Povse Makes Major League Debut

Max Povse Seattle 2017It is my pleasure to announce that Max Povse (Staunton 2013) has made his major league debut for the Seattle Mariners!

Max was called up a few days ago, but finally appeared in a game last night, against the Detroit Tigers. Max gave up 3 earned runs in his 2/3 of an inning, including a home run to perhaps the best righthanded batter in the game, Miguel Cabrera. Despite this shaky start, Max has a very bright future!

Max becomes the second former Valley Leaguer to make his debut in 2017, joining fellow Mariner and former Turk Emilio Pagan (2010). By my count, Max becomes the 204th former VBLer to play in the majors.


Pagan Makes Major League Debut!

Congratulations are in order for former Harrisonburg Turk Emilio Pagan (2010), who made his major league debut on May 3rd!

Just a skinny teenager when he pitched in the Valley, Emilio has filled out to 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds during his rise through Seattle’s minor league system. Over 151 minor league games, he’s gone 11-15, 2.47, with 47 saves and a 1.09 WHIP in 236 2/3 innings pitched.

He is the first Valley League alum to make his debut this season, but the 15th over the last three seasons.

He pitched a third of an inning on the 3rd, and things did not go very well. He pitched a couple innings last night, giving up 2 runs and receiving the loss. Hopefully he can string some zeros together soon.

Congrats, Emilio!

Emilio Pagan debut May 3 2017

Three Named Spring Training “Revelations”

Major league spring training will be wrapping up in a couple days, and while that means that a few Valley League alumni, like Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05) and Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-07), will start off 2017 with a starting position with their respective clubs, a few more, like perhaps Clint Robinson (Harrisonburg 2006-07), will go north as a bench player. Others, like Brad Ziegler (New Market 2000) and Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012), will be on the pitching staff of their organization.

Most alumni, though, are still plying their trade in the minor leagues. But spring training is a great chance for some of them to turn some heads, and impress those who are making the decisions.

Bleacher report has recently published an article on one player from each major league team who has been the biggest “revelation.”  Awesomely, three former Valley Leaguers have made the cut.

Here they are:

Colorado Rockies: Stephen Cardullo (Covington 2007):

Spring Stats: 44 PA, 13-for-37, 3 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R, 5/8 BB/K


The Colorado Rockies have been bitten hard by the injury bug this spring.

Among position players, David Dahl, Ian Desmond and Tom Murphy are all expected to begin the season on the disabled list, and that has opened the door for non-roster invitee Stephen Cardullo to win a bench job.

“You can’t say enough about how he’s hitting,” manager Bud Black told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “He’s squaring balls up against all types of pitchers and he’s playing with a great deal of intent to try and make this ballclub.”

The 29-year-old spent four seasons playing indy ball before the Rockies took a flier on him last year, and he went on to hit .308/.367/.522 with 26 doubles, 17 home runs and 72 RBI in 452 plate appearances in Triple-A.

That earned him a late-season promotion, and he posted a .665 OPS with three doubles and two home runs in 59 plate appearances in the first MLB action of his career.

Now he’ll have a chance to battle for the available playing time at first base and in left field while Desmond and Dahl are on the mend.

Kansas City Royals: Eric Stout (Waynesboro 2012):

Spring Stats: 7 G, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K


There probably won’t be a spot for Eric Stout on the Opening Day roster.

The Kansas City Royals already have two lefties—rookie Matt Strahm and former starter Mike Minor—locked into bullpen jobs, and Scott Alexander (8 G, 8.2 IP, 1 ER) has pitched well enough to hold on to his spot from a year ago.

That leaves Stout on the outside looking in, but he’s made a terrific impression in his first big league camp with seven strong innings.

The 23-year-old posted a 3.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 in 42 appearances at the Double-A level last season and followed that up with a 2.77 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings in the Arizona Fall League.

He looks like the next southpaw up, at least until Brian Flynn is recovered from a fractured rib.

Seattle Mariners: Max Povse (Staunton 2013):

Spring Stats: 4 G, 10.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K


There’s no missing Max Povse.

The 6’8″ right-hander is an imposing figure on the mound, and he turned heads this spring before being optioned to the minors last week.

The 23-year-old has made just 11 starts above the Single-A level, so a return to the minors was inevitable, but there’s little question he made a good first impression on his new club.

Povse was acquired from the Atlanta Braves along with fellow right-hander Rob Whalen this offseason in exchange for former top prospect Alex Jackson.

Now he’s squarely in the conversation along with Nick Neidert and Andrew Moore for the title of top pitching prospect in the Seattle Mariners system, and he’ll begin the season in Triple-A.

While he may not have overpowering stuff, he uses his big frame well to generate a good downward plane, and he has a solid changeup-curveball pairing to back his low-90s fastball that tops out at 94.


2016 Double-A Pitcher of the Year

Ryan YarbroughWhile only 3 batters were considered for the hitters’ award at Double-A, many, many pitchers were excellent at this level in 2016.

The best, though, was no doubt Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012), who made 25 starts for Double-A Jackson in Seattle’s system. Traded to Tampa Bay in the offseason, Ryan finished 12-4, 2.95, with a 1.11 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and 6.9 K/9 in 128 1/3 innings pitched. Ryan was a 4th round draft pick in 2014, and has been shooting up the ladder towards the majors. In 2014, when Ryan was also the short-season A pitcher of the year, he went 0-1, 1.40, with 58 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings pitched. In 2015, over 3 levels, Ryan went 4-8, 4.10, with 88 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings.

I would cautiously hold forth the idea that Ryan has a chance to pitch in the Rays’ rotation as early as this coming month. At any rate, congratulations on your excellent season, Ryan!

Past Winners:

2015- Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012), Altoona
2014- Drew Rucinski (Luray 2009-10), Arkansas

Others to Consider (say hello to all the Turks and Braves…):

  • Austin Adams (Staunton 2011), Arkansas- 0-1, 3.05, 4 svs, 13.3 K/9 (and 5.2 BB/9) in 41 1/3 IP
  • Rayan Gonzalez (Harisonburg 2009), Hartford- 2-2, 3.12, 8.5 K/9 in 52 IP
  • Brian Holmes (Harrisonburg 2010), Corpus Christi- 4-2, 3.73, 9.1 K/9 in 50 2/3 IP
  • Emilio Pagan (Harrisonburg 2010), Jackson- 4-1, 1.17, 9 svs, 13.2 K/9 in 30 2/3 IP
  • Trey Cochran-Gill (Harrisonburg 2012), Midland- 4-5, 3.07, 7.1 K/9 in 73 1/3 IP
  • Kyle McGrath (Staunton 2011), San Antonio- 1-2, 1.29, 1.5 BB/9, 9.2 K/9 in 48 2/3 IP
  • Max Povse (Staunton 2013), Mississippi- 4-1, 2.93, 1.5 BB/9, 6.1 K/9 in 70 2/3 IP

Yarbrough doin’ his thing

Yarbrough Traded to Tampa Bay

Ryan YarbroughThe Seattle Mariners included former Valley Leaguer Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012) in a four-player trade for lefthander Drew Smyly yesterday.

Yarbrough, originally the Mariners’ #13 prospect according to mlb.com, threw very well for Double-A Jackson in the Southern League in 2016. He went 12-4, 2.95 in 25 starts, along with a 1.11 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and 6.9 K/9 in 128 1/3 innings pitched. He has already been shifted to the Rays’ system on mlb.com, and is listed at #16. His future looks like either a middle-of-the-rotation starter, or a lefty reliever.

Good luck in your new system, Ryan!

Povse Traded to Seattle

Max Povse Carolina 2016One of the more heralded prospects to come out of the Valley League in the last few years, Max Povse (Staunton 2013), has been traded from the Atlanta Braves to the Seattle Mariners.

A 3rd round pick in the 2014 draft, Max advanced to Double-A Mississippi in 2016. His size (he’s 6-foot-8) and stuff (he can run his fastball up to 94) make him a possibility to play in the majors soon. Max was traded along with Rob Whalen for the Mariner’s 1st round pick in 2014, Alex Jackson.

Baseball America had this to say about Max in his writeup:

His fastball sits 90-92 mph and can get up to 94 and his main secondary offerings are a solid overhand curveball and changeup with improving depth. His stuff plays up because his extension makes the ball jump on the hitter quickly, while his long limbs constantly move in his delivery to throw off hitters’ sense of timing and ability to locate the ball. As a result Povse keeps the ball on the ground and limits hard contacts, with 24 percent more groundouts than airouts in 2016 as he ascended to Double-A and only nine home runs allowed in 158 innings. As a 6-foot-8, ground-ball aficionado who throws strikes, Povse evokes comparisons to former Mariners righthander Doug Fister and could be ready to contribute in the majors as soon as 2017.

“As soon as 2017” sounds pretty good. Good luck with your new organization, Max!

Yarbrough Named Southern League Postseason All-Star

Ryan YarbroughYet another former Valley Leaguer has been honored in the minor leagues; this time it’s Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012), who was named to the Southern League’s postseason all-star team!

Ryan absolutely deserves it. Over 24 starts this season for Double-A Jackson, he’s 12-4, 2.92. He’s allowed 108 hits, 31 walks, and has struck out 98 batters in 126 1/3 innings pitched. He’s currently on the disabled list; the Mariners placed him on the 7-day DL on August 20th. Ryan struggled with a groin injury in 2015, but I couldn’t find out what the issue is this time around. It could be that he fulfilled his innings limit for the year.

At any rate, congrats to Ryan!