No, Brilliant Reader, I just can’t help myself. The latest brainstorm was to do an organization report on each major league team- showing which former Valley Leaguers are in which systems.
But the logical way to do this, of course, is not to put the players on their potential major league team, but to put the players in their rightful home- the VL team they played for. As of this writing, there are 144 players in major league organizations, plus a couple more playing in a foreign league.
So we’ll start this series with a team that has a rightfully huge reputation for recruiting and developing quality pro players- the Luray Wranglers.
Even though the Wranglers were purchased and moved from Luray after the 2012 Valley League season, there are still a few players left in pro ball, even 6 years later.
- Daniel Murphy (2004-05): Murphy is one of the best players the league has ever produced- I fully expect him to make the VBL Hall of Fame someday. Daniel was drafted in the 13th round in 2006 (by the Mets), and has hit 299/345/459 in 1,189 games and 4,794 major league plate appearances (for a 119 OPS+). He has played in three all-star games, and has hit 323/407/613 in 108 postseason plate appearances, including 4 home runs in 17 at-bats while earning the NLCS MVP in 2015. Dan is currently on the disabled list, but will return to manning second base for the Nationals by the end of April. (He’s also getting paid $17,500,000 this season.) Daniel has been ATVL’s 2016 and 2017 major league hitter of the year as well.
- Yonder Alonso (2006): Alonso was drafted in the first round (7th overall) in 2008- the highest draft pick of all the current pro players. Yonder made his major league debut on September 1, 2010, and has hit 267/339/407 in 2,893 plate appearances for the Reds, Padres, A’s, and now, the Cleveland Indians. (He’s making $7 million this year.) Yonder was ATVL’s 2010 Triple-A hitter of the year.
- Eric Campbell (2006): Campbell was drafted by the Mets in the 8th round in 2008. He made his major league debut in May of 2014, and has hit 221/312/311 in 438 ML at-bats. He also played professionally for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan in 2017. Eric returned to the states, and is now in Triple-A in the Miami Marlins’ system. Eric was the 2012 Double-A and 2013 Triple-A hitter of the year on this site.
- Ryan Schimpf (2008): Schimpf, a 5th round pick in the 2009 draft, made his major league debut in June, 2016. In his parts of two major league seasons for the Padres (2016-17), Ryan hit 195/317/492 in 441 at-bats. Ryan is a “three true outcomes” hitter- when he’s at bat, it’s likely to result in either a walk, a strikeout, or a home run. Ryan was traded from the Padres to the Braves on March 5th, and then the Braves sent him to the Angels on March 31st. Ryan started in Triple-A, but has been called up already. He hit his first home run of the season on Sunday, April 8th.
- Alex Wimmers (2008): Wimmers was drafted 21st overall in 2010 by the Twins. He made his major league debut on August 26, 2016, and pitched in 22 ML games for Minnesota, going 1-3, 4.38, with a 1.662 WHIP in 24 2/3 innings pitched. Alex was signed by the Marlins in the offseason, and is currently at Triple-A New Orleans.
- Drew Rucinski (2008-2010): Rucinski wasn’t drafted; he was signed as a free agent by the Indians out of Indy ball in 2011. He was released and went back to Indy ball in 2012 and 2013. The Angels signed him in late 2013, and he started his climb to the majors- he made his major league debut on July 10, 2014. He pitched in the majors in 2014, 2015, and with the Twins in 2017. He, like Campbell and Wimmers, signed with the Marlins in the offseason, and is now at Triple-A New Orleans. Drew was ATVL’s 2014 Double-A pitcher of the year.
- Jacob Wilson (2009): Wilson was a 10th round draft pick in 2012 out of Memphis. He hasn’t played in the majors; over 2,061 minor league at-bats, he’s hit 248/327/426 with 119 doubles and 80 home runs. He was drafted by the Cardinals, but the Nationals scooped him up in the Rule 5 draft this offseason. He’s currently at Double-A Harrisburg in the Eastern League (where he hit a home run in each of his first two games).
- Nick Rickles (2010): Nick was drafted by the A’s in the 14th round in 2011. He’s hit 246/280/375 in 1,232 minor league at-bats. He’s currently with Lehigh Valley, the Phillies’ Triple-A club. Nick and his wife had their first child in January.
- Garrett Kennedy (2012): Garrett was a 14th round pick in 2015 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his 3 seasons with the Dodgers, he advanced as far as Double-A Tulsa, but the Dodgers sold him to the Seattle Mariners this spring, and they assigned him to Triple-A Tacoma. Over 652 minor league at-bats, Garrett has hit 219/303/356.
- Austin Gomber (2012): Drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 draft by the Cardinals, Austin has made it all the way to Triple-A Memphis. He was ATVL’s 2015 A-ball and 2017 Double-A pitcher of the year. In 456 minor league innings, Austin has gone 34-20, 2.86, with a 1.127 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and 8.6 K/9. He’ll play in the major leagues at some point. Click here to read Austin’s prospect writeup.
- Ryan Yarbrough (2012): Also drafted in the 4th round in 2014 by Seattle, Yarbrough is the latest to make the majors- he made his debut on March 31, 2018. Traded to Tampa Bay before the 2017 season, Ryan has gone 29-19, 3.22, with a 1.151 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, and 8.6 K/9 in 425 minor league innings. Ryan was pitcher of the year the following times: 2014 short-season, 2016 Double-A, and 2017 Triple-A. Click here to read Ryan’s prospect writeup.
- One last one- Elih Villanueva (2007): Drafted in 2008 by the Marlins, Elih pitched in one major league game back in 2011. Last in Boston’s minor league system, Elih has made the roster for Chinatrust Brothers, a team in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Elih was ATVL’s 2010 Double-A pitcher of the year.