The Rebs are one of the flagship teams in the Valley League; in terms of the pure number of words written about each team, the Rebels have to have lapped the field, with the amazing ambience at Rebel Field, with the mountains in the background, with the amazing community support….. an entire book published about the team…
But when it comes to current pro players, the total number just isn’t as large as some other teams. In fact, New Market’s last pro player came from the 2014 team. No Rebels have been drafted from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 team (yet). They have some big, big names, though…
- Brad Ziegler (2000): Huge success story. The Phillies drafted Brad in 2003, but cut him loose before the 2004 season. He caught on in the indy Northern League, and after 24 completely dominating innings, signed with the Oakland A’s. He started his way up the ladder, making his major league debut in 2008. He has carved out more than ten years in the majors, going 33-35, 2.71, with 97 saves, a 1.259 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and 6.0 K/9 in 654 1/3 innings pitched. He is currently 38 years old, and still pitching for the Miami Marlins.
- Brett Gardner (2003-04), 3rd round pick of the Yankees in 2005: Another huge success. Brett has all kinds of cool stories floating around him, like he was really cut by his college team (College of Charleston), but no one told him, so he just kept showing up. Apochryphal? A good story, true or not. Anyway, Brett made his major league debut for the Yankees in 2008, and, like Ziegler, has now spent more than a decade in the show. Brett has hit 263/347/391 in 4,286 at-bats, and led the league in triples in 2013, and stolen bases in 2011. (I’ve heard some people speculate that if the Yankees were Derek Jeter’s team from 1996 until ???, then they should be called Gardner’s team since Jeter declined and then retired.) Anyway, Brett was ATVL’s 2014 Major League Hitter of the Year as well.
- Chad Kuhl (2012), 9th round pick in 2013 by the Pirates: A THIRD monster success story. Chad blasted through the Pirates’ minor league system after being drafted in 2013. Chad has just made his 50th major league start- a milestone that, over history, not many VBLers have reached. Over his (first) 50 starts, Chad has gone 16-16, 4.33, with a 1.432 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, and 7.7 K/9 in 255 2/3 innings. He was ATVL’s 2014 A-ball, 2015 Double-A, and 2016 Triple-A Pitcher of the Year. Will he win the major league one this year?
- Garrett Boulware (2012), 16th round pick in 2014 of the Reds: Garrett has hit 244/316/324 in 888 minor league at-bats (how’s that for a number?). The catcher is currently at Double-A Pensacola.
- Reed Garrett (2013), 16th round pick in 2014 by the Rangers: Currently at Triple-A Round Rock, Reed has gone 22-24, 5.09, with 10 saves, a 1.453 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, and 7.1 K/9 in 382 innings in the minor leagues. He’s one step away from the major leagues….
- Joseph Camacho (2013), free agent signee in 2016 by the A’s: In 69 pro innings, Joseph has gone 5-6, 2.87, with 4 saves, a 1.145 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.3 K/9 in 69 innings. He’s listed on Double-A Midland’s team, but he has not seen action yet in 2018.
- Jimmy Kerrigan (2014), free agent signee of the Twins in 2017: Jimmy started out in the independent Frontier League, but is now with Fort Myers in the Florida State League. He’s having a great 2018; he’s currently hitting 359/416/603 in his first 78 at-bats, and was named hitter of the week in the FSL on April 22nd. (Jimmy is a Philly boy, but went to VCU for college.)
Plus two more to keep an eye on:
- Brandon “Cotton” Dickson (2006), free agent sign in 2006, straight out of New Market, by the Cardinals: Brandon pitched in 8 games in the majors for St. Louis in 2011 and 2012, In 2013, he signed with the Orix Buffaloes in the Japan Pacific League, and is still with the team today. I would LOVE to have a chance to interview Brandon someday about his experience overseas.
- Joey Butler (2006), still a free agent, but played 102 games in the majors, and 918 in the minors since being drafted in 2008.