, from Longwood!

Devin was outstanding out of the Brave bullpen last summer, going 4-0, 1.14, with 6 saves in 13 games. In 15 2/3 innings, Devin allowed 10 hits, 6 walks, and struck out 17. His WHIP was 1.019, BB/9 at 3.4, and his K/9 sits at 9.7. He went on to register 2 saves in the playoffs, while striking out 13 batters in 9 innings.

Both of the best-known prospect lists named Devin as a top prospect in the Valley; Baseball America pegged him at #4, and Perfect Game #7.

At Longwood in 2014, as a freshman, Devin went 1-2, 3.73, with 2 saves, 20 walks, and 45 strikeouts in 41 innings. He pitched a little less in 2015, throwing 33 innings, and he went 1-0, 5.45, with 3 saves, 29 walks, and 35 strikeouts.

With his notoriety after the summer, I would expect Devin to get drafted this June!

Devin Gould cropped


#12 Starting Pitcher: Jake Perkins, Staunton

Jake Perkins ferrum 2015The Valley League’s 12th best starting pitcher in the 2015 season is no stranger to the Shenandoah Valley- it’s Jake Perkins, from Staunton and Ferrum College.

Jake had an excellent year for the Braves last summer, going 3-1, 1.79, while allowing 33 hits, 22 walks, and striking out 30 in 45 1/3 innings pitched. He finished 2nd in ERA among the pitchers surveyed for this list. His best start was on July 20th against Aldie, when he threw 7 shutout innings, allowing only 1 hit, 2 walks, and striking out 2 while earning the win.

Jake also pitched in the Valley League in 2014- but a bit farther North, as he spent the summer with the New Market Rebels. He went 2-2, 3.27 for the Rebs, with 20 walks and 27 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Jake has pitched 3 full seasons for Ferrum. As a freshman in 2013, he went 2-3, 4.06, with an excellent 75 strikeouts and 34 walks in 71 innings pitched. He was amazingly good in 2014 as a sophomore, when he went 8-1, 1.95, with only 15 walks, but a huge 85 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings pitched. The accolades rolled in post 2014. Get a load of this: he was not only USA South All-Conference 1st team, but he was also named pitcher of the year. He was named D3 Baseball All-South Region 1st team, ABCA All-South Region 1st team, VaSID State Co-Pitcher of the Year, and VaSID All-State 1st team. Wow.

He was not quite as good for Ferrum in 2015, but he still had a very good year: he went 5-1, 2.74, with 30 walks and 50 strikeouts Jake Perkins Ferrum 2014in 65 2/3 innings. He was named USA South All-Conference 2nd team for his efforts. Before the season, Baseball America got a chance to watch him pitch, and they were quite positive about his stuff and his future.

With a strong senior season, Jake has a chance to begin a professional career. Congratulations on your excellent summer, Jake!

Whither Austin Gomber?

Austin Gomber Peoria 2015I know all too well how difficult it is to make lists of top players (top 15 starting pitchers list from the 2015 Valley League season will be starting soon, by the way).

However, I’m a little frustrated with Baseball America’s exclusion of former Luray Wrangler Austin Gomber (2012) on its list of top starting pitchers in the Low-A minor leagues in 2015.

Gomber had one of the best minor league seasons by a former Valley League pitcher, in, well, ever (or at least in the last ten years). Rowdy Hardy had a knockout year in 2007, but Gomber’s 2015 is better. Austin went 15-3, 2.67, with 97 hits, 34 walks, and 140 strikeouts in 135 innings pitched for low-A Peoria in the Midwest League. He had a 0.97 WHIP, .196 batting average against, and 9.3 K/9.

BA named five starting pitchers to its list, none of which are Gomber. They usually use a combination of future potential and current performance to make their lists, but I’m finding it hard to believe that Gomber doesn’t merit recognition.

Here are the five pitchers honored:

  • Stephen Gonsalves: 6-1, 1.15, 55 IP, 29 hits, 2 HR, 15 BB, 77 K’s, .153 BA, 12.6 K/9, 0.80 WHIP
  • Brent Honeywell: 4-4, 2.91, 65 IP, 53 hits, 3 HR, 12 BB, 76 K’s, .215 BA, 10.5 K/9, 1.00 WHIP
  • Ariel Jurado: 12-1, 2.45, 99 IP, 92 hits, 5 HR, 12 BB, 95 K’s, .244 BA, 8.6 K/9, 1.05 WHIP
  • Tyler Mahle: 13-8, 2.43, 152 IP, 145 hits, 7 HR, 25 BB, 135 K’s, .248 BA, 8.0 K/9, 1.12 WHIP
  • Stephen Tarpley: 11-4, 2.48, 116 IP, 108 hits, 2 HR, 25 BB, 105 K’s, .237 BA, 8.2 K/9, 1.15 WHIP

Gomber has more wins than all five BA choices, a lower ERA than one, more innings than four, a better batting average against than four, a higher K/9 than three, and a lower WHIP than four of the top five. To be fair, he gave up more home runs than all five (he surrendered 10), and he’s only younger than Tarpley (meaning that four of the five are younger than Gomber).

There’s my case. What do you think, brilliant reader?