Baseball America Top 100 Prospects

Baseball America publishes a list of their top 100 prospects each year, and have done so since 1990.

So, you know what I had to do, Brilliant Reader… here is every Valley League alumnus who has been named in the history of the BA 100 list!

1990-1997: None

1998: Mike Lowell, #71, 3B, New York Yankees (Waynesboro 1993)

1999: None

2000: Adam Everett, #76, SS, Houston Astros (Winchester 1996)
Aubrey Huff, #98, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays (Staunton 1997)

2001: Jon Rauch, #4, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Harrisonburg 1998)
Aubrey Huff, #43

2002: Jon Rauch, #92

2003: Jon Rauch, #92

2004-2005: None

2006: Cliff Pennington, #83, SS, Oakland A’s (Harrisonburg 2003)

2007: None

2008: Chris Perez, #97, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Staunton 2004)

2009: Yonder Alonso, #35, 1B, Cincinnati Reds (Luray 2006)

2010: Yonder Alonso, #45

2011: Jason Kipnis, #54, 2B, Cleveland Indians (Covington 2006-07)
Yonder Alonso, #73

2012: Yonder Alonso, #33
Cory Spangenberg, #78, 2B, San Diego Padres (Winchester 2010)

2013-2017: None

If I had to guess who will make the list in the coming year, I would say Nate Pearson (Staunton 2016) had a solid shot, especially with his velocity (he’s hit 100+ on the radar gun a number of times).

So, if you’re keeping score at home, 9 different players have been named a top 100 prospect. Two come from Harrisonburg, Winchester, and Staunton, and one comes from Waynesboro, Luray, and Covington. Every single one of the nine has had a nice career in the major leagues.

Mike Lowell Boston Red Sox

Mike Lowell with the Red Sox

The Top Hitters of 2017, An Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen, we are just about to start the list of the top hitters in the Valley League in the 2017 season!

First of all, let’s talk about some parameters.

The first qualification is that each of these hitters has to be eligible for the batting title, which comes out to 2.7 plate appearances per team game. Harrisonburg’s Tony Beam and Waynesboro’s Malik Stephens, for example, had very good seasons in the Valley, but they did not reach the threshold.

Another thing to keep in mind: I am not making predictions about the future with any of these players. Why not? Because I DON’T KNOW. I AM NOT A SCOUT. I can’t tell you who has the smoothest swing or the fastest batspeed, or who is a lock to get drafted next June. I am going off of statistics only. I’ve been asked in the past, “Wouldn’t a list of the best hitters be better than just looking at the stats?” Yes, it would (I think). But I can’t do that, so I do what I am able. (Besides, Baseball America does the other kind of list, and lots of people are frustrated with them, too, because the “big names” get more attention than others, who might be performing better.)

With that said, I have had to parse some differences between players, as you might imagine. If I decided on just OPS (on-base plus slugging), then my list would be no different than what you could sort on the Valley League stat page. I try to use the whole package to rank the players. So I use batting average (the horror!), on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and even counting numbers to determine where a player has landed. (So if a player didn’t play as much as someone else, that would matter to a certain extent.)

Also keep in mind that I do this to celebrate players, not to denigrate anyone else. These players are amateurs, and I have no interest in putting any of them down for whatever reason. This space is to celebrate the accomplishments of these young men.

Remember that this list is only one person’s opinion. You may rank your favorite player much higher than I have, and that’s fine. You may comment about your displeasure, of course (free country), but again, I will not denigrate a player in this space. If you would like to have a private discussion in my email or inbox about my reasons for picking one player over another, that’s cool. Do remember, though, that I have spent quite a bit of time ordering these lists. I’m satisfied with how they look.

Is all that clear?

So. I have listed who I believe are the top 16 hitters in the 2017 season (I couldn’t decide between the last two, so I decided to include them both). I will count them down from #15B all the way to #1, one at a time, over the next few weeks. After that, I will turn my attention to starting pitchers, and then to relievers.

Here are the hitters who were close to making the list, but fell just short (in alphabetical order):

  • Ty Andrus, Harisonburg: 348/413/374 in 155 at-bats, 54 hits, 29 runs, 11 RBIs, 2 triples, 17/9 BB/K, 10 SB
  • Zac Evers, Waynesboro: 283/366/520 in 127 at-bats, 24 runs, 19 RBIs, 8 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs, 15/39 BB/K, 17 SB
  • Jacob Hirsh, Strasburg: 318/431/449 in 107 at-bats, 30 runs, 14 RBIs, 3 doubles, 1 triples, 3 home runs, 18/21 BB/K, 10 SB
  • Jake Perry, Strasburg: 313/413/481 in 131 at-bats, 21 runs, 18 RBIs, 13 doubles, 3 home runs, 21/42 BB/K
  • Rick Spiers, Charlottesville: 333/391/487 in 117 at-bats, 28 runs, 19 RBIs, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 10/24 BB/K, 8 SB
  • Chase Suddeth, New Market: 324/424/456 in 136 at-bats, 30 runs, 25 RBIs, 10 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, 22/20 BB/K, 9 SB

Two Named NY-Penn League All-Stars

Two former Valley Leaguers have been named to the New York-Penn League All-Star teams, released a few days ago. Both of these players were drafted in June, and are off to very good starts!

  • Ben Breazeale (Harrisonburg 2014) was named to the NYP South team. Ben was drafted in the 7th round in June, and plays for the Aberdeen Orioles. He’s hitting 361/466/521 in 144 at-bats, with 14 doubles, 3 home runs, and a solid 28/35 BB/K rate.
  • Ryan Gridley (Waynesboro 2015) was named to the North squad. Ryan was drafted this June in the 11th round by the Oakland A’s, and plays for the Vermont Lake Monsters. The Lake Monsters. Sigh. Anyway, he’s hitting 269/372/328 in 134 at-bats, with 8 doubles and a 20/18 BB/K rate.

Congrats to both!


Results from Wednesday July 19

Six games played last night….


Charlottesville 12, Front Royal 7
Waynesboro 5, Purcellville 4
Winchester 5, Charlottesville 4
Harrisonburg 6, Woodstock 3
New Market 7, Strasburg 6
Staunton 8, Covington 4

Hitter of the Day

Michel Wielansky Charlottesvile 2017Several worthy candidates from last night, but the best game belongs to the young man who is making a strong case for MVP of the league- Charlottesville’s Michael Wielansky, from Wooster. Michael went 3-4, with a run, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, a double, and a home run. After the day-night doubleheader, Michael is hitting 425/490/612 in 134 at-bats, with 13 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs.

Others of Note

Ari Sechopoulos, Charlottesville, game 1: 3-4, 2 runs, BB, 2 2B
Ari Sechopoulos, game 2: 2-3, 2 RBIs, BB, 2B
Haiden Lamb, Charlottesville: 2-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs
Steven Carpenter, Charlottesville: 1-2, 3 runs, 2 RBIs, 3 BB, SB
Jordan Greene, Front Royal: 2-4, 3 RBIs, BB
Reid Long, Waynesboro: 4-5, run, RBI, 2 2B, SB
Trevin Esquerra, Purcellville: 3-5, 3 runs, 3B
Trey McDyre, Purcellville: 4-5, RBI
Adam Whitacre, Purcellville: 2-4, BB, 2B
Dillon Reed, Winchester: 3-5, run
Ty Andrus, Harrisonburg: 4-5, run, RBI
Sean Scales, Strasburg: 4-6, run, 2 2B
Jacob Hirsh, Strasburg: 2-4, 2 runs, RBI, BB, SB
Chase Sudduth, New Market: 2-3, run, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, SB
Connor Corbitt, New Market: 2-4, BB
Max Wood, Staunton: 3-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2B, HR
Jay Charleston, Staunton: 2-3, 2 runs, RBI, BB, 2 SB (31 on the year)

Pitcher of the Day

Our POD is Harrisonburg’s Grant Stewart, from Florida State! Grant threw 6 effectiveGrant Stewart Florida State 2017 innings against Woodstock, allowing 3 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and striking out 10. He is now 0-2, 5.71 in 17 1/3 innings this summer.

Others of Note

Parker Dyson, Purcellville: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K’s
Jared Drayton, Winchester: 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K’s, win
Mark Delas, Woodstock: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 Er, 1 BB, 5 K’s
Keven Pimentel, New Market: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s
Deacon Medders, Staunton: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K’s, win

Tonight’s Games

Purcellville at Charlottesville, double header, 5 PM and 730 PM
Woodstock at Covington
Winchester at Staunton
Front Royal at Harrisonburg

Results from Saturday July 15

Just a heads up here; I have been at Red Wings Music Festival all weekend, so I’m a little behind on some of the stuff going on in the league.

For example, a former VBLer made his major league debut last night. Do you know who? Another former VBLer was traded…. the Valley League also sent a team to the Southern Collegiate Showcase, and won their first game yesterday. I hope to get to all of these in the next day or two.

Move on to the scores from last night….


Purcellville 7, Front Royal
Harrisonburg 7, Waynesboro 3
Staunton 8, Charlottesville 4
New Market 11, Strasburg 5
Winchester 5, Woodstock 3

Hitter of the Day

Jacob Rhinesmith Indian Hills CC 2017This is the easiest call I’ve ever made for this award- the HOD from last night is New Market’s Jacob Rhinesmith, from Indian Hills Community College! Jacob went an incredible 6-6, with 3 runs, 6 RBIs, and 2 doubles. He is now hitting 341/417/506 in 85 at-bats this summer. He average went up 50 points, OBP 39, and slugging 63 points in just one night! Anyway, this is the best night I can remember seeing in the last number of years.

Others of Note

Gabriel Castillo, Purcellville: 2-2, 2 runs, 2 BB, HBP, SB
Onassis Matos, Purcellville: 2-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, BB, 2B
Dylan Hardy, Front Royal: 2-4, run, BB
Jordan Greene, Front Royal: 2-4, BB
Austin Embler, Harrisonburg: 3-5, run, RBI
Elliott Cary, Harrisonburg: 2-4, 2 runs, BB, 2B
Dakota Robbins, Waynesboro: 2-3, run, BB
Eric Jones, Charlottesville: 2-3, 3 RBIs, 2B, SF
Hunter Lipscomb, New Market: 2-4, 2 runs, 2 BB
Alec Aleywine, New Market: 2-4, 2 runs, RBI, 2 BB, SB
Pablo Cabrera, New Market: 2-5, run, RBI, BB, 2B
Luke Johnson, New Market: 2-4, BB
Turner Buis, Strasburg: 3-4, RBI, BB
Alex Reynolds, Winchester: 2-4, run, BB, SB

Pitcher of the Day

Our POD is Harrisonburg’s Jacob Ramos, from Shorter University, who threw 3 shutout Jacob Ramos Shorter U 2017innings last night, along with 2 hits allowed, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts. Jacob, who threw in Front Royal last summer and was one of the league’s best relievers, is now 1-2, 4.26, with 30 K’s in 19 innings pitched so far this summer.

Others of Note

Andrue Hughart, Purcellville: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K’s (56)
Drew Loepprich, Charlottesville: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K’s
Daniel Collins, Winchester: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K’s, win (55)

Sunday’s Games

Staunton at Covington
Charlottesville at Waynesboro
Front Royal at Winchester
Strasburg at Woodstock
New Market at Harrisonburg

Chase for .400

Dominic Canzone, Front Royal: DNP, .404
Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville: DNP, .398
McClain Bradley, Waynesboro: 2-5, .395
Tony Beam. Harrisonburg: DNP, .375
Danton Hyman, Woodstock: 1-4, .370

Results from Friday, July 14


Charlottesville 7, Covington 2
Harrisonburg 2, Front Royal 0
Purcellville 7, Woodstock 6
Winchester 4, Strasburg 1
Waynesboro 4, New Market 3

Hitter of the Day

Shaggy Freeland Faulkner 2017For the second time in three days, the hitter of the day is Purcellville’s Jacob (Shaggy) Freeland, from Motlow State! Shaggy went 2-5, with a run, 2 RBIs, double, and home run. He’s now slashing 292/370/792 in 24 at-bats, with 3 doubles and 3 home runs this summer.

Others of Note

Bryce Windham, Charlottesville: 3-4, run, HBP
Austin Embler, Harrisonburg: 2-4, BB
Bryan Arias, Harrisonburg: 3-4, run, BB, 2B
Dylan Hardy, Front Royal: 2-4, BB
Austin Adams, Woodstock: 2-4, 2 RBIs
Onassis Matos, Purcellville: 2-4, run, RBI, BB, 2B
Dillon Reed, Winchester: 3-3, run, RBI, 2 BB, SB
Reid Long, Waynesboro: 2-4, 2 RBIs, 2 2B

Pitcher of the Day

Quite a few pitching performances last night, but the best was turned in by Matt Young OKC 2017Harrisonburg’s Matthew Young, from Oklahoma City. Matthew threw 5 shutout innings, while allowing 3 hits, 3 walks, and striking out 8. He earned a game score of 66. He’s now 2-1, 3.95, with a whopping 21 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings pitched for the Turks.

Others of Note

Michael Dailey, Charlottesville: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K’s (63)
Preston Betz, Charlottesville: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s, win
Jarred Taylor, Harrisonburg: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K’s
Kyle Pierce, Winchester: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K’s
Robert Bamford, Winchester: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K’s, win
Brendan Smith, Strasburg: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K’s (61)
Grant Suponchick, Waynesboro: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K’s, win (60)
Austin Bogart, New Market: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K’s (53)

Saturday’s Games

New Market at Strasburg
Purcellville at Front Royal
Staunton at Chralottesville
Harrisonburg at Waynesboro
Winchester at Woodstock

The Race for .400

Dominic Canzone: DNP, .404
McClain Bradley: 2-5, .395
Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville: DNP, .398
Danton Hyman, Woodstock: 1-4, .374

Tony Beam, Harrisonburg: DNP, .375

Want to Know Where Current Pro Players Are From?

What a terrible title, but we’re going with it.

I’ve started working on a new project, one I should finish this weekend- I’m listing all pro players, both current and “retired,” by Valley League team (and within that, by season).

It’s always been fascinating to me to have this conversation- which teams have the most pro players? I was having a conversation with Staunton’s Steve Cox about a week ago, and I mentioned the 2006 New Market Rebels- the team that went 32-10 in the regular season. Right away, we were naming players from that squad- Joey Butler, Brandon Dickson, Gerard Haran….

So I was able to enter the current pro players yesterday, and I noticed something- some teams have tons of alumni playing, while others….. do….. not.

So I had to count them, of course. Ready? (By the way, I did not count Indy Ball players, OR foreign players)

  1. Harrisonburg Turks- 34
  2. Staunton Braves- 24
  3. Front Royal Cardinals- 19 (Hunter Newman was just released- bummer)
  4. Purcellville/Charles Town Cannons- 16
  5. Waynesboro Generals- 15
  6. Luray Wranglers and Winchester Royals- 14
  7. Haymarket/Aldie Senators- 12
  8. Covington Lumberjacks and Woodstock River Bandits- 10
  9. New Market Rebels and Strasburg Express- 8
  10. Charlottesville Tom Sox- 4

A couple thoughts here. First, Strasburg came into existence in 2011, and Charlottesville in 2015. Their numbers are smaller, most probably, for that reason.

Not to be too critical, but the number from New Market, Covington, and Woodstock is a little bit shocking. When you see Haymarket/Aldie with more even though the team folded after 2015….

And Luray still has 15 active, even though they were sold and moved after the 2012 season.

Of course, this can change very quickly- in fact, any of these teams could have free agents signed at any time.

Thoughts? Get a thread going!