Photos of the Week

Every week, milb.com (that’s the official website for minor league baseball, for the uninitiated) posts a collection of fun photos that they call the “photos of the week.” Of course, ATVL watches for Valley League alumni every week, too. Months can pass with no pictures at all, and then a week like this comes around- when FOUR of the photos are of former players in the Valley!

Here are the photos from this week:

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):

A Retrospective Look at VBL Prospects

Each year, ATVL posts updates on top prospects, originally from the Valley League, from different outlets. Baseball Prospectus, one of those outlets, has made all its old lists available, so ATVL was able to compile a list of all alumni who have been mentioned since 2007.

It’s a fascinating list. Of course, many players are mentioned more than once, but take a look at this blast from the past!

2016

Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012), Seattle #5 (Before he was traded to Tampa Bay)
Max Povse (Staunton 2013), Seattle #4

2015

Kaleb Fleck (Waynesboro 2008,10), Arizona #10
Jake Johansen (Front Royal 2011), Washington #8

2014

Tommy LaStella (Haymarket 2009), Atlanta #6
Jake Johansen (Front Royal 2011), Washington #5

2013

Eric Stamets (Haymarket 2010), Los Angeles Angels #10
Tommy LaStella (Haymarket 2009), Atlanta #9
Mac Williamson (Harrisonburg 2011), San Francisco #7
Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008), Milwaukee #2
Cory Spangenberg (Winchester 2010), San Diego #10

2012

Alex Wimmers (Luray 2008), Minnesota #7
Collin Cowgill (Covington 2005), Oakland #9
Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008), Milwaukee #4
Cory Spangenberg (Winchester 2010), San Diego #4
Carlos Gutierrez (Luray 2007), Minnesota #17
Kevin Munson (Covington 2008), Arizona #18
Scott Cousins (Harrisonburg 2005), Miami #16
Blake Tekotte (Woodstock 2006), San Diego #15

2011

Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-07), Cleveland #1
Alex Wimmers (Luray 2008), Minnesota #8
Brandon Beachy (Woodstock 2008), Atlanta #10
Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006), Cincinnati #6
Carlos Gutierrez (Luray 2007), Minnesota #13
Blake Tekotte (Woodstock 2006), San Diego #20
Scott Cousins (Harrisonburg 2005), Miami #11
Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008), Milwaukee #15

2010

Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-07), Cleveland #8
Carlos Gutierrez (Luray 2007), Minnesota #8
Tommy Manzella (Waynesboro 2003), Houston #7
Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006), Cincinnati #4
Brad Mills (Harrisonburg 2005), Toronto #14
Jon Jay (Staunton 2004), St.Louis #12

2009

Carlos Gutierrez (Luray 2007), Minnesota #9
Brad Mills (Harrisonburg 2005), Toronto #6
Chris Perez (Staunton 2004), St. Louis #3
Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006), Cincinnati #1
Collin Cowgill (Covington 2005), Arizona #9
Jon Jay (Staunton 2004), St.Louis “just missed”

2008

Jack Egbert (Winchester 2003), Chicago White Sox #7
Chris Perez (Staunton 2004), St. Louis #2
Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05), New York Mets #9
Tony Thomas (Harrisonburg 2005), Chicago Cubs #10
Tommy Manzella (Waynesboro 2003), Houston “just missing”

2007

Kevin Kouzmanoff (Winchester 2002), San Diego #1
Chris Perez (Staunton 2004), St. Louis #6
Joe Koshansky (Staunton 2002-03), Colorado #10

Major League Record Book: WAR in a Season

Wins Above Replacement, according to baseball-reference.com, since the 2006 draft….

1 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2013 5.9
2 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2015 4.6
Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2016 4.6
4 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2016 4.1
5 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2012 4.0
6 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2012 3.4
7 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2011 3.0
8 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2011 2.9
9 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2014 2.8
10 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 2014 2.2

Fascinating. Because WAR also counts defense, Daniel Murphy’s 2016 season is only tied for 2nd place! And Jason Kipnis’s 2016 season is less than a win behind Murphy’s total. And Collin Cowgill sneaks on the list at #10!

Brett Gardner Watch: 7 seasons of better than 2.2 WAR. 7.3 WAR in 2010 is his highest.

Pitchers are next!

Collin Cowgill

Collin Cowgill

Major League Record Book: Stolen Bases in a Season

Moving along to stolen bases in one major league season since the 2006 draft….

1 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2012 31
2 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2013 30
3 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2013 23
4 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2014 22
5 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2012 19
6 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2016 15
7 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2014 13
8 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2015 12
9 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2012 10
Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2013 10

I suppose we need to start with Brett Gardner, don’t we? Brett has stolen more than 10 bases EIGHT times in his major league career, topping out at 49 in 2011. He also stole 47 in 2010, which would give him the top two spots.

As it is, Jason Kipnis is on here five times, Dan Murphy three times, and Jon Jay twice.

Brett Gardner slides into 2nd base in 2015

Brett Gardner slides into 2nd base in 2015

Major League Record Book: Triples in a Season

Finally, a seasonal category that Daniel Murphy doesn’t dominate. Most triples in a season since 2006…

1 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2015 7
2 Cory Spangenberg Winchester ’10 2015 5
Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2016 5
Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 2016 5
5 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2009 4
Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2012 4
Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2012 4
Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2013 4
Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2013 4
Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2016 4

Jason Kipnis owns 4 slots, Murphy 3, and Cory Spangenberg, Ryan Schimpf, and Jon Jay all have 1.

But, this is only because Brett Gardner isn’t included:

  • 10 in 2013
  • 8 in 2011 and 2014
  • 7 in 2010
  • 6 in 2009 and 2016

That means Brett would own 6 spots on this list! Amazing what speed will do, eh?

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Brett Gardner making a catch

Major League Record Book: Doubles in a Season

Next up: most doubles in one major league season since the 2006 draft….

1 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2016 47
2 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2015 43
3 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2016 41
4 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2012 40
Yonder Alonso Luray ’06 2012 39
Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2009 38
7 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2013 38
8 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2015 38
9 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2014 37
10 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2013 36

If anything, Murphy dominates this list even more than the two previous! He holds down 6 spots, Jason Kipnis has 3, and Yonder Alonso grabbed the last one.

Brett Gardner Sighting: 33 doubles, in 2013, was his high, so he would not be on this list.

yalonso08428309ds

Just to be different, here’s Yonder Alonso in college