Three Quick Hits

There are a few small news stories to cover today!

  • Jack Leathersich (Haymarket 2009) has been called up to join the Chicago Cubs. He made his major league debut in 2015, and has been working his way back ever since. He is the 24th Valley League alumnus to play in the majors in 2017 (assuming he does actually pitch in a game soon, of course).
  • Tony Thomas (Harrisonburg 2005) has been named to the American Association All-Star team. He’s hitting 296/362/542 in 179 at-bats for the St. Paul Saints.
  • Two former Valley Leaguers have been named to the major league All-Star teamDaniel Murphy (Luray 2004-5) and Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006). Murphy is hitting 341/395/575 in 308 at-bats, with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, and 60 RBIs. Whoa. Alonso is hitting 280/375/568 in 243 at-bats, with 13 doubles, 19 home runs, and 41 RBIs. His previous high in home runs was NINE.

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.

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!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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”


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”


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

Minor League Record Book: Career Triples

Finally a list without Clint Robinson at the top! Let’s just say that with all of Clint’s talents, running fast is not one of them.

Anyway, here is the list for most career minor league triples since the 2006 draft!

1 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 48
2 Tyler Kuhn Luray ’06-07 42
3 Chad Oberacker Fauquier ’09 34
4 Ben Guez Covington ’06 33
5 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 30
6 Cory Spangenberg Winchester ’10 29
Sherman Johnson Covington ’09-’10 29
8 Adam Calderone Woodstock ’04 28
9 Scott Cousins Harrisonburg ’05 26
10 Tyson Auer Luray ’05-06 23
Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 23
Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 23

Not a ton of hope for rapid movement in this one. Tyler Bortnick is still active, even though he’s a minor league free agent at the moment. Sherman Johnson is still active in the Angels’ system, and Cory Spangenberg, Ryan Schimpf, and Collin Cowgill are all mostly major leaguers now. (Although all will probably see more minor league at-bats before their respective careers are finished.)

All the others- Thomas , Kuhn, Oberacker, Guez, Calderone, Cousins, and Auer are no longer in affiliated ball.

Sherman Johnson

Sherman Johnson

Minor League Record Book: Career Doubles

Three categories, three Clint Robinson first places…. this time, it’s doubles… (Since the 2006 draft!)

1 Clint Robinson- Harrisonburg ’05-06- 238
2 Tony Thomas- Harrisonburg ’05- 201
3 Joey Butler- New Market ’06- 177
4 Ben Guez- Covington ’06- 176
5 Eric Campbell- Luray ’06- 172
6 Blake Tekotte- Woodstock ’06- 167
7 Ryan Schimpf- Luray ’08- 158
8 Tyler Kuhn- Luray ’06-07- 143
9 Tyler Bortnick- Front Royal ’06- 141
10 Rebel Ridling- Covington ’06- 135

Much of the same characters of the last two. Robinson, Butler, Campbell, Tekotte, and Schimpf have all played in the majors. Bortnick is a free agent, along with Campbell. Thomas, Guez, Kuhn, and Ridling are out of affiliated ball.

We’ve had shots of Robinson and Butler- here’s one of Tony Thomas!




Minor League Record Book: Career Triples

Finally, we have a category that doesn’t have Clint Robinson (Harrisonburg 2005-06) at the top! In fact, Clint isn’t even on this list. Take a look- the most minor league triples since the 2006 draft!

1 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 48

2 Tyler Kuhn Luray ’06-07 42

3 Ben Guez Covington ’06 33

4 Chad Oberacker Fauquier ’09 32

5 Cory Spangenberg Winchester ’10 29

6 Adam Calderone Woodstock ’04 28

7 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 27

8 Scott Cousins Harrisonburg ’05 26

9 Sherman Johnson Covington ’09-’10 24

10 Tyson Auer Luray ’05-06 23

Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 23

Quick summing up: Thomas, Guez, Oberacker, Spangenberg, Bortnick, Johnson, and Schimpf are all still active in pro ball. Kuhn, Calderone, Cousins and Auer are not. Spangenberg is the only one on the list who has played in the major leagues so far (and will probably play with the Padres in 2016, too).

The BIG category is next!

Thomas Named Offensive Player of the Week

Tony Thomas Reading headshot 2015Tony Thomas (Harrisonburg 2005) has had an interesting minor league season so far. He started the year with Minnesota, but was cut in spring training. He then signed with the Phillies, who assigned him to Reading in the Eastern League. He played a total of 25 games with the Fightin’ Phils, and was released again.

The Detroit Tigers grabbed him, and sent him right back to the Eastern League to play for Erie. Last week, Tony showed why he is still in pro ball when he exploded for Erie and was named the Eastern League’s Offensive Player of the Week.

This is what Jake Seiner wrote about Tony’s week on

(.556/.619/.944, 5 G, 10-for-18, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 0 K)
The 2007 third-round pick out of Florida State landed with Erie last month and has found his home run stroke since. The 29-year-old hit safely in each of his five games with the SeaWolves last week, including a four-hit outburst July 10 at Harrisburg that featured a home run, three runs and two RBIs. Thomas first reached Double-A in 2009 and has played for six different teams across Double-A and Triple-A since.

Way to go, Tony!