Schimpf Traded, Edgin, Kratz Sign

Three transactions of importance have happened in the last few days:

First of all, Josh Edgin (Winchester 2007) has been signed as free agent by the Baltimore Orioles. Drafted in the 30th round in 2010, Josh made his major league debut on July 13th, 2012. He has appeared in 177 major league games since then, going 4-4, 3.49, with 2 saves, a 1.279 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, and 8.1 K/9 in a total of 129 innings pitched. He has been worth 1.7 WAR in his career, according to baseball reference.

Josh is not exactly a lefty-killer, but he has been a little bit better against lefties than righties. Against left handed batters, in 295 plate appearances, Josh 223/296/367. Against right handed batters, in 249 PA, Josh is 254/352/362.

I imagine Josh has a shot to make the O’s opening day roster, and if he doesn’t make the major league club, he’ll most likely go to Triple-A.

Secondly, the San Diego Padres have traded Ryan Schimpf (Luray 2008) to the Tampa Bay Rays for Deion Tansel. Ryan was a 5th round pick in the 2009 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his major league debut in 2016 with the Padres, and has played in 142 games in 2016 and 2017. In 527 plate appearances, Ryan has hit 195/317/492, with 72 runs, 19 doubles, 5 triples, 34 home runs, and a 69/175 BB/K ratio. Back in the old days, 34 home runs in 527 plate appearances would equal a starting spot, but it looks like the Rays have acquired Ryan to be depth at both second and third base. (The Rays are far from done this offseason, it looks like, so who knows?)

Thirdly, the New York Yankees, seemingly in the middle of adding some guy named Giancarlo Stanton, have also signed former VBLer and ATVL friend¬†Erik Kratz (Waynesboro, Harrisonburg 2000-2001). Erik, who will be 38 years old in June of 2018, was a 29th round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays way back in 2002. (Erik is the second oldest former VBLer who is still active- the oldest is……. Brad Ziegler (New Market 2000), who is roughly 8 months older than Erik. Strange to think that Erik may have batted against Brad a whopping 17 years ago.) Erik started 2017 in Columbus, Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, but was sold to the Yankees on August 31st. Erik went on to appear in 4 major league games for the Bronx Bombers during their playoff push. He will most likely play in Triple-A for the Yanks in 2018, but be available if, say, their two catchers both get in a benches-clearing brawl and get suspended. That would be weird, huh?

Erik Kratz NYY 2017downloadpi-mlb-padres-ryan-schimpf-091416-vadapt-980-high-60


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.

Update on Major League Hitters

Now that we’re into May, we should take a quick look at Valley League alumni who are in the major leagues- what do you think? (Stats through Sunday, April 30th)

  1. Any discussion of major league alumni in the batter’s box needs to start with Daniel Murphy, I believe. The former Luray Wrangler (2004-5) finished 2nd in MVP voting in 2016, and he hasn’t missed a beat so far in 2017. He’s hitting 343/378/590 in 105 at-bats, with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 17 runs scored, and 26 RBIs. He’s a critical piece in the National’s thumping lineup!
  2. We’ll stick with the Wranglers for #2- Yonder Alonso (2006). Yonder is hitting 279/355/515 for the Oakland A’s, along with 4 doubles and 4 home runs in 68 at-bats. He’s scored 9 runs, driven in 14, and has a 8/17 BB/K ratio.
  3. Brett Gardner (New Market 2003-4) got off to a slow start in his age-33 season, but he’s definitely picking it up. In 73 at-bats for the surprising Yankees, he’s hitting 205/318/329, with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and 15 runs scored.
  4. Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-7) started the season on the disabled list, and has started slowly since his recent return. He’s hitting 161/212/161 in 31 at-bats so far- but he also had a home run stolen by Josh Reddick…
  5. Jon Jay (Staunton 2004) is flourishing in a part-time role with the Chicago Cubs so far. He’s hitting 385/478/487 in 39 at-bats- most of them hitting 9th in Joe Maddon’s interesting lineups. He has 2 doubles, a triple, 9 runs scored, and a 6/10 BB/K ratio.
  6. Ryan Schimpf (Luray 2008) won the third base job in San Diego out of Spring Training. He got off to a slow start, like Gardner, but he’s starting to hit for more power recently. He’s hitting 149/301/405 in 74 at-bats, with a double and 6 home runs. He has 11 hits so far, with 7 of them going for extra bases. He’s scored 12 runs and has driven in 13. He also has a 17/28 BB/K ratio.
  7. Cliff Pennington (Harrisonburg 2003) has only batted 17 times for the Angels so far. He’s hitting 176/286/176 while adding 2 stolen bases.
  8. Cory Spangenberg (Winchester 2010) started 2017 in Triple-A, but has been called up, and is playing pretty regularly. In 21 at-bats, he’s hitting 286/286/333, with a double and a stolen base.
  9. Tommy La Stella (Haymarket 2009) pinch hit 6 times for the Cubs in April before he was sent to Triple-A Iowa (with less angst this time). He hit a double and walked twice. He’s 9-29 in Triple-A so far.
  10. Stephen Cardullo (Covington 2007) also started in the majors and has been sent to Triple-A. He went 4-28 with 3 walks before heading to Albuquerque. He’s 4-11 so far in the Pacific Coast League.
  11. Mac Williamson (Harrisonburg 2011) started the season on the major league disabled list with San Francisco, but after some rehab games in the minors, he was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. (He’s 5-27 with a home run.)
  12. A bonus player here- I was pretty surprised when Clint Robinson (Harrisonburg 2005-6) was sent to Triple-A Syracuse at the end of Spring Training after spending two full seasons in the major leagues. So far, he’s 14-76 in Triple-A.
Daniel Murphy Washington swinging

Daniel Murphy probably hitting a home run


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):

Major League Record Book: Home Runs in a Season

No one approaching Barry Bonds or anything, but here are the best major league seasons for home runs since the 2006 draft…

1 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2016 25
2 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2016 23
3 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 2016 20
4 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2013 17
5 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2012 14
Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2015 14
7 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2013 13
8 Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2009 12
9 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2011 10
Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-6 2015 10

2016 was clearly a good year for home runs, as the top three slots were all achieved in the past year. Overall, Murphy holds 4 spots, Kipnis 3, and Schimpf, Jay, and Robinson all have 1.

Brett Gardner Sighting: Brett hit 17 home runs in 2014, and 16 in 2015. Those seasons would be good for 5th and 6th places, and would push Jay and Robinson out!


Ryan Schimpf’s major league debut in 2016

Minor League Record Book: Home Runs in a Season

Talk about repeats! Take a look at the most home runs in a minor league season by a VBL alum since the 2006 draft…

1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 2010 29
2 Jonathan Griffin Luray ’10 2012 28
Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10 2014 28
4 Michael Snyder Haymarket ’11 2013 25
Mac Williamson Harrisonburg ’11 2013 25
6 Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2014 24
7 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-07 2011 23
Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2013 23
Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2015 23
10 Ryan Schmipf Luray ’08 2012 22
Ryan McBroom Haymarket ’11-12 2016 22

The first thing you should notice about this list is the repeats- Clint Robinson appears twice, and Ryan Schimpf shows up FOUR times- and even four years in a row! Ryan hit 22 or more minor league home runs in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Why is he NOT on the list in 2016? He hit 15 home runs in Triple-A, and then 20 more in San Diego, in the majors. Wow.

Robinson, Schimpf, and Mac Williamson have all played in the majors. Rudy Flores and Ryan McBroom are still active, but Jonathan Griffin and Michael Snyder are not. (Snyder and McBroom were teammates in 2011 in Haymarket!)

Next up: RBIs!

Rudy Flores at High-A Visalia in 2014

Rudy Flores at High-A Visalia in 2014

Minor League Record Book: Career Home Runs

Next, let’s take a look at the players with the most minor league home runs since the 2006 draft:

1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06- 141
2 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08- 120
3 Joey Butler New Market ’06- 90
4 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05- 84
Ben Guez Covington ’06- 84
6 Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10- 83
Blake Tekotte Woodstock ’06- 83
8 Rebel Ridling Covington ’06- 76
9 Jon Griffin Luray ’10- 71
10 AJ Kirby-Jones Waynesboro ’09- 64

Clint Robinson holds a 21-home run lead over Ryan Schimpf. If Ryan gets a full year in the minors again (which we’re obviously wishing against), he might pass Clint. Ryan hit 15 home runs in Triple-A in 2016, and added 20 for the major league Padres after his call up.

Robinson, Schimpf, Butler, and Tekotte have all played in the majors. Thomas, Guez, Tekotte, Ridling, Griffin, and Kirby-Jones are all out of affiliated ball. Robinson, Schimpf, Butler, and Flores are still active. Flores, of course, has a chance to top 100 home runs in 2017. Griffin hit 4 home runs in one game in May of 2014 for Double-A Mobile.

Next up is RBIs!

A Ryan Schimpf home run!

A Ryan Schimpf home run!