Update on Lang, Villanueva, Jones, and O’Reilly

For our afternoon post, here are four quick updates on former Valley Leaguers!

  • Michael Lang (Haymarket 2009), a free agent signee of the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2012, spent parts of two seasons in the Diamondback system. He was scooped up by Sioux City of the Independent American Association, and has now spent parts of 5 seasons there. A few days ago, he set the franchise record for career triples- he has 23 in his Indy ball career. He already owned the single season record, by the way.
  • Elih Villanueva (Luray 2007) is an old name among ATVL’s regular readers. He started 170 minor league games between 2008 and 2015, and 1 major league game in 2011 (against the Phillies, who whacked him pretty good). Elih was released by the Baltimore Orioles after the 2015 minor league season. He pitched in the Dominican Winter League, but was not signed by another club. He didn’t pitch in 2016, but signed with the Independent Lancaster Barnstormers in the Atlantic League this spring, where he went 5-1, 2.72 in 7 starts. All this to say that Elih was signed by the Red Sox a couple days ago, and is scheduled to start for Double-A Portland tonight. (I moved him back into the “active” file!)
  • You might remember Bradley Jones (Charles Town 2015) from his monster home run derby at the All-Star game in 2015, but he should also be known for being a darn good hitter in games, too. An 18th round pick in 2016, he was assigned to Low-A Lansing of the Midwest League in April. But after hitting 326/395/560 in 184 at-bats, he’s been promoted to High-A Dunedin of the Florida State League.
  • The Cardinals drafted Mike O’Reilly (Woodstock 2014) in the 27th round of the 2016 amateur draft. Today he was named a Midwest League All-Star after going 3-1, 2.08 in 39 innings. He’s given up 29 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 39. Way to go, Mike!

That’s all for now….


Minor League Record Book: Career Wins

Now that we’ve finished up with the minor league hitters, let’s take a look at the (much smaller) minor league record book for pitchers! Remember, these top tens are from the 2006 draft…

Career wins!

1 Elih Villanueva Luray ’07 68
2 Brad Mills Harrisonburg ’05 62
3 Brandon Dickson New Market ’06 54
4 Mike Ballard Staunton ’04 52
Scott Copeland Staunton ’07 52
6 Rowdy Hardy Staunton ’04 40
Cole McCurry New Market ’05 40
Taylor Hill Winchester ’08 40
9 Tobi Stoner Front Royal ’05 38
10 Tim Sexton Staunton ’06-07 34
Greg Burke New Market ’03 34

Major leaguers: Elih Villanueva, Brad Mills, Brandon Dickson, Scott Copeland, Taylor Hill, Tobi Stoner, Greg Burke

Still Active: Mills, Copeland, Hill

Special Category: Dickson has pitched in Japan the last FOUR years. He has 35 wins there, so to add them together, he’s atop this list with 89!

Elih Villanueva

Elih Villanueva

Minor League Record Book: Career Wins

Moving over to the pitcher side of things, we now have career wins in the minor leagues since the 2006 draft!

1 Elih Villanueva Luray ’07- 68

2 Brad Mills Harrisonburg ’05- 59

3 Brandon Dickson New Market ’06- 54

4 Mike Ballard Staunton ’04- 52

5 Scott Copeland Staunton ’07- 49

6 Rowdy Hardy Staunton ’04- 40

Cole McCurry New Market ’05- 40

8 Tobi Stoner Front Royal ’05 38

9 Taylor Hill¬†Winchester ’08- 34

Tim Sexton Staunton ’06-07- 34

Greg Burke New Market ’03- 34

Pretty fascinating list here. Villanueva, Mills, Dickson, Copeland, Stoner, Hill, and Burke have all played in the major leagues. Dickson has been pitching in the Japanese leagues for the last couple years. Ballard, Hardy, McCurry, and Sexton are out of organized ball.

Minor League Player Notes

This post should fall under the category “miscellaneous.” Let’s take a look at a few stories I’ve stumbled across the last couple days:

  • Elih Villanueva (Luray 2007) threw 6 innings in his last start for Triple-A Norfolk in the Baltimore Orioles


    minor league system. I wonder if he even realizes what milestone he passed with the second-to-last out he recorded- he topped 1,000 career innings in the minor leagues! Not bad for a 27th round draft pick in 2008. Elih is a career 66-58, 3.64 in 1,000 1/3 innings pitched. He made just one start in the major leagues- for the Miami Marlins in 2011 against the (then) high-powered Philadelphia Phillies.

  • Justin Seager (Woodstock 2011) is the third Seager brother in the minor leagues- his brother Kyle plays in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners, and his other brother, Corey, is a top prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system (Corey may be the Dodgers’ #1 prospect, actually). Justin is toiling in High-A ball in the Mariners’ system. A 12th round draft pick in 2013, Justin is having zero luck on batted balls lately. In fact, through Saturday, in his last ten games, Justin is 0-35 with 13 strikeouts. Twenty-two times putting the ball in play with no hits? That’s a rough week and a half. For the season, Justin is hitting 184/273/254 in 228 at-bats. Here’s to some better luck for Mr. Seager in the future.
  • Two former VBLers have been named New York-Penn League All-Stars. The first is Pat Porter (New Market 2012) who was just drafted in the 15th round of the 2015 draft by the Houston Astros. Pat’s hitting 263/329/431 in 137 ¬†at-bats. The second player is righthander Ryan Meisinger (Staunton 2014), an 11th round pick in 2015 pitching for Aberdeen. Adding in the one inning he threw in the Gulf Coast League, Ryan is 0-0, 1.38, with 6 saves in 13 innings pitched. Congrats to both!
  • I think I’m going to start a “Free Greg Nappo” campaign. Nappo pitched in Haymarket in 2010, and was drafted into the Marlins’ system in 2011. He’s done nothing but get batters out, but he’s never been called up. His career numbers: 21-9, 2.47, 5 saves, 316 strikeouts in 291 1/3 innings pitched. He’s toiling away in Triple-A for the worst major league team (seriously, the Marlins have a worse record than my Phillies)… why not call him up?


Villanueva Named Pitcher of the Week

Elih Villanueva Bowie 2015Elih Villanueva (Luray 2007) threw a fantastic game on June 22nd, needing only 90 pitches to finish a complete game for Bowie against Trenton in the Eastern League.

For this effort, milb.com named Elih the Eastern League pitcher of the week. Jake Seiner put it like this:

Villanueva has been outstanding in the Eastern League this season, posing a 2.54 ERA in 10 starts, including a pair of complete games. The Orioles farmhand added a shutout to his stat line on June 22, going the distance in a 6-0 win over Trenton. Villanueva needed just 90 pitches to complete the gem, inducing 10 groundouts. He faced just five over the minimum.

Congratulations, Elih!

Minor League Starting Pitchers from Sunday, April 26

Just two from last night:

Starts on Sunday, April 26

  • Elih Villanueva (Luray 2007) for AA Bowie: 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 BB, 4 K’s, loss, 7-1, game score of 50. Elih is 2-2, 3.32.
  • Sam Howard (Staunton 2012) for A Asheville: Sam turns it around! 5 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 BB, 4 K’s, win, 3-2, game score of 65. Sam is now 0-2, 3.75 on the year. Ty Buttrey of Greenville threw 5 no-hit innings, and Sam almost matched him! The game went 14 innings.
  • Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008) for AAA Colorado Springs: postponed.

Starts Scheduled for Monday, April 27

  • Scott Copeland (Staunton 2007) for AAA Buffalo
  • Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008) for AAA Colorado Springs (game 1 of the doubleheader)

Minor League Starting Pitchers Saturday, April 25

Make sure you read this one carefully, as one of these guys almost threw a no-hitter…

Starts on Saturday, April 25

  • Alex Wimmers (Luray 2008) for AA Chattanooga: 4.1 IP, 10 hits, 9 earned runs, 3 BB, 2 K’s, no decision, game score of 6. Loss, 16-10. Alex is now 0-0, 8.68.
  • Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011) for AA Corpus Christi: 6.1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 3 BB, 8 K’s, Win, 16-1, game score of 78. Chris has yet to give up a run in 2015- he’s 2-0, 0.00 in 15 innings. And yes, Chris was 2 outs away from a no-hitter (it was a double-header, thus the 7 inning game), but was taken out because he reached his pitch limit (he threw 87 pitches). This is the best start of the year by a Valley League alum so far. For the game story, click here.
  • Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012) for A Bakersfield: 6 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB, 6 K’s, win, 3-0, game score of 69. Alex is 2-1, 1.23 on the year.
  • Chris Pike (Harrisonburg 2012-13) for A Bowling Green: 5 IP, 9 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 BB, 1 K, Win, 4-2, game score of 41. Chris is 2-1, 3.86 so far in 2015.

Starts Scheduled for Sunday, April 26

  • Elih Villanueva (Luray 2007) for AA Bowie
  • Sam Howard (Staunton 2012) for A Asheville
  • Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008) for AAA Colorado Springs (Tyler has struggled a bit for the Brewers in the majors this year. Maybe this start will be the beginning of Tyler straightening things out.)