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!



Jones, Alonso Get Some Hardware

Two former Valley Leaguers have received some hardware over the past week- one at the minor league level, one at the major league level.

Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) first baseman Bradley Jones led the Midwest League in home runs (six), RBIs (23) and total bases (58), while finishing second in average (.372), hits (32), slugging (.674) and OPS (1.089). He recorded 10 multi-hit games and separate hit streaks of seven and eight games in April. Jones, 21, was selected by Toronto in the 18th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of the College of Charleston.

Bradley has come down a little bit since May started, but his stats are still awesome overall. He’s now hitting 333/395/595 overall, with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs, 19 runs, and 26 RBIs. I would not be the least surprised if he finds himself a level higher pretty soon.

  • Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006) was named the player of the week by Baseball America for the period ending May 7th. If you haven’t been following what Yonder’s been doing so far this season, you need to head over to the Facebook page to see some of the highlights. Last night, he hit his 10th AND 11th home runs- 10 was a new career high- and it’s only May 10th. This is what Kyle Glaser wrote in BA…Yonder Alonso

Alonso, 30, hit .409 (9-for-22) with five runs scored, a double, five home runs and 10 RBI over six games to claim his first career Player of the Week Award. The week included the first multi-home run game of his career on Saturday against Detroit. The four-time BA Top 100 prospect has already tied his career-high for home runs in a season (9) and is on pace to set a new career-high in slugging percentage by more than 100 points.

Congratulations to both men!


2016 Full Season A Hitter of the Year

joe-bennie-august-2015Our “full season” A-Ball hitter (and pitcher) of the year is chosen from the Midwest, California, Florida State, Carolina, and South Atlantic Leagues.

This year’s winner is Joseph Bennie (Strasburg 2011), who plied his trade for Stockton of the California League. Joseph hit 302/376/449 in 111 games and 434 at-bats, along with 31 doubles, 11 home runs, 64 runs scored, 69 RBIs, and a 48/116 BB/K ratio. Out of the five players considered finalists for this “award,” Bennie finished first in runs, hits, doubles, walks, batting average, and on-base percentage.

Joseph was picked in the 28th round of the 2013 draft by the A’s. He played in the Arizona League that first summer, and hit 246/380/369 in 79 plate appearances. He moved up to the New York-Penn League in 2014, and started to put some things together, hitting 288/369/378 in 179 plate appearances.

In 2015, he moved up to Beloit of the Midwest League, and in his first full season, hit 272/363/430 in 543 plate appearances. He added 35 doubles and 11 home runs. He was a finalist for this award, but finished behind Ryan McBroom (Haymarket 2011-12).

In 2016, Joseph was moved to Double-A Midland for 21 games and a handful of at-bats in August after his outstanding showing in Stockton.

Way to go, Joseph!

Past Winners:

2015- Ryan McBroom (Haymarket 2011-12), Lansing, Midwest League
2014- Rudy Flores (Haymarket 2010), Visalia, California League

Others in Consideration:

  • Rudy Flores (Haymarket 2010), 292/346/514 in 257 at-bats at Visalia
  • Kyri Washington (Woodstock 2013), 262/323/487, 20 2B, 9 3B, 16 HR in 382 AB for Greenville
  • Jay Gonzalez (Harrisonburg 2011), 253/354/339, 46/66 BB/K, 41 SB in 289 AB for Frederick
  • Ryan McBroom (Haymarket 2011-12), 274/323/468, 26 2B, 21 HR, 83 RBI in 468 AB for Dunedin

Major League Record Book: Career Home Runs

The big list. Teams are always, seemingly, searching for power. So who has hit the most career major league home runs since the 2006 draft?

1 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 87
2 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 76
3 Yonder Alonso Luray ’06 39
4 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 31
5 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 20
6 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-6 15
7 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 12
8 Joey Butler New Market ’06 8
Tyler White Haymarket ’10 8
10 Eric Campbell Luray ’06 7
Cory Spangenberg Winchester ’10 7

Brett Gardner Watch: 63 home runs- good for 3rd on the list

Items of Note:

  • Murphy’s lead over Kipnis is pretty small, relatively speaking (11 home runs)
  • Will Murphy AND Kipnis hit #100 in 2017?
  • Schimpf, like on the triples list, went from zero to 5th place in 220 at-bats!
  • Literally, every single member of this list is still active, although Campbell will be playing in Japan this year.

Yonder Alonso hitting a walk-off home run for the A’s!

2013 VBL MVP Traded to Oakland

The MVP of the 2013 Valley League season, Strasburg’s Jordan Tarsovich, has been traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization to the Oakland A’s for outfielder Brett Eibner.

Jordan, drafted in the 22nd round in 2015 out of VMI, spent the 2016 minor league season at High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa. Overall, he hit 221/325/371 in 318 plate appearances at the two stops.

Jordan crushed the Valley League in ’13, hitting 414/511/529 in 157 at-bats for the Express. He was named the MVP, which was not a surprise, at the end of the season.

Good luck with your new team, Jordan!


Rickles Playing for Team Israel in WBC

The 4th World Baseball Classic, to be held in March of 2017, will have a familiar face from the Valley playing for Team Israel– former Luray Wrangler Nick Rickles (2010).

Nick was drafted by the Oakland A’s in 2011 in the 14th round. He played in the A’s minor league system until 2016, when he joined the Nationals’ system. He played mostly for Double-A Harrisburg last season.

This is not the only exciting thing in his life right now- I do believe that Nick is newly engaged as well!

Good luck, Nick!



2015 Double-A Hitter of the Year

2014 Winner: Cory Spangenberg (Winchester 2010)

2015 Winner: Chad Oberacker (Fauquier 2009)

Chad Oberacker Midland 2015In a photo finish, our award shall be presented to Chad Oberacker, who plied his trade in Oakland’s system at Double-A Midland in 2015. The 25th round draft pick in 2011 hit 294/360/425 in 101 games and 395 at-bats. He scored 69 runs, drove in 44, hit 27 doubles, 5 triples, 5 home runs, stole 19 bases, and finished with a 42/74 BB/K ratio.

Chad was exposed to the Rule 5 draft in the offseason, and was scarfed up by the Arizona Diamondbacks. By the way, Chad is one of the last players left in pro ball from the Fauquier Gators.

Others to Consider

Ryan Schimpf (Luray 2008): 271/378/581 in 258 at-bats, 20 doubles, 20 home runs for New Hampshire. Ryan finished a very close second to Oberacker.

Mac Williamson (Harrisonburg 2011): 293/366/429 in 259 at-bats, 16 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs for Richmond

Tyler Bortnick (Front Royal 2006): 275/356/360 in 222 at-bats, 11 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, 12 stolen bases for Jackson

Sean Jamieson (Front Royal 2010): 272/376/381 in 294 at-bats, 14 doubles, 6 home runs, 10 stolen bases for Mobile

Tyler White (Haymarket 2010): 284/415/426 in 190 at-bats, 6 doubles, 7 home runs, 42/35 BB/K ratio for Corpus Christi