The ‘Jacks rival the Luray Wranglers on the upper end of their pro players, but lately, there haven’t been as many players drafted. In fact, just three pro players are still active from 2013 to today.
Let’s take a look:
- Collin Cowgill (2005), 5th round draft pick in 2008: Collin was drafted out of Kentucky, and made his major league debut in 2011 for the Diamondbacks. He’s not a large man (he’s 5-foot-9), but he has played in 317 major league games over 6 different seasons. He’s earned 3.4 WAR- not bad! He’s currently at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the Phillies’ affiliate, where he’s batted 38 times so far this season. He was also the 2011 Triple-A Hitter of the Year. (Collin’s brother Michael, who played at JMU, also played for the Lumberjacks in 2005, but did not go on to a pro career.)
- Jason Kipnis (2006-07), 2nd round in 2009: Jason ripped through the VBL in 2007, when he was named ATVL’s first top hitter. He made his MLB debut in 2011 for the Indians. He has hit 265/337/416 in 3,409 major league at-bats, which equals a 105 OPS+. He’s earned 19.7 career WAR. He was named ATVL’s 2013 and 2015 major league Hitter of the Year… and also made the major league All-Star game in both of those years.
- Stephen Cardullo (2007), 24th round in 2010: Stephen played affiliated ball for 2 years, and then spent 4 years in Indy Ball before he got a second chance with the Rockies. He went to Triple-A in 2016, and absolutely mashed his way to a big league cameo. He has spent parts of ’16 and 2017 in the majors, but mostly in the minor leagues. He is currently back in Triple-A Albuquerque. He was also named the 2016 Triple-A Hitter of the Year.
- Sherman Johnson (2009-10), 14th round pick in 2012: Sherman is right on the cusp of the majors- he’s spent parts of 2016, 2017, and now 2018 in Triple-A in the Angels’ system. He’s quite good at controlling the strike zone; he’s walked 434 career times, and struck out 529. He has a career .365 OBP. Will he get the call at some point in 2018?
- Robby Scott (2010), free agent in 2011: Robby snuck up on me; I didn’t have him on my pro lists until he made his major league debut in 2016. He has pitched in 64 major league games in ’16 and ’17, but is currently in Triple-A Pawtucket. (But not for long; he’s struck out 14 batters in 8 2/3 innings there… he’ll be up soon.)
- Anthony Dimino (2013), 28th round in 2015 by the New York Mets: Anthony has worked his way up to High-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League. Over 603 minor league plate appearances, he’s hit 313/401/373. As a part-time catcher, this kind of bat will keep him around for a while.
- Jose Carrera (2014-16), free agent sign in 2017: Jose is the ‘Jacks very own Jose Altuve- Jose is listed at 5-foot-2, but he was very, very good in Covington in his three years in the Valley. He played in the Gulf Coast League last summer (hitting 276/396/366 in 123 at-bats), but has not been assigned to a full season team in 2018.
- Michael Gigliotti (2015), 4th round pick in 2017 by the Kansas City Royals: Michael is a legit prospect. Drafted out of Lipscomb University, Michael hit 320/420/456 in his first pro season, split between Burlington in the Appalachian League and Lexington in the South Atlantic League. Back at Lexington for 2018, Michael batted 17 times before getting injured in the middle of April. He’s like Sherman Johnson in that he controls the strike zone; so far in pro ball, he has a perfectly equal 46/46 BB/K ratio.