Three more Valley Leaguers have been named an “organization all-star” by milb.com!
Two are less-heralded on this site, while the third has received plenty of attention, as he made his major league debut in 2015.
First, the two from the St. Louis Cardinals. Jacob Wilson (Luray 2009) was named the Cardinal all-star at third base, and Austin Gomber (Luray 2012) was named the left-handed starter all-star by Kelsie Heneghan. Their writeups:
Third baseman — Jacob Wilson, Springfield (34 games), Memphis (89 games): Following a breakout campaign in 2014, Wilson produced another dominant year. While he missed time while participating in the Pan Am Games, the 25-year-old led the organization with 18 homers and tied Voit with 77 RBIs.
Wilson spent most of the season at third base but also took reps at second and in left field as he provides flexibility for the Cardinals down the road.
“Jacob has the versatility defensively and has moved through the system with steady production at every level,” [Cardinals director of player development Gary] LaRocque said.
Left-handed starter — Austin Gomber, Peoria (22 games): In his first full Minor League season, Gomber led Cardinals southpaws with 140 strikeouts while besting the organization with 15 wins as he shared Pitcher of the Year honors with Reyes.
“Austin was selected co-winner of the Cardinals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award after his strong year in the Midwest League,” LaRocque said. “He challenged hitters well and showed good command.”
Gomber got better as the season went on, with August being his best month. The 22-year-old held Midwest League foes to two runs — one earned — on 14 hits and seven walks while striking out 32 over 25 2/3 innings in four starts in the summer’s final month.
Both from Luray, but a few years apart. Wilson may make his major league debut in 2016, and Gomber, with another dominant year, will start showing up on more prospect lists!
The third player, the more heralded one, is former Harrisonburg Turk Mac Williamson (2011). Mac made his MLB debut in 2015, and also played in the Arizona Fall League. Don’t be surprised if he makes the Giants’ opening day roster in 2016. His paragraph, written by Robert Emrich:
Utility — Mac Williamson, Richmond (69 games), Sacramento (54 games): A year after being limited to 23 games following Tommy John surgery, Williamson advanced all the way to Triple-A. The 25-year-old combined for 43 extra-base hits, including 13 homers, and finished fourth in the system with 73 RBIs while putting up an .801 OPS in 123 games. After struggling early in his Pacific Coast League stint, San Francisco’s No. 13 prospect homered seven times in his final 44 games with the River Cats.
“We asked Mac to make some adjustments mechanically in his swing, and we think he did a great job,” [Giants director of player development Shane] Turner said. “It’s the ability to control your emotions and understand the bigger picture. It’s easy for me to say, but if you’re 1-for-15, it’s hard to keep applying those adjustments. I thought [hitting coach] Andy Skeels did a great job with him by keeping his mind in the right place. He worked on those things religiously, worked with Skeels postgame in video. he’s moving in the right direction.
“Mac’s a strong-willed guy. He’s been through a lot in his career, going through Tommy John, he’d have to remind himself every now and then about the bigger picture. Really good makeup.”
Congratulations to all three players!