Pearson Goes 28th

The first former VBLer picked in the 2017 draft is Central Florida’s Nate Pearson, drafted 28th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays! Nate pitched for Staunton in 2016.

Congratulations, Nate!


Copeland Combines On No-Hitter

Former Staunton Brave Scott Copeland (2007) combined with two relievers to throw a no-hitter for Triple-A New Orleans April 14th.

Copeland, who appeared in 5 games in the majors for Toronto in 2015, made quick work of the Iowa Cubs. Finishing 7 innings while throwing only 63 pitches, Copeland ended up with 7 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts. Hunter Cervenka and Brandon Cunniff threw the last two innings. Copeland’s game score finished at 88, which is the highest game score in the young season so far.

After two starts, Scott is 1-1, 2.45, with 13 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched. He’s making his case to help the Marlins this season, I think!


2016 Rookie Leagues Hitter of the Year

We’re ready to start another of our offseason “series”- the hitter and pitcher of the year from each level of professional baseball. This is the 3rd year of this series already. My, how time flies.

The minor leagues are broken down into five different levels:

Rookie- Arizona, Gulf Coast, Appalachian, and Pioneer Leagues
Short-Season A- Northwest and New York-Penn Leagues
Full Season A- Carolina, California, South Atlantic, Florida State, and Midwest Leagues
Double A- Texas, Eastern, and Southern Leagues
Triple A- Pacific Coast and International Leagues

Then, of course, we look at the major leagues, too. So let’s start with the lowest level, and work our way to the top.

Rookie Leagues Hitter of the Year: Bradley Jones, Bluefield

Bradley Jones (Charles Town 2015) was picked in the 18th round of the 2016 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, was assigned to Bluefield of the Appy League, and proceeded to crush the league with his power.

Overall, Bradley hit 291/336/578 in 61 games and 237 at-bats. He scored 41 runs, drove in 55, hit 18 doubles, 1 triple, and 16 home runs, and even stole 16 bases. His final BB/K was 17/71. ATVL is excited to see what he might do in full-season ball in 2017!

Previous Winners:

2015- Patrick Mazeika (Waynesboro 2013)
2014- Logan Moon (Winchester 2012)

Others for Consideration:

  • Anthony Dimino, Kingsport (Covington 2013)- 325/437/410 in 117 AB, 22/20 BB/K
  • Hunter Newman, Cardinals (Front Royal 2014)- 297/391/459 in 74 AB
  • Nicholas Sinay, Bluefield (Front Royal 2014)- 246/435/304 in 191 AB, 34 SB
  • Robert Bennie, Athletics (Waynesboro 2014)- 336/388/500 in 110 AB, 5 3B
  • Michael Brosseau, Rays (Waynesboro 2015)- 319/424/442 in 113 AB, 15/19 BB/K, 12 2B, 7 SB
  • Gabriel Garcia, Brewers (Winchester 2016)- 300/393/500 in 130 AB, 12 2B
Bradley Jones, the 2016 Rookie Hitter of the Year!

Bradley Jones, the 2016 Rookie Hitter of the Year!

Jones Named Hitter of the Week Yet Again

bradley-jones-bluefieldI think it’s safe to say that Bradley Jones (Charles Town 2015) has finished his minor league season on a hot streak.

Just recently named the Appalachian League hitter of the week (8/28), Bradley earned the honor again in the last week of the regular season. Over 4 games, Bradley went 9-for-15, with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 6 RBIs, and 4 runs scored.

He ended the season on an 11 game hitting streak, going 22-for-44 over that span, with 13 runs scored, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 6 home runs, 21 RBIs, 4 walks, and 9 strikeouts.

He’s hit 291/336/578 in 61 games overall, with 18 doubles, 15 HR, 55 RBI, and a 17/71 BB/K ratio. Looks like a successful pro debut to me!



Bradley Jones Goes Off

Bradley Jones (Charles Town 2015), an 18th-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays this June, has been on a tear for the rookie-level Bluefield Blue Jays in the Appalachian League.

Before his 0-3 last night, Bradley had gone 7-11 in his previous three games, along with 6 runs, 11 RBIs, and 3 home runs. He even walked twice without striking out. Over those three games, he raised his batting average 28 points, from .233 to .261.

Through 43 games in his professional debut, Bradley is hitting 256/305/494 in 164 at-bats, with 9 doubles, 10 home runs, 24 runs scored, and 27 RBIs. He also has a 12/50 BB/K ratio. He’s striking out in 28% of his plate appearances, which is a little high.

Most of you would remember Bradley from his performance in the semi-final round of the 2015 Valley League home run derby, when, with his dad pitching, Bradley crushed home run after home run over the left field wall in Harrisonburg. He was also ATVL’s #2 hitter overall in the ’16 VBL season.

If Bradley keeps hitting home runs at this pace, he will most likely keep moving up the ladder in Toronto’s system!

Bradley Jones Bluefield 2016 swinging


McBroom Named Top Prospect

Ryan McBroom Vancouver 2014In our second-to-last Valley League alumnus update on prospect status, we have the former West Virginia Mountineer and Haymarket Senator (2011-12) Ryan McBroom!

Ryan was a 15th round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, and signed for a pittance as a college senior- $1,000! (Compare this to, say, Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006), who received a $2,000,000 signing bonus in 2008.)

Ryan had a very strong pro debut in the Northwest League’s Vancouver franchise in 2014, hitting 297/339/502 in 70 games and 273 at-bats. Then, assigned to the full season Midwest League in 2015, Ryan took off, hitting 315/387/482 in 127 games and 461 at-bats. (He was named ATVL’s Full-Season A-Ball Hitter of the Year, by the way.)

So, even with a s little fanfare as he received coming out of college, now Ryan is garnering some attention for his performance in the minor leagues. He was named in both and Fangraphs.

So let’s take a look: lists Ryan as the 27th best prospect in the Blue Jay system:

McBroom’s profile has risen substantially since he signed for $1,000 as a college senior out of West Virginia in the 15th round of the 2014 Draft. He led the Class A Short Season Northwest League with 11 homers in his pro debut and encored by winning MVP honors in the Class A Midwest League in his first full season.

At 23, McBroom was old for the Midwest League, so he’ll have to prove that he can hit against more advanced opponents. But he has some encouraging tools, starting with power that he generates with his strength and a lofty right-handed swing. He’s an aggressive hitter with a knack for making hard contact, though he may need better discipline against better pitching.

McBroom’s value comes solely from his bat, and he’ll have to hit his way up the ladder. Though he has seen some time in left field in pro ball, his bottom-of-the-scale speed makes playing him there a stretch. He does have soft hands and can become an average defender at first base.

And Fangraphs named Ryan as a “quick hit” in their Blue Jays column:

1B Ryan McBroom has a chance to make his way onto this list with his bat, showing potential to hit for power and average. Neither tool may be big enough to make up for being a first baseman with absolutely no speed, and his advanced age relative to the competition he has beat up is cause for caution.

Sure, he’ll have to prove his worth at every stop, but that’s not terribly unusual anyway. Look at what Tyler White just did in the Houston system!

Ryan has been assigned a level higher than 2015- at High-A Dunedin, in the Florida State League. He’s off to a bit of a slow start, as he’s hitting 224/293/373, but in only 67 at-bats (through Saturday). Hopefully he can prove his worth at this level, too!


2015 Full Season A Hitter of the Year

As most of you know, below Double-A, the minor leagues is split into full season leagues and short-season leagues, and then “rookie” leagues. I decided to split ATVL’s awards into the same categories in 2015.

So this award, the “full season” A ball hitter and pitcher of the season, will go to a player from one of the following: California, Midwest, Carolina, Florida State, and South Atlantic leagues.

2014 Winner: Rudy Flores (Haymarket 2010)

2015 Winner: Ryan McBroom (Haymarket 2011-2012)

Ryan McBroom Lansing headshotRyan McBroom, Toronto’s 15th round draft pick in 2014, easily had the best full season hitting season. He played in Lansing, of the Midwest League, and finished the season at 315/387/482 in 127 games and 461 at-bats. He scored 72 runs, drove in 90, hit 39 doubles, 1 triple, 12 home runs, and had a solid 49/96 BB/K ratio. He has proven himself to be a productive minor league season over his two years in the minors!

Others to Consider

Jay Gonzalez (Harrisonburg 2011)- 268/381/325, 72 runs, 11 doubles, 8 triples, 42 RBIs, 87/133 BB/K, 34 stolen bases combined for Frederick and Delmarva.

Joseph Bennie (Strasburg 2011)- 272/363/430, 63 runs, 35 doubles, 3 triples, 11 home runs, 56 RBIs, 66/137 BB/K, and 14 stolen bases for Beloit.