There have been a few developments in the area of transactions for former Valley League players now in professional ball. I’ve split them into two categories: releases and free agents.
- Keenan Bartlett (Winchester 2015), fresh off an ATVL rookie-level pitcher of the year award in 2017, was released by the San Francisco Giants in October. In 22 games at three different levels in 2018, he went 2-2, 4.81, with a 1.30 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, and 6.9 K/9 in 39 1/3 innings. He was drafted in the 31st round in 2017.
- Anthony DiMino (Covington 2013) was released by the Mets, leaving the entire organization with one VBL alum (Patrick Mazeika). Anthony, a 28th round pick in 2015, has actually hit pretty well in his pro career. Over 720 at-bats, he slashed 303/383/372, with a solid 90/108 BB/K ratio.
- Chris Farish (Harrisonburg 2016) was cut loose by the Detroit Tigers, also leaving just one VBL player in the organization (Drew Crosby). Chris got to pitch in a total of 4 games in the Gulf Coast League after signing as a free agent, throwing 4 shutout innings and earning 3 saves.
- Eric Stout (Waynesboro 2012) was released by the Kansas City Royals, even though he made his major league debut in 2018. He appeared in 3 games for the Royals, and gave up 6 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Back at Triple-A Omaha, he went 3-3, 4.75, with a 1.51 WHIP and 2.1/7.2 BB/K/9.
- Adam Liberatore (Waynesboro 2007-08) was released by the Dodgers in September. Adam appeared in 17 games in the majors this year, going 2-1, 2.77, with a 1.385 WHIP, 5.5 BB/9, and 8.3 K/9 in 13 innings.
- Austin Hale (Waynesboro 2015) was released by the Twins in August, even after he was just drafted in the 28th round just this June. Austin was assigned to the Gulf Coast League, where he hit 232/290/357 in 56 at-bats.
- Ted Andrews (Front Royal 2017) was released by the Chicago White Sox in September. He was a 37th round pick in 2017, and appeared in 13 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League in ’17, going 0-0, 2.25, with a 1.667 WHIP, 9.8 BB/9, and 7.5 K/9 in 12 innings. He didn’t pitch in 2018.
- Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05): The 3-year contract Daniel signed with the Nationals has ended, and he is now a free agent. In his age-33 season, Daniel missed quite a bit of time due to injuries, but in 91 games and 328 at-bats hit 299/336/454, with an OPS+ of 106. It sure seems like he can still produce at the game’s highest level!
- Jon Jay (Staunton 2004) has also filed for free agency. Also in his age-33 season, Jay hit 268/330/347 in 527 at-bats split between Kansas City and Arizona. He had an OPS+ of 83 while playing all three outfield spots.
- Cliff Pennington (Harrisonburg 2003): Cliff started the season in Cincinnati, where he appeared in 16 games and hit 138/265/138. He was released on May 17th, but signed immediately with the Texas Rangers, and spent the rest of 2018 with Triple-A Round Rock.
- Scott Copeland (Staunton 2007): Scott was a free agent after the 2017 season, too, and signed with the New York Mets. He spent most of the year bouncing between Double and Triple-A, but got a brief callup to New York, in which he threw 1 1/3 shutout innings.
- Brett Gardner (New Market 2003-04) is included here because he almost became a free agent, but he and the Yankees worked out a deal on the last day (yesterday). The Yankees decided to decline a $12.5 million club option for 2019, but instead of buying out Brett’s contract with $2 million, they resigned the 35-year old to a one-year, $7.5 million deal. Brett, the current longest-tenured Yankee, hit 236/322/368 in 140 games and 530 at-bats for the Yanks in 2018.