Minor League Record Book “Movement”

Some of you know that I spent a few weeks working on my overall list of former Valley Leaguers who have played in the major leagues, but at the same time, I was updating both the major league AND the minor league record books. And, of course, being the nerd that I am, I love to keep track of the movement throughout both the major league and minor league seasons.

So, Brilliant Reader, read on to see some movement (and some potential milestones) on the minor league record books.

  • Erik Kratz (Waynesboro 2000, Harrisonburg 2001) was drafted in 2002, so he’s slowly moving up in a couple categories.
    • Doubles. Erik started the year with 199, in 14th place. He now has 4 on theErik Kratz Columbus 2017 season, putting him at 203, and 11th all time. He passed Tony Thomas (Harrisonburg 2005), Ryan Shealy (Harrisonburg 1999), and Wes Timmons (Winchester 1998-99). Tenth place is held by Tommy Murphy (Staunton 1998), who finished with 205 career doubles.
    • Home runs. Erik started 2017 with 110, in 12th place. He now has 115, and is in 10th place. He passed Jack Voigt (Staunton) and Stephen Smitherman (Winchester 1998-99). Next up, in 9th place, is Ryan Schimpf (Luray 2008), who has 120 dingers.
    • RBI. 440 pre-season, which was out of the top 20. Erik now has 450, which is 4 RBIs away from the player at #20- Pat Watkins (Staunton).
  • Clint Robinson (Harrisonburg 2005-06) is on the leader board several times as well.
    • Runs. Clint had 534 pre-2017, and was in 19th place. He now has 545, and is in 14th place. He passed Timmons, Andy Barkett (Winchester 1992), Joe Koshansky (Staunton 2002-03), Emil Brown (Waynesboro 1994), and Watkins. Clint RobinsonNext up is Kevin Reese (Winchester 1998), who has 546 career runs.
    • Hits- 1,016, 10th place pre-2017. Clint now has 1038. He’s still in 10th place, and is 22 hits away from Murphy at #9.
    • Doubles- 238 before the season, tied for 6th place (with Jon Zuber (Harrisonburg 1991). Now 242, in 6th alone, and 7 doubles away from Barkett in 5th place.
    • Home runs- 141 preseason, tied for 6th place (with Alan Cockrell (Staunton)). Now 146, alone in 6th, but only 1 home run away from 5th place (Christopher Carter (Waynesboro 2001)).
    • RBIs- 587 preseason, in 9th place. Now with 608 (milestone!), and in 6th place, after passing Carter, Shealy, and Barkett. Next is Koshansky with 658.
    • Walks- 409 preseason, tied for 18th (with Joey Butler (New Market 2006), who is still active). Now with 418, he passed Butler and Steve Decker (Front Royal). Koshansky is in 16th place with 420.
    • Batting average- .302 preseason, tied for 12th place. Now at .299, he’s dropped into a tie for 17th place.
  • Joey Butler, as mentioned above, is on the leader board or close in several categories. He has been on the disabled list for a while, so he hasn’t moved as much as Robinson.
    • Runs- 523 pre-2017, tied for 20th place (with Louie Meadows (Staunton)). Now Joey Butlerwith 524, he’s alone in 20th, and 11 runs behind Timmons in 19th.
    • Hits- 941 through 2016, 17th place. He’s now at 946 hits, still in 17th, but 7 hits behind Reese. And 54 from 1,000!
    • 2B- 177 pre-2017, 178 now, and still 14 doubles behind 20th place (Reese and Carter).
    • HR- 90, and has not hit one yet in 2017. #20, Marshall McDougall (New Market 1998), has 92.
    • RBI- 441, now has 443, 11 from #20 (Watkins).
    • Walks- 409, tied for 18th with Robinson. Now has 410, in 18th place alone, 2 walks from Decker.
  • Rudy Flores (Haymarket 2010) entered 2017 with 83 home runs. He now has 89, and is only 3 behind McDougall for 20th place.
  • Sherman Johnson (Covington 2009-10) is nearing 20th place on two lists…
    • Triples. Sherman had 29 through 2016, and now has 30. This puts him 2 away from tying for 20th place.
    • Walks. He had 369 before the season, and he now has 390, which is only 5 away from 20th place!
  • Tyler White (Haymarket 2010) is our last hitter.
    • Batting average- started 2017 at .301, in 14th place. He’s dropped to .298, which puts him in a tie for 19th place.
  • Scott Copeland (Staunton 2007) is our first pitcher.
    • Wins- Scott had 52 pre-2017, with put him in a tie for 18th (with Mike Ballard (Staunton 2004)). He has 55 now, which puts him in a tie for 14th place (with Jamie Brewington (New Market 1992)). He passed Mike O’Connor (New Market 2001), Matt Fox (Staunton 2003), and Brandon Dickson (New Market 2006). There is a 4-way tie for #10 with 59 wins- that’s next for Scott.
    • Strikeouts- 529 pre-2017, now has 556. #20 on the list is Ralph Citarella (Staunton) with 654.
  • Stephen Kohlscheen (Harrisonburg 2010)
    • ERA- Stephen was at 3.21 pre-2017, and is now at 3.20. He hasn’t moved from #11. Colter Bean (Winchester 1997) is 10th, with an career ERA of 3.16.
  • Brad Mills (Harrisonburg 2005) deserves a mention here. He’s currently 8th in wins with 62, and 5th in strikeouts with 858, but he has not pitched yet in 2017 due to an injury.

Update on Major League Hitters

Now that we’re into May, we should take a quick look at Valley League alumni who are in the major leagues- what do you think? (Stats through Sunday, April 30th)

  1. Any discussion of major league alumni in the batter’s box needs to start with Daniel Murphy, I believe. The former Luray Wrangler (2004-5) finished 2nd in MVP voting in 2016, and he hasn’t missed a beat so far in 2017. He’s hitting 343/378/590 in 105 at-bats, with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 17 runs scored, and 26 RBIs. He’s a critical piece in the National’s thumping lineup!
  2. We’ll stick with the Wranglers for #2- Yonder Alonso (2006). Yonder is hitting 279/355/515 for the Oakland A’s, along with 4 doubles and 4 home runs in 68 at-bats. He’s scored 9 runs, driven in 14, and has a 8/17 BB/K ratio.
  3. Brett Gardner (New Market 2003-4) got off to a slow start in his age-33 season, but he’s definitely picking it up. In 73 at-bats for the surprising Yankees, he’s hitting 205/318/329, with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and 15 runs scored.
  4. Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-7) started the season on the disabled list, and has started slowly since his recent return. He’s hitting 161/212/161 in 31 at-bats so far- but he also had a home run stolen by Josh Reddick…
  5. Jon Jay (Staunton 2004) is flourishing in a part-time role with the Chicago Cubs so far. He’s hitting 385/478/487 in 39 at-bats- most of them hitting 9th in Joe Maddon’s interesting lineups. He has 2 doubles, a triple, 9 runs scored, and a 6/10 BB/K ratio.
  6. Ryan Schimpf (Luray 2008) won the third base job in San Diego out of Spring Training. He got off to a slow start, like Gardner, but he’s starting to hit for more power recently. He’s hitting 149/301/405 in 74 at-bats, with a double and 6 home runs. He has 11 hits so far, with 7 of them going for extra bases. He’s scored 12 runs and has driven in 13. He also has a 17/28 BB/K ratio.
  7. Cliff Pennington (Harrisonburg 2003) has only batted 17 times for the Angels so far. He’s hitting 176/286/176 while adding 2 stolen bases.
  8. Cory Spangenberg (Winchester 2010) started 2017 in Triple-A, but has been called up, and is playing pretty regularly. In 21 at-bats, he’s hitting 286/286/333, with a double and a stolen base.
  9. Tommy La Stella (Haymarket 2009) pinch hit 6 times for the Cubs in April before he was sent to Triple-A Iowa (with less angst this time). He hit a double and walked twice. He’s 9-29 in Triple-A so far.
  10. Stephen Cardullo (Covington 2007) also started in the majors and has been sent to Triple-A. He went 4-28 with 3 walks before heading to Albuquerque. He’s 4-11 so far in the Pacific Coast League.
  11. Mac Williamson (Harrisonburg 2011) started the season on the major league disabled list with San Francisco, but after some rehab games in the minors, he was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. (He’s 5-27 with a home run.)
  12. A bonus player here- I was pretty surprised when Clint Robinson (Harrisonburg 2005-6) was sent to Triple-A Syracuse at the end of Spring Training after spending two full seasons in the major leagues. So far, he’s 14-76 in Triple-A.
Daniel Murphy Washington swinging

Daniel Murphy probably hitting a home run


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):

Major League Record Book: Career RBIs

So, sure, driving in a bunch of runs depends quite a bit on opportunity, but it also means that a hitter is in the lineup consistently, too.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most RBIs in a major league career since the 2006 draft!

1 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 506
2 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 354
3 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 253
4 Yonder Alonso Luray ’06 239
5 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-6 62
6 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 57
7 Tommy La Stella Haymarket ’09 53
8 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 51
9 Eric Campbell Luray ’06 44
10 Cory Spangenberg Winchester ’10 38

Brett Gardner Watch: 342 RBIs, good for 3rd on this list.

Once again, we have Dan Murphy at the top, with Kipnis, Jay, and Alonso filling the next three slots. Schimpf jumped to 8th on this list with less than half a year in the majors- will he get a full season in 2017?

Next up: career walks!

Clint Robinson Los Angeles spring training 2014

Clint in Spring Training in 2014 with the Dodgers

Minor League Record Book: Home Runs in a Season

Talk about repeats! Take a look at the most home runs in a minor league season by a VBL alum since the 2006 draft…

1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2010 29
2 Jonathan Griffin Luray ’10 2012 28
Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10 2014 28
4 Michael Snyder Haymarket ’11 2013 25
Mac Williamson Harrisonburg ’11 2013 25
6 Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2014 24
7 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-07 2011 23
Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2013 23
Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2015 23
10 Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2012 22
Ryan McBroom Haymarket ’11-12 2016 22

The first thing you should notice about this list is the repeats- Clint Robinson appears twice, and Ryan Schimpf shows up FOUR times- and even four years in a row! Ryan hit 22 or more minor league home runs in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Why is he NOT on the list in 2016? He hit 15 home runs in Triple-A, and then 20 more in San Diego, in the majors. Wow.

Robinson, Schimpf, and Mac Williamson have all played in the majors. Rudy Flores and Ryan McBroom are still active, but Jonathan Griffin and Michael Snyder are not. (Snyder and McBroom were teammates in 2011 in Haymarket!)

Next up: RBIs!

Rudy Flores at High-A Visalia in 2014

Rudy Flores at High-A Visalia in 2014

Minor League Record Book: Doubles in a Season

Next category! Doubles in one minor league season, since the 2006 draft…

1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2010 41
2 Dalton Hicks Luray ’09 2013 39
Ryan McBroom Haymarket ’11-12 2015 39
4 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-07 2012 37
Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2012 37
6 Yonder Alonso Luray ’06 2010 36
7 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 2010 35
Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2011 35
Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10 2014 35
Joseph Bennie Strasburg ’11 2015 35

For the last list, which was hits, Clint Robinson showed up twice, but here he shows up three times. No one else appears twice.

Robinson, Ryan Schimpf, and Yonder Alonso have all played in the majors. Dalton (D.J.) Hicks, Ryan McBroom, Tyler Bortnick (free agent at the moment), Rudy Flores, and Joseph Bennie are all still active.

No one made the list from 2016, but McBroom and Bennie joined the list after outstanding 2015 campaigns. I count 3 former Wranglers, 2 former Haymarket Senators, and 1 each from Harrisonburg, Front Royal, and Strasburg.

Next up is triples, which means no Clint Robinson!

The dude can hit!

The dude can hit!

Minor League Record Book: Career Walks

Or, the Moneyball edition of the minor league record book.

1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 409
Joey Butler New Market ’06 409
3 Eric Campbell Luray ’06 378
4 Sherman Johnson Covington ’10 369
5 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 355
6 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 335
7 Blake Tekotte Woodstock ’06 320
8 Ben Guez Covington ’06 304
9 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 286
10 Brian Bocock Luray ’04 272

Joey Butler caught up to Clint Robinson in 2016; all Joey needs to do is sign a free agent contract somewhere and he’ll take over 1st place…. until Sherman Johnson catches both of them.

Major leaguers listed here are Robinson, Butler, Eric Campbell, Ryan Schimpf, Blake Tekotte, and Brian Bocock. Johnson, according to some sources, will definitely play in the majors; it’s just a matter of time.

Weirdly, the top 6 on this list are still active, while the bottom 4 are not (or at least not in affiliated ball).

Tyler Bortnick making a throw to 1st

Tyler Bortnick making a throw to 1st