Minor League Record Book: Career Hits

Our next category in our minor league record book is hits!

First up, the most career hits from 2006-2017…

1 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 1123
2 Joey Butler New Market ’06 958
3 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 814
4 Eric Campbell Luray ’06 762
5 Tyler Kuhn Luray ’06-07 725
6 Ben Guez Covington ’06 722
7 Blake Tekotte Woodstock ’06 707
8 Ryan Schimpf Luray ’08 692
9 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 684
10 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 683
11 Brian Bocock Luray ’04 633
Rudy Flores Haymarket ’10 633

Robinson, Butler, Schimpf, and Flores are still active. If Joey Butler hadn’t gotten hurt in 2017, he probably would have topped 1,000….

Robinson, Butler, Eric Campbell, Blake Tekotte, Ryan Schimpf, Collin Cowgill, and Brian Bocock have all played in the majors.

Here is the “all-time” list…

1 Andy Abad Harrisonburg ’93 1464
2 Alan Cockrell Staunton 1322
3 Luis Lopez Winchester ’92-3 1270
4 Jeff Manto Front Royal 1253
5 Jim Pankovits Harrisonburg ’74 1156
6 Jon Zuber Harrisonburg ’91 1155
7 Clint Robinson Harrisonburg ’05-06 1123
8 Doug Dascenzo Front Royal 1085
9 Andy Barkett Winchester ’92 1075
10 Tommy Murphy Staunton ’98 1060
11 Pat Watkins Staunton 977
12 Steve Decker Front Royal 975
13 Christopher Carter Waynesboro ’01 969
14 Wes Timmons Winchester ’98-9 966
15 Joey Butler New Market ’06 958
16 Frank Menechino Harrisonburg ’92 957
17 Kevin Reese Winchester ’98 953
18 Jack Voigt Staunton 933
Emil Brown Waynesboro ’94 933
20 Danny Godby Harrisonburg 898

Two players, Clint Robinson and Joey Butler, are on both lists. The next closest active player to the all-time list is Ryan Schimpf, who is over 200 hits away.

Andy Abad

Andy Abad


New Project!

Now that I’m on my second cup of coffee this morning, I find myself wanting to share the latest block of information I’m trying to complete.

Many of you don’t realize this, but the information of each season of the Valley League, from years ago, anyway, is pretty spotty. (Chaz Weaver would understand this, of course!) For example, does anyone have the list of players who participated in the league in 1994? No, it doesn’t exist.

So I’ve been working on some lists over the last few years. First of all, I have what I think is a complete list of Valley League alumni who have played in the major leagues (understanding that I’ll have to add to the list as I learn of more players) (around 200 players).

I have the list of every single player who has appeared in a Valley League game since 2004 (it’s over 4,400 names long).

I have the current list of players who are active in professional, affiliated ball (over 175 players).

I also have the list of players who have played in pro, affiliated ball since the 2006 draft, but do not any longer (over 625 players).

One of the cool things about the Valley League is how many players go on to get paid for playing baseball. That should include the Independent Leagues, right? So my latest project is to build the list of former Valley Leaguers who have played in the Indy Leagues.

I am cross-referencing several lists- current pro players (17 players also played in the Indy leagues), previous pro players (I’m in the “H’s” in my research), and I’ve used thebaseballcube.com’s list of Valley League players by team since 2010.

I have to be careful, though- thebaseballcube notoriously has errors sprinkled throughout. (I was astonished a few years ago when I sent the webpage a message about one of his entries that was incorrect (a former Valley Leaguer, of course), and the answer I received was this: sponsor the page for $10 and I’ll fix it. Whaaaaaaat? Wouldn’t you want your information to be correct whether it was sponsored or not? Anyway, I’m careful with taking the site as gospel.

So, this is where I would love to have your help. If you have knowledge of Valley League alumni who have played Indy ball, please send me a message, either as a comment on my webpage or on the Facebook page. If the player appeared in the VBL between 2010 and 2016, I probably have his name already, but not necessarily. And if the player appeared in affiliated pro ball between 2006 and 2017, I probably have that, too, but not necessarily.

I have no idea how I’m going to keep up with this list from year to year, but I’m going to give it a shot. I would rather not cross-reference all 4,400 players on my master list….

Thank you to all who can help!

The All-Star Gala

Yesterday, over 50 Valley Leaguers gathered for the yearly All-Star game, held in Harrisonburg.

After batting practice, the position players went down the left field line to run the 60-yard dash, held in front of a number of scouts. The winner, to no one’s surprise, was Staunton’s Jay Charleston, whose time was listed at 6.4 seconds.

Next came the home run derby. It was a battle for two rounds, but then Strasburg’s Brandon Quaranta found his rhythm, and won the contest going away.

Brandon was tied with New Market’s Jake Washer with 4 home runs after the first two rounds, but Quaranta wowed the crowd with 12 longballs in the final round, ending the competition. In fact, after Brandon hit his 8th home run, Washer’s teammates started gently heckling Quaranta from the left field stands, as they realized the battle was over.

Quaranta ended up with 16 total home runs, Washer 8, Andrew Zban (Purcellville) 3, and Trevin Esquarra (Purcellville) and Tyler Martin (Strasburg) each hit one.

The second class of VBL Hall of Famers came next. Four of the inductees, Wayne Comer, Bo Trumbo, Sam Perlozzo, and Mo Weber, were in attendance. Each received a plaque that will be displayed in New Market, the home of the VBL Hall of Fame. Each present inductee also received a few minutes in between innings to speak to the crowd. (John Kruk, C.C. Michael, and Earl Shirkey were also inducted in absentia.)

The game itself saw the pitchers mostly dominate. As is often the case when pitchers throw one inning each, they can show their best stuff, and last night was no exception. The South’s nine pitchers remained unblemished, striking out 12 total batters, even though the North had a few baserunners throughout.

The South scored the only run it would really need in the 6th inning, when Payton Robertson singled and stole second, Joseph Bellini also singled, and Eric Jones hit a broken-bat grounder to bring Robertson home. The team scored twice more in the 8th, one on Caleb Walls’s RBI single, and the other on Kyle Battle’s single. In the 9th, Luke Robinson scored on a wild pitch, and Robertson scored again, this time on an Eric Jones double play grounder.

Ty Andrus (Harrisonburg and Wingate) was named the South’s MVP, as he went 4-5, and Danton Hyman (Woodstock and Newberry) was the North’s, as he also had a multi-hit game.

Many, many pictures to come!

(Click here to read the Valley League’s story on the game.)


Want to Know Where Current Pro Players Are From?

What a terrible title, but we’re going with it.

I’ve started working on a new project, one I should finish this weekend- I’m listing all pro players, both current and “retired,” by Valley League team (and within that, by season).

It’s always been fascinating to me to have this conversation- which teams have the most pro players? I was having a conversation with Staunton’s Steve Cox about a week ago, and I mentioned the 2006 New Market Rebels- the team that went 32-10 in the regular season. Right away, we were naming players from that squad- Joey Butler, Brandon Dickson, Gerard Haran….

So I was able to enter the current pro players yesterday, and I noticed something- some teams have tons of alumni playing, while others….. do….. not.

So I had to count them, of course. Ready? (By the way, I did not count Indy Ball players, OR foreign players)

  1. Harrisonburg Turks- 34
  2. Staunton Braves- 24
  3. Front Royal Cardinals- 19 (Hunter Newman was just released- bummer)
  4. Purcellville/Charles Town Cannons- 16
  5. Waynesboro Generals- 15
  6. Luray Wranglers and Winchester Royals- 14
  7. Haymarket/Aldie Senators- 12
  8. Covington Lumberjacks and Woodstock River Bandits- 10
  9. New Market Rebels and Strasburg Express- 8
  10. Charlottesville Tom Sox- 4

A couple thoughts here. First, Strasburg came into existence in 2011, and Charlottesville in 2015. Their numbers are smaller, most probably, for that reason.

Not to be too critical, but the number from New Market, Covington, and Woodstock is a little bit shocking. When you see Haymarket/Aldie with more even though the team folded after 2015….

And Luray still has 15 active, even though they were sold and moved after the 2012 season.

Of course, this can change very quickly- in fact, any of these teams could have free agents signed at any time.

Thoughts? Get a thread going!

League Release #2: Showcase Roster

And here is the roster of players heading to North Carolina for the summer showcase!

The Valley Baseball League has announced its traveling All-Star roster for the inaugural Southern Collegiate Showcase in Kannapolis, N.C.

The Southern Collegiate Showcase will feature the Southern Collegiate Baseball League, Valley Baseball League, Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, Sunbelt League and Florida Collegiate Summer League in a weekend event that will allow both fans and scouts to see some of the best baseball talent in the Southeast. The event will be held July 15-16 at Intimidators Stadium- the home of the Kannapolis Intimidators, a Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

The coaching staff will include Harrisonburg’s Bob Wease, Strasburg’s Butch Barnes, Purcellville’s Brett Fuller, Staunton’s George Laase, and Waynesboro’s Matt Williams.

While the regular Valley League All-Star Game guarantees at least one pitching and positional selection for every team and weighs that summer’s stats more heavily, for the Showcase the league sought to pick the best possible roster to both compete for three wins and highlight the VBL’s future professional prospects for the many scouts expected to be in attendance.

The coaching staff selected three catchers- Harrisonburg’s Tony Beam (Texas-San Antonio), Charlottesville’s Brandon Johnson (Richmond) and New Market’s Jake Washer (East Carolina)- and 16 pitchers as part of the 30-man squad.

The roster also reflects some of the great versatility in the Valley this summer. Purcellville’s Trevin Esquerra (Loyola Marymount) has played both first base and third base this season, and University of Tennessee outfielders Jay Charleston (Staunton) and Luc Lipcius (Front Royal) can also play infield. Strasburg slugger Brandon Quaranta (Philadelphia U) has a perfect 0.00 ERA in four relief appearances, and starting pitchers Deacon Medders (Staunton, Alabama) and Rick Spiers (Charlottesville, Randolph-Macon) lead their team in at least one major hitting category. These players set the VBL team up well should emergency roster situations arise over the course of 27+ innings in two days.

The Valley League is slated to open up the Showcase against the SCBL at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and play three games over two days.

LHP: Joshua Andrews, Front Royal, Grand Canyon University
LHP: Joe Burris, Charlottesville, Christopher Newport University
RHP: Chris Farish, Harrisonburg, Wake Forest University
RHP: Davis Kirkpatrick, Harrisonburg, East Carolina University
RHP: Conner Loeprich, Waynesboro, St. Mary’s College
RHP: Deacon Medders, Staunton, University of Alabama
RHP: Nate Pawelczyk, New Market, Winthrop University
RHP: Zach Peek, Strasburg, Winthrop University
LHP: Andrew Perez, Waynesboro, University of South Florida
RHP: Keven Pimentel, New Market, University of Tampa
RHP: Daniel Rivero, Staunton, University of Miami
RHP: Evan Sperling, Charlottesville, University of Virginia
RHP: Rick Spiers, Charlottesville, Randolph-Macon College
LHP: Grant Stewart, Harrisonburg, Florida State University
RHP: Thomas Sutera, Purcellville, Siena College
RHP: Daniel Tolano, Waynesboro, Tennessee Wesleyan College

C: Tony Beam, Harrisonburg, Texas-San Antonio
C: Brandon Johnson, Charlottesville, University of Richmond
C: Jake Washer, New Market, East Carolina University
1B: Vinnie Pasquantino, Charlottesville, Old Dominion University
1B/3B: Trevin Esquerra, Purcellville, Loyola Marymount University
2B: Mike Wielansky, Charlottesville, College of Wooster
SS: Cash Gladfelter, Woodstock, Shippensburg University
SS: Antwaun Tucker, Staunton, Longwood University
3B: Brendan Venter, Harrisonburg, Auburn University
OF: Ty Andrus, Harrisonburg, Wingate University
OF: Jay Charleston, Staunton, University of Tennessee
OF: Luc Lipcius, Front Royal, University of Tennessee
OF: Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg, Philadelphia University
OF: Cody Wilson, Winchester, Florida Atlantic University

Head Coach: Bob Wease
Assistant Coaches: Butch Barnes, Brett Fuller, George Laase, Matt Williams

League Release #1: Leadership Change

The league has sent ATVL two releases for public consumption. The first, this one, outlines the midseason change of leadership in the VBL. The second is the roster for the upcoming summer showcase in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Here is the change of leadership:

Following the retirement of Don Lemish, the Valley Baseball League Board of Directors has elected Bruce Alger as the new VBL President and Commissioner.

“52 years ago I started my tenure in the Valley Baseball League hanging numbers on the old scoreboard at Rebel Park,” said Alger. “I never could have dreamed or even imagined the day would come that I would be selected as League Commissioner and President. It’s been a fantastic journey over the years that has left me with many wonderful memories. It has become one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifetime.”

“I have served as the Executive Vice President of the Valley Baseball League for over ten years under two outstanding leaders, Dave Biery and Don Lemish,” Alger added. “Although they each had different and very distinct management skills, I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from each of them. I can easily incorporate that knowledge, and the success the league gained from that, into my own leadership characteristics as I strive to continue the positive momentum that has been passed on to me in promoting the Valley Baseball League nationwide. I very humbly accept the responsibilities and importance of the position in reaching for that goal.”

Lemish, who joined the league as Assistant to the President in 2011 and took over operations as President and Commissioner in November 2012, announced last week to the Board of Directors his intent to retire immediately.

Lemish said his age and a desire to spend more time with grandchildren at a second home in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. weighed heavily on his decision to retire from the position. He indicated it would not be prudent to try to run the league from such a distance.

Lemish cited the league’s Board of Directors as a group of “hard-working, baseball-loving, knowledgeable, volunteers who give so much of themselves for so little credit.” Their work and advice have made running the league a “special joy.”

Alger echoed that praise of the league’s staff and team representatives. “I have a tremendous group of high-quality, community leaders with the utmost integrity, serving as Officers and Board members,” he said. “They do the right things for the right reasons and I am looking forward to working with each of them as we attempt to raise the bar as a league united in accepting the challenges that await us. It is a very exciting opportunity as well as a significant challenge to take what is already a very successful organization to the next level. It will be a pleasure and honor for me to lead the charge as I represent all of the organizations and their people within the Valley Baseball League to the executives of the National Association of Collegiate Summer Baseball, Major League Baseball and beyond.”