Update on Major League Pitchers

About a week ago, we took a look at all major league hitters who have a background in the Valley League. Today, let’s take a look at the pitchers! (Stats through May 10)

  1. Like we start the hitters with Daniel Murphy, we start the pitchers with Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011). Chris has been well-nigh unhittable for the Astros in 2017. He’s 2-2, 2.14, with 2 saves, 10 hits, 3 walks, and 38 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched. His WHIP is 0.619, BB/9 is 1.3, and his K/9 is an amazing 16.3. His ERA actually reflects some bad luck- Chris’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is 1.68.
  2. Let’s stick with Houston’s bullpen, and turn our attention to Will Harris (Staunton 2003). Will has also been superb, as he’s 1-0, 1.17, with 1 save, 14 hits, 2 walks, and 15 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. His WHIP is 0.97, BB/9 is 0.6, and his K/9 is 7.5. No wonder the Astros are 22-11 so far!
  3. Robby Scott (Covington 2010) has pitched in 15 games for the Red Sox, but has amassed only 8 2/3 innings. He’s 0-0, 1.04, with 4 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. If he can reliably retire lefties, he may be in the show for a long time!
  4. Speaking of lefty specialists, here is Josh Edgin (Winchester 2007)! Josh’s numbers are about as good as Scott’s; he’s 0-1, 1.98, with 1 save, and a 1.02 WHIP for the Mets.
  5. Brad Ziegler (New Market 2000), pitching in his 10th major league season (this one for the Marlins), has scuffled a bit to start 2017. He’s 1-2, 4.50, with a 1.57 WHIP. Brad’s FIP is 3.51, so expect things to improve.
  6. Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012) has been in Pittsburgh’s rotation all season so far. After 7 times through the rotation, Chad is 1-3, 5.81, with a 1.61 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, and 7.3 K/9. His BB/9 is up from last year, but so is his K/9. Hopefully he gets a full year in Pittsburgh!
  7. Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008) is on the 60-day disabled list for the Red Sox. He hasn’t pitched yet this year.
  8. Adam Liberatore (Waynesboro 2007-08) has been up and down from the Dodgers a couple times this year. He’s appeared in 2 games, and has given up an earned run in 1 1/3 innings.
  9. Emilio Pagan (Harrisonburg 2010) made two appearances for the Mariners before being returned to Triple-A Tacoma. He went 0-1, 16.88 in 2 2/3 innings.
  10. Drew Rucinski (Luray 2009-10) appeared in only one game for the Twins before being sent back down. He threw 3 1/3 innings and gave up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 5.
Will Harris Houston

Will Harris letting out some emotion


17 VBLers Make Opening Day Rosters

It’s that time of year again- when ATVL combs through all the opening day rosters for the former Valley Leaguers that “went north” with the big league club.

This year, 14 players have made the active roster, while 3 more were added to the disabled list, but will most likely play in the majors when they return.

The 14….

  • Robby Scott (Covington 2010), Boston Red Sox bullpen
  • Will Harris (Staunton 2003), Houston Astros bullpen
  • Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011), Houston Astros bullpen
  • Cliff Pennington (Harrisonburg 2003), bench player for Los Angeles Angels
  • Brett Gardner (New Market 2003-04), starting left fielder for the New York Yankees
  • Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006), platoon first baseman for Oakland A’s
  • Jon Jay (Staunton 2004), bench outfielder for Chicago Cubs
  • Tommy LaStella (Haymarket 2009), bench infielder for Chicago Cubs
  • Stephen Cardullo (Covington 2007), bench player for Colorado Rockies
  • Brad Ziegler (New Market 2000), setup man for Miami Marlins
  • Josh Edgin (Winchester 2007), New York Mets bullpen
  • Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012), listed as the Pittsburgh Pirates 3rd starter (the first VBL alum to win a rotation spot out of spring training since Brandon Beachy (Woodstock 2008) in 2011, I believe)
  • Ryan Schmipf (Luray 2008), starting third baseman for the San Diego Padres (Cory Spangenberg (Winchester 2010) was sent to AAA)
  • Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05), starting second baseman for the Washington Nationals

These 3 are on the disabled list…

  • Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008), Boston bullpen (shoulder impingement)
  • Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-07), usually the starting second baseman for the Cleveland Indians (shoulder inflammation)
  • Mac Williamson (Harrisonburg 2011), platoon outfielder for the San Francisco Giants (strained quad)

Two more were sent to the minors, much to my surprise (and annoyance):

2016 Triple-A Pitcher of the Year

chad-kuhl-pirates-headshotIn our last entry for the minor league players of the year series, we have Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012), the Triple-A pitcher of the year for 2016!

This is Chad’s third award in this series, by the way. He was the Double-A pitcher of the year in 2015, and the full season A pitcher of the year in 2014. Is it any surprise that he made his major league debut in 2016, and acquitted himself well at the highest level? No, it’s not.

For Triple-A Indianapolis in the International League in ’16, Chad went 6-3, 2.37 in 16 starts and 83 2/3 innings. His WHIP was 1.16, BB/9 was a minuscule 1.7, and his K/9 finished at 7.1. Chad was then called up by the Pirates, and 14 more starts at the major league level.

A 9th round draft pick in 2013, Kuhl has pitched well at every level since signing. Over four minor league seasons at four different levels and 83 starts, Chad has gone 33-17, 2.75, with a 1.15 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, and 6.1 K/9 covering 445 innings.

Chad is very clearly a success story from the Valley!

Past Winners:

2015- Scott Copeland (Staunton 2007), Buffalo
2014- Adam Liberatore (Waynesboro 2007-08), Durham

Others to Consider:

  • Scott Copeland (Staunton 2007), Buffalo- 3-4, 3.04, 1.23 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 5.9 K/9 in 50 1/3 IP
  • Alex Wimmers (Luray 2008), Rochester- 2-1, 3.62, 1.33 WHIP, 4.4 BB/9, 9.1 K/9 in 49 2/3 IP
  • Robby Scott (Covington 2010), Pawtucket- 4-3, 2.54, 0.91 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 8.4 K/9 in 78 IP

Next up- major league players of the year!

Chad Kuhl 06_26_2016 MLB Debut

Kuhl Makes Major League Debut!

Sometimes major league transactions sneak up on us; other times, we know well in advance. This is one that we’ve known about for about half a week, thanks to Facebook, of course. The news? Chad Kuhl made his major league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday night against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers!

Chad pitched in New Market only four short years ago- in 2012. The student athlete at Delaware was chosen by the Bucs in the 9th round of the 2013 draft. Assigned to Jamestown of the New York-Penn League after the draft, he immediately started dominating, finishing 3-4, 2.11, with a 1.07 WHIP, and only 6 walks in 55 1/3 innings.

Aggressively assigned to Bradenton of the Florida State League in 2014, Chad finished 13-5, 2.46, with a 1.19 WHIP in 153 1/3 innings. He again moved up a level to start 2015, and went 11-5, 2.48, with a 1.14 WHIP in 152 2/3 innings in Double-A Altoona.

Moved up to Triple-A Indianapolis to start 2016, Chad went 6-2, 2.58, with a 1.19 WHIP and only 16 walks in 76 2/3 innings. And now, of course, he has been moved up to Pittsburgh!

His parents and what appears to be his brother were at the game cheering him on. In 5 innings of work, Chad allowed 4 hits, 4 walks, 3 earned runs, and struck out 5. He received the win for his efforts. He also had a fascinating at-bat (his only one) in which he battled Kershaw, the best pitcher in the major leagues right now, fouling off several pitches before striking out. No one knows if this is just a spot start, or if Chad will get another start in a few days.

The list just keeps getting bigger! In making his MLB debut, Chad joins Tyler White (Haymarket 2010), Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011), Ashur Tolliver (Harrisonburg 2007), and Ryan Schimpf (Luray 2008) as Valley League alumni to make the bigs this season.

Congratulations, Chad!

Chad Kuhl 06_26_2016 MLB Debut


Chad Kuhl Off to Dominating Start

After yet another dominating start by Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012) Wednesday night, it’s time to take a look at his 2016 season thus far.

The former Rebel has started 6 games for Triple-A Indianapolis, Pittsburgh’s International League affiliate. Overall, he’s 2-0, 1.10, while allowing 21 hits, 8 walks, and striking out 24 in 32 2/3 innings. Including his 6 shutout innings last night, he’s avoided allowing even one run in half of his starts. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.887, his BB/9 is 2.2, and his K/9 is 6.7.

Chad is in a super high powered rotation just one step away from the majors; he shares starting duties with top prospects Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, Steven Brault, and Wilfredo Boscan. All of them have ERAs 2.70 or lower. It will be fascinating to see what Pittsburgh will do with all of these pitchers throughout 2016!

Keep it up, Chad!

Chad Kuhl 5-11-2016 Indianapolis

Four Great Starts

On Friday and Saturday, four former Valley Leaguers started a game on the mound, and recorded a game score of 69 or better. To make it even more fun, the four games were on four different levels. From top to bottom:

  • Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012), pitching for Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system, threw 6 shutout innings on Saturday against Norfolk. His team went on to lose the game, but Chad did all he could, putting up a game score of 69. In those 6 innings, he allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 3. For the season so far, Chad is 2-0, 1.31, with 15 hits, 4 walks, and 17 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings pitched. Call him up!
  •  The best start of the four was turned in by Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012), who threw 7 shutout innings for Double-A Jackson, of the Seattle Mariners’ system (on Star Wars night!). Ryan allowed 3 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 4, to earn a game score of 73. Ryan is now 1-1, 3.04 on the season, with 22 hits, 11 walks, and 23 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Luke Leftwich (Aldie 2013) continued his strikeout tear for Low-A Lakewood (Phillies’ affiliate), which his dominating performance over Greenville on Friday. Luke finished 6 innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and struck out 11 to earn a game score of 70. For the season, Luke is 1-1, 3.00, with 29 strikeouts in only 18 innings!
  • Also on Friday, Brandon Gold (Harrisonburg 2014) turned in a masterful performance for Georgia Tech, as they defeated #15 Coastal Carolina, 9-1. Brandon threw 8 innings and allowed only 6 hits, 2 walks, 1 earned run, and struck out 5 for a game score of 69. By ERA, Brandon has been the best Yellow Jacket by a pretty fair margin this year. The junior is 5-2, 2.36, with 70 hits, 20 walks, and 59 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings.

Congrats to all four pitchers!

Brandon Gold (Aaron Fitt)

Brandon Gold (Aaron Fitt)

What a Night!

It’s probably not a surprise to some of you, but I take the time to check out every minor league start by a former Valley League pitcher. And I check all the major league boxscores, and I watch transactions, and… well, good enough.

Last night (Wednesday, April 20), five pitchers with ties to the Valley League made starts in the minor leagues, and in all my years of following every day, I haven’t seen a night where, as a whole, they pitched so well.

Here are the five:

  • Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012), for Triple-A Indianapolis: 5 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, a win, game score of 67.
  • Drew Rucinski (Luray 2009-10), for Triple-A Iowa: 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts, game score of 62.
  • Sam Howard (Staunton 2012), for High-A Modesto: 5 2/3 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, game score of 68.
  • Max Povse (Staunton 2013), for High-A Carolina: 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, loss, game score of 48.
  • Austin Gomber (Luray 2012), for High-A Palm Beach: 6 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts, win, game score of 67.


So, combined: 29 1/3 innings, 22 hits, 5 earned runs, 7 walks, 29 strikeouts, 2 wins, 1 loss, 1.54 ERA, 0.9898 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, averaged game score of 62.4.