Quick Link Dump

I’ve been super busy lately- thus the trickle of posts.

Tonight I have a few links for you to peruse at your leisure….

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

2016 Minor League Free Agents

The carousel has started spinning.

For minor league players, the time may come when they are minor league free agents, which means they can offer their services to any major league team. This is a far cry from major league free agency, when players are paid millions upon millions of dollars along with a multi-year deal. Minor league free agents are often looking for a little raise and a spring training invitation. Most of these players are signed as organizational depth, with the chance to be added to the 40-man roster and a major league appearance or two, if they’re lucky.

After a player is drafted, the “uniform player contract” can be renewed six times, and then the player is either a free agent or is added to the 40-man roster. So for 2010 draftees, their contract can be renewed through 2016, and if not on the 40-man, they are free (technically 5 days after the World Series ends, that is).

Baseball America lists 534 players who fit this designation this offseason. Eleven of them are former Valley Leaguers. Here they are:

  1. Drew Rucinski (Luray 2009-10). Drew pitched for the Los Angeles Angels in the majors in 2014 and 2015 (in 7 games), and spent 2016 in Triple-A Iowa of the Cubs’ system.
  2. Chris Berset (Winchester 2008). Chris, a catcher, was drafted by the Reds in the 20th round in 2010. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game, and he spent 2016 in Triple-A Louisville.
  3. Tyler Bortnick (Front Royal 2006). Tyler was drafted in the 16th round in 2009 by the Tampa Bay Rays. He has spent time in the Diamondbacks’, Mariners’, and Tigers’ systems as well. He played in three different levels for the Tigers in 2016. He has not reached the majors.
  4. Alex Fernandez (Staunton 2012). Alex is a free agent because he was released by the Marlins during the 2016 season. He was signed by the Tigers, but now he’s back on the market.
  5. Rico Noel (Covington 2008). Rico appeared in 15 games for the Yankees in 2015, and spent most of 2016 in Triple-A Oklahoma City, toiling in the Dodgers’ system.
  6. Alex Wimmers (Luray 2008). Alex was a first round pick, #21 overall, of the Twins in 2010. He pitched in 16 games in the majors in 2016.
  7. Eric Campbell (Luray 2006). Eric has played in parts of three seasons for the Mets in the majors, racking up 505 plate appearances.
  8. Eddy Rodriguez (Luray 2006-07). Eddy appeared in two games with the Padres way back in 2012… but he hit a home run in one of his five at-bats. Eddy spent 2016 on the Yankee’s Triple-A team in the International League.
  9. Kevin Munson (Covington 2008). The former JMU Duke appeared in 19 games for Triple-A Tacoma in 2016, after a stint in Indy Ball. He has not pitched in the majors yet.
  10. Scott Copeland (Staunton 2007). Scott pitched in five major league games for the Blue Jays- all in 2015. He also pitched in 13 games in Korea in 2016, and the rest of the way for Triple-A Buffalo, back in the Jays’ system.
  11. Erik Kratz (Waynesboro, Harrisonburg 2000, 2001). Over 7 years, Erik has appeared in 225 games, and has a total of 599 at-bats in the major leagues (for 5 different teams). Erik helped get this blog off the ground way back in November of 2006, when he sat down for a huge interview with ATVL.

Hopefully all 11 of these players will be able to continue their careers in 2017! ATVL will keep everyone posted as anything develops!

#4 Hitter: Carter Pharis, Strasburg

Carter Pharis UAB 2016According to ATVL, the 4th best hitter in the 2016 Valley League season is Strasburg’s Carter Pharis!

The UAB sophomore had an outstanding summer season for the Express, hitting 342/440/535 in 40 games and 155 at-bats, along with 35 runs scored, 30 RBIs, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and an outstanding 21/19 BB/K ratio. In his (probable) best games, he hit 3 doubles on July 14th against Purcellville, and went 4-7 with 3 runs and 4 RBIs on June 25th at Woodstock. He finished 5th in the league in batting average, 6th in on-base percentage, 5th in slugging percentage, 3rd in runs, 2nd in hits, tied for 2nd in doubles, and tied for 2nd in RBIs.

He didn’t stop hitting in the playoffs, either. In 7 games and 30 at-bats, Carter had 12 hits, 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, and scored 7 runs. He also went 1-2 with a double in the all-star game. After the season, Carter was named 2nd team All-Valley League at third base.

We shouldn’t have been surprised, as Carter hit 297/386/406 in his freshman year at UAB. He added 23 runs, 36 RBIs, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, and a solid 25/33 BB/K ratio in 192 at-bats. He really was the best run producer in the lineup: he finished 1st on the team in batting average and RBIs, 2nd in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and 3rd in hits and walks. Whoa.

Congrats on an excellent season, Carter!

(Rich Cooley, Daily)

(Rich Cooley, Daily)

League Record Book: Stolen Bases

In the last installment of the Valley League record book for hitters since 2004, we have stolen bases (along with caught stealing). Here they are:

SB Att
1 Bobby Rauh Winchester 2009 37 41
2 Drew Martinez Luray 2009 36 37
3 Lammar Guy Covington 2009 35 44
4 Rico Noel Covington 2008 33 38
5 Brady Wilson Winchester 2011 32 34
Jay Gonzalez Harrisonburg 2011 32 38
7 Shane Justis Staunton 2004 31 33
Andy Perez Harrisonburg 2013 31 38
Justin Harris Charles Town 2014 31 37
Nick Sinay Front Royal 2014 31 40

Just for the record, Jose Carrera, from Covington, led the 2016 league with 29 stolen bases… and 0 caught stealing.

Bobby Rauh and Drew Martinez are the only former minor leaguers on the list, Rico Noel is the only major leaguer, and Jay Gonzalez, Andy Perez, and Nick Sinay are the current minor leaguers.

Pitchers are next!

League Record Book: Walks (for Hitters)

We’re almost through the hitter section in our Valley League record book (since 2004)- all we have left is walks and stolen bases!

First, the walks:

1 Jason Kipnis Covington 2007 49
2 Pat Irvine Waynesboro 2007 48
3 Mike Schwartz Harrisonburg 2009 43
Jay Gonzalez Harrisonburg 2011 43
Mike Marcinko Waynesboro 2014 43
6 Sanchez Gartman New Market 2009 42
Ryan Sullivan Covington 2012 42
8 Chris Aninos Waynesboro 2007 41
Nathan Minnich Winchester 2011 41
Jordan Tarsovich Strasburg 2013 41

Major Leaguer: Jason Kipnis (Walking 49 times in one VBL season?!?)

Current Minor Leaguers: Jay Gonzalez, Jordan Tarsovich

Former Minor Leaguers: Pat Irvine, Mike Schwartz, Nathan Minnich

#5 Hitter: Jonathan Pryor, Harrisonburg

(Austin Bachand / DN-R)

(Austin Bachand / DN-R)

Welcome to the top five!

According to ATVL, the 5th best hitter in the 2016 Valley League season is Harrisonburg’s Jonathan Pryor, from Wake Forest!

Jonathan was a critical bat in the middle of the Turk lineup. Over 36 games and 120 at-bats, he hit 358/463/508, with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, 30 runs scored, 26 RBIs, and a stellar 24/22 BB/K ratio. He finished 3rd in the league in batting average. He went 1-3 in the all-star game (along with 2 RBIs and a walk), and went 2-8 with a double in the playoffs. The Valley League named him 1st Team All-Valley in the outfield. His best game was on June 26th against the Express, when he went 4-5, with 3 runs, a double, 3 RBIs, and a stolen base.

The current senior has seen action in three different seasons for the Demon Deacons. In 2014, as a freshman, Jonathan hit 179/200/179 in only 28 at-bats. He really took off as a sophomore, when he hit 316/366/384 in 48 games and 177 at-bats. He added 9 doubles and 1 home run, while he scored 35 runs and drove in 11. He walked 5 times that year against 40 strikeouts.

As a junior in the spring of 2016, Pryor hit 247/421/313 in 166 at-bats, with 8 doubles, 1 home run, 39 runs, 17 RBIs, and a much better 39/51 BB/K ratio. Oddly enough, Jonathan has seen action in 5 different summer leagues now. In 2014 he played in the Perfect Game and New England Collegiate Leagues. In 2015 he played in the Coastal Plain League, and in the season just concluded he played in the Valley League and joined the Cape Cod League in August.

Congratulations on your excellent summer, Jonathan!