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.

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

Minor League Record Book: Career Hits

Say hello to Clint Robinson again!

1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 1016
2 Joey Butler New Market ’06 941
3 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 814
4 Eric Campbell Luray ’06 762
5 Tyler Kuhn Luray ’06-07 725
6 Ben Guez Covington ’06 722
7 Blake Tekotte Woodstock ’06 707
8 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 672
9 Brian Bocock Luray ’04 633
10 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 631

Clint hit a pretty round number, didn’t he? 1,000 minor league hits, plus another 130+ in the majors is nothing to sneeze at.

Joey Butler has a chance to hit 1,000 in 2017. Tekotte, Kuhn, Bocock, and Guez are no longer in affiliated ball. Robinson, Butler, Campbell, Tekotte, Bocock, and Cowgill have all played in the major leagues. Campbell is a free agent right now- hopefully he gets scooped up by someone.

Now I’ll leave you with a fun picture of Joey….

joey-butler-and-carlos-carrasco-indians

Butler Hits Walk-Off Home Run

Joey Butler Durham April 2015Joey Butler (New Market 2006), back in the states after a short stint in Japan in 2014, hit a walk-off 2-run home run for the Durham Bulls last night! (Check out the milb.com article here- titled “Butler Blast Boosts Bulls…“) The Bulls won, 8-6.

Butler, a 15th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers back in 2008, played in the majors in both 2013 and 2014, and received exactly 21 plate appearances. He signed with Orix in the Japan Pacific League, and played there in July and half of August in 2014. He got 66 plate appearances there, and hit 231/379/385.

He then signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for 2015, and was assigned to Triple-A Durham to start the season. He’s off to a great start this year, hitting 339/439/554 in 56 at-bats. He has hit 4 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 home runs so far, and has a 8/15 BB/K ratio. I will not be in the least surprised if Joey is called up at some point in 2015!

Valley League Transactions

Only five transactions to report from the slow time over the holidays:

Tekotte in 2013 with the White Sox

Tekotte in 2013 with the White Sox

1. The Boston Red Sox have signed Blake Tekotte (Woodstock 2006) as a free agent. Blake has played in 50 games in the major leagues, most recently in 2013 with the Chicago White Sox. Originally, he was 3rd round draft pick in 2008 by the San Diego Padres.

2. The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Pat Christensen (Harrisonburg 2011), who was recently released by the Houston Astros. Pat was drafted in the 27th round in 2013 by the Astros, but was released after the 2014 season. In his minor league career, he’s struck out 84 batters in 81 2/3 innings, so I’m not surprised that he’s getting a second chance.

3. The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Joey Butler (New Market 2006) as a free agent. Joey was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 27th round in 2008. He reached Arlington in 2013, playing in 8 games for the Rangers. He was then signed by the Cardinals, and got 5 at-bats in St. Louis in 2014. After those 5 at-bats, Joey was released so he could sign with Orix in the Japanese League, where he hit 231/379/385 in 66 plate appearances. Now he’s back, and will attempt to make the Rays’ major league team out of spring training.

4. The New York Yankees have signed Eddy Rodriguez (Luray 2006-07) as a free agent. Eddy got a surprise call up with the Padres in 2012, and ripped a home run in his very first major league at-bat. Eddy will most likely play in the minors in 2015.

5. The San Diego Padres have released Josh Richardson (Covington 2009). Josh, who played for Liberty in college, was a 26th round draft pick in 2013. In 53 total games in the minors, Josh went 2-3, 4.74, with a 1.569 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, and 7.7 K/9.

Pro Transactions From May 29

Here is all you need to know about professional player movement over the past 2+ months!

The Atlanta Braves released AJ Kirby-Jones (Waynesboro 09), Matt Chaffee (Harrisonburg 2008), and AJ Holland (Rockbridge 10).

Kirby-Jones was a 9th round draft pick by the Oakland A’s back in 2010. He moved on to San Diego’s system, and then to Atlanta’s. Over 5 seasons and almost 1,600 at-bats, AJ hit 249/368/458 with 82 doubles and 64 home runs. He’s on the top ten list for career home runs in the minor leagues (since the 2006 draft).

Chaffee was drafted in the 12th round of the 2011 draft out of Arizona. In 4 seasons in the Braves’ system, he went 10-6, 4.45, with a 1.425 WHIP in 174 innings pitched.

Holland, a 16th round pick in the 2011 draft, went 13-24, 5.00, with a 1.529 WHIP in 275 professional innings.

The St. Louis Cardinals released Joey Butler (New Market 2006) and Joseph Cuda (Staunton 2010-11).

The Cards released Joey right after they had him in the major leagues for a spell (if a “spell” can be only 5 at-bats, that is). The release had a purpose- Joey signed with Orix in the Japan League. In 20 games for Orix so far, Butler is hitting 245/387/408. (American players can make decent money in Japan- more money, really, than most players can make in Triple-A. Go Joey!)

Cuda was drafted in the 27th round of the 2012 draft. In his career, he went 24-12, 4.42, with a 1.38 WHIP in 271 innings.

The Texas Rangers released Ryan Harvey (Covington 2010). Ryan was a 18th round draft pick in 2012 out of Seton Hall. Ryan threw 116 innings in pro ball (including his stint in the Indy Leagues this year), and has gone 8-4, 5.04, with a 1.655 WHIP.

The Washington Nationals released Niko Spezial (Harrisonburg 2011), Jake Joyce (Covington 10-11), and Justin Miller (Staunton 2010).

Spezial, drafted in 2013, got a whole 19 innings in pro ball before the Nats cut him loose. He went 1-0, 3.32, with a 1.263 WHIP (and 21 strikeouts).

Joyce didn’t get a whole lot more time, pitching just 33 2/3 innings over 2013 and 2014, and only 3 1/3 innings in 2014 before his release.

Miller was drafted all the way back in 2010. He’s hit 251/322/405 in 1,221 at-bats. The highest level he reached was High-A- Potomac of the Carolina League.

The Pittsburgh Pirates released Mike Spano (Front Royal 2011), Cameron Griffin (Strasburg 2011), and traded Adalberto Santos (Woodstock 2008) to the San Francisco Giants for player to be named later. They also signed non-drafted free agent Cory Rhodes (Woodstock 2011, New Market 2013)!

Spano was released without appearing in a minor league game after signing as a free agent in 2013.

Griffin was a 23rd round draft pick in 2013. He pitched in 18 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2013, and didn’t appear in a game in 2014.

I really thought Santos had a shot to play in Pittsburgh, especially after he hit .340 at Double-A Altoona in 2012. He dropped off a bit in 2013, and then was a bench player in 2014, and has been since his trade to SF, too. He’s gotten 84 at-bats all year.

Rhodes is the 7th free agent signed after the 2014 draft. He is a right handed pitcher from King.

The Arizona Diamondbacks released Gerard Hall (Luray 07). Hall was a free agent signee of the Kansas City Royals back in 2009. He was released back in 2011, but has played in the Frontier League the last three years. The Diamondbacks signed him to another free agent contract, but released him before he played in another organized league game.

The Seattle Mariners released Mickey Wiswall (Winchester 2008). Mickey hit 259/301/420 in 1356 minor league at-bats, and reached Double-A Jackson this year.

The Chicago White Sox released Kale Kiser (Luray 2011), and traded Blake Tekotte (Woodstock 2006) to Arizona for cash.

Kiser was a 23rd round draft pick in 2012, and hit a total of 242/333/380 in 664 at-bats.

Tekotte has played in 50 games in the major leagues, but was assigned to Triple-A Reno.

The Oakland A’s ¬†released Stuart Pudenz (Front Royal 2011). Stuart went 7-5, 3.25, with a 1.26 WHIP in 97 innings pitched since being drafted in the 13th round in 2012.

The Baltimore Orioles released Eric Green (Winchester 12) and Joe Van Meter (Covington 08).

Green was a 36th round draft pick in 2013. He pitched a total of 30 1/3 innings in pro ball, going 0-0, 2.97, with a 1.38 WHIP.

Van Meter was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 21st round in 2010. Joe went 15-26, 3.95 in 302 2/3 innings pitched, along with a 1.32 WHIP and 13 saves.

The New York Mets released Hamilton Bennett (Winchester 10). Bennett pitched quite well for the Mets since being drafted in the 29th round in 2010. Overall, he went 15-4, 2.38, with 23 saves and a 1.09 WHIP in 219 2/3 innings. He also had a pretty sweet mustache.

The San Diego Padres released Tim Sexton (Staunton 06-07) and Bridger Hunt (Staunton 04).

Sexton has since been resigned by the Oakland A’s, so we aren’t done with him yet!

Hunt has been around for a long, long time. He was drafted in the 9th round in the 2006 draft, and hit 282/347/353 in 1325 at-bats.

The LA Dodgers released James Baune (Winchester 12). Baune didn’t get to pitch too much in pro ball- he pitched only 62 2/3 innings in his two years in pro ball.

The Philadelphia Phillies released Addison Maruszak (Woodstock 06). Addison was a Yankees 17th round pick in 2008, and was signed this spring by the Phillies. He made it as far as Triple-A, and hit 261/331/383 in 1836 at-bats.

The Chicago Cubs released the awesomely named Giuseppe Papaccio (Covington 2010-11). Papaccio was an 18th round draft pick in 2013.

The Minnesota Twins released Jonathan Murphy (Luray 2010-11). Jonathan, the younger brother of the New York Mets’ Daniel Murphy, hit 235/310/314 in 3 seasons and 735 at-bats.

Phew! There you have it- all the player movement you could ever wish for!

Robinson Reaches Milestone

Clint holding the baseball from his first major league hit!

Clint holding the baseball from his first major league hit!

On August 19th, Clint Robinson (Harrisonburg 2005-2006), playing in Triple-A for the Albuquerque Isotopes, tripled in the 8th inning against Nashville’s Rob Wooten.

This was notable not because it was (only) the 17th triple of Clint’s minor league career, but because it was his 1,000th hit in the minors since he was drafted in June of 2007.

Clint’s exploits have been well chronicled in these pages, but 1,000 hits is something special. Since the 2006 draft, no other Valley League alumnus is closer than Joey Butler (New Market 2006), who signed with a Japanese team this spring after ringing up 802 career minor league hits. The next closest active player is Tony Thomas (Harrisonburg 2005), a former teammate of Clint’s in the ‘Burg, who now has 724 career hits.

Clint, of course, isn’t done, either. He went on to have two 3-hit games since he accomplished #1,000, which, added in with his 3 major league hits, gives him 1,009 total hits in his pro career.

Robinson has been a excellent hitter his whole career, too. He’s hitting a total of 303/381/509 in 912 games and 3,325 at-bats. He has scored 528 runs, driven in 580, and hit 236 doubles, 17 triples, and 139 home runs, while his overall BB/K ratio is 404/583. I fully expect the Dodgers to call Clint back up to the major leagues come September to be another left-handed power bat off the bench, which means that Clint will most likely get to experience playoff baseball in the majors, too!

Congratulations, Clint!