With an awesome extra day of the 2018 major league season happening today (will I be able to stream these games? I hope so!), but the playoff teams determined, let’s take a quick look at former Valley Leaguers who might play a role in the playoffs. There are 13 total guys, but not all will play:
Atlanta Braves (NL East champs)
The Braves have seven former VBLers in their organization, but none at the major league level.
Boston Red Sox (AL East champs)
The Red Sox have two players who appeared in major league games this year, but I’m not sure if they will make Boston’s playoff roster:
- Tyler Thornburg (Winchester 2008): Tyler worked his way back from injury this year, appearing in 25 games for the Sox, and going 2-0, 5.63, with a 1.58 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, and 7.9 K/9 in 24 innings.
- Robby Scott (Covington 2010): Robby appeared in 9 games, going 0-1, 8.10, with a 2.25 WHIP, 6.8 BB/9, and 10.8 K/9 in 6 2/3 innings. (I would be surprised if he made the postseason roster, but he’ll most likely still be with the team. Look for him in those dugout shots!)
Chicago Cubs (Either NL Central champs or NL Wild Card)
- Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05): A midseason pickup by the Cubs, Daniel has hit 299/337/457 in 347 total at-bats in 2018. He’s been with the Cubs for 34 games, after 56 with the Nationals. It was back in 2015 when Murphy went bonkers in the playoffs for the Mets, winning the NLCS MVP after 4 home runs in 4 games.
- Tommy La Stella (Haymarket 2009): A pinch-hitter by trade, Tommy hit 268/342/333 in 168 at-bats… in 122 games! We might see him at the plate in a crucial situation at some point.
Cleveland Indians (AL Central champs)
- Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006): Yonder had his second straight season of 20+ home runs, hitting 250/317/421 with 23 dingers. He’ll be starting at first base.
- Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-07): Jason has struggled a bit this season, hitting 230/315/389, with 18 home runs. We might see him at second base (131 games in 2018) or the outfield (14).
Colorado Rockies (NL West champs or NL Wild Card)
- Sam Howard (Staunton 2012) was called up in September, and has thrown 4 innings. I can’t imagine that he’ll be active for the playoffs.
Houston Astros (AL West Champs)
- Will Harris (Staunton 2003): Will is an important arm in the Astro bullpen, expecially after going 5-3, 3.49, with a 1.094 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and 10.2 K/9 in 56 2/3 innings.
- Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011): The Dragon will also get some important innings for Houston. He’s gone 2-3, 4.18, with a 1.162 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9 in 47 1/3 innings this summer.
- Tyler White (Haymarket 2010): I love what Tyler has done this summer. He’s slashed 276/354/533 in 210 at-bats, with 12 doubles, 3 triples, and 12 home runs. He has a 143 OPS+! He and his beard will get some important at-bats.
Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West champs or NL Wild Card)
The Dodgers have three players from the Valley League in their organization, but none at the major league level.
Milwaukee Brewers (NL Central champs or NL Wild Card)
- Erik Kratz (Waynesboro 2000, Harrisonburg 2001)! Erik was traded from the Yankees to the Brewers on May 25th, and has been the backup catcher since then, hitting 241/285/362 in 199 at-bats. Erik was on the Royals when they won the world series in 2015, but he didn’t appear in a game. Hopefully he can get his first postseason experience this year.
New York Yankees (AL Wild Card)
- Brett Gardner (New Market 2003-04): Brett has hit 236/322/368 in 530 at-bats this season, with 12 hoem runs and 16 stolen bases. He’s still an excellent defender, and has, according to baseball-reference, earned 3.1 WAR this season. He’ll most likely be in left field.
Oakland A’s (AL Wild Card)
- Emilio Pagan (Harrisonburg 2010): Emilio is part of the vaunted Oakland bullpen, going 3-1, 4.35, with a 1.194 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and 9.1 K/9 in 62 innings this season.