A Look at BA’s 2009 Top Prospect List

I think 10 years is enough, don’t you? Like we did with Baseball America’s 2008 top prospect list back in October, it’s time to see how BA did with the next year’s list.

As always, remember that hindsight is 20/20, and prospect lists are pretty hard to do. (I learned this myself after the 2018 Valley League season.) Also keep in mind that it’s altogether possible that some of the “misses” did not reach BA’s minimum at-bats or innings pitched threshold.

Haymarket won the only title in franchise history in 2009 after a 22-22 regular season. The Senators defeated the Covington Lumberjacks in the finals, 3 games to 1.

Let’s get started!

BA’s List

1. Daniel Bowman, of, Luray (So., Coastal Carolina)
2. Johnny Dishon, of, Staunton (So., Louisiana State)
3. Drew Rucinski, rhp, Luray (Jr., Ohio State)
4. Michael Lang, of, Haymarket (Jr., Rutgers)
5. Stephen McQuail, 3b, Front Royal (Jr., Canisius)
6. Todd Brazeal, 1b, Staunton (So., South Florida)
7. Greg Hopkins, 3b, Haymarket (Jr., St. John’s)
8. Pablo Bermudez, of, Luray (So., Florida International)
9. Bobby Rauh, of, Winchester (SIGNED: Braves)
10. Chris Sorce, rhp, Harrisonburg (SIGNED: Mariners)

Hits (8 of the 10 played organized ball)

  • Bowman was not drafted, but after two seasons of crushing the Independent Frontier League, he was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played in 69 games at three different levels in 2014 before being released.
  • Dishon was drafted in the 42nd round by the Brewers in 2010. He played 4 seasons in the minors, slashing 240/338/357 in 948 plate appearances, topping out in the Florida State League.
  • Rucinski was a big hit. Oddly, he pitched 3 seasons in the Valley, but only made BA’s list this one time. He was undrafted, like Bowman, and went to pitch in the Indy Leagues. He was signed by Cleveland, released after one season, went back to the Frontier League, and was picked up by the Angels. Drew eventually made the majors with the Angels in 2014, and has pitched in 41 major league games, going 4-4, 5.33, with a 1.59 WHIP. He spent 2018 with the Miami Marlins.
  • Lang, like Bowman and Rucinski, was undrafted and got started in Independent ball; in Lang’s case, for Sioux City of the American Association. He was signed by the Diamondbacks, and spent 2012 and 2013 in the minor leagues, hitting 261/323/417 in 142 games. After his release, he returned to Sioux City, and has spent the rest of his career there- and is still active! He’s hit 304/373/432 in 473 games there. He owns some franchise records; he must be a fan favorite in Iowa!
  • McQuail, the VBL HR Derby champ in 2009, was picked in the 30th round of the 2010 draft by the Blue Jays. After two seasons in the minors, he played in the Indy Frontier League for 2012 and 2013, before, as what has seemingly happened to all these guys, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed him. He played 2014 and 2015 in the ‘Backs’ system, reaching Triple-A, before heading back to the Indy Leagues for the end of 2015. He hit 238/309/432 in 223 minor league games.
  • Hopkins, the Valley League MVP in 2009, was picked in the 24th round in the 2010 draft by the Brewers. In his five seasons in the minor leagues, Greg hit 245/296/354. He played in almost 100 games at the end of his career for Somerset in the Atlantic League as well.
  • Bobby Rauh was signed before this list even came out; he played 95 minor league games in his career, hitting 227/311/305. Bobby stole 37 bases in the VBL in 2009, which was the most since 2004 until Jay Charleston stole 39 in 2017. He was an assistant coach for Winchester in 2012, and head coach for Charles Town in 2013. He’s now a salesman for medical equipment.
  • Chris Sorce was also signed before the end of the summer; he subsequently spent four seasons in the Seattle Mariner’s system, going 19-17, 4.97, with a 1.493 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and 6.7 K/9 in 302 2/3 innings pitched.

Misses (From the list)

  • Todd Brazeal played all four years at South Florida, hitting 282/397/412 in 742 at-bats. He was a 2nd team College Freshman All-American in 2009, but went undrafted after his college eligibility expired.
  • Pablo Bermudez played for four years at Florida International, winning the Player of the Year award in the Sunbelt League in his junior year after hitting 373/488/524. He went undrafted, and played one year in the Frontier League in 2013.

Notable Players Missed (Not on the list)

  • Sherman Johnson, 2B, Covington (Florida State): Johnson made his major league debut this past September, and has 11 plate appearances at the game’s highest level.
  • Guido Knudson, RHP, Woodstock (Cal, San Diego): Knudson pitched in four games in the majors in 2015 with the Detroit Tigers. He pitched in 187 minor leagues games.
  • Jack Leathersich, LHP, Haymarket (UMass-Lowell): Leathersich has always had an electric arm, and has pitched 16 2/3 major league innings, striking out 21 batters, while walking 13.
  • Tommy La Stella, 2B, Haymarket (Coastal Carolina): An 8th round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2011, Tommy has been mostly in the majors the last five seasons, hitting 264/345/366 in 396 games and 818 at-bats. He’s mostly a pinch hitter for the Cubs, and has been recently traded to the Angels.

Re-Do!

1. Tommy La Stella, 2B, Haymarket (Coastal Carolina)
2. Drew Rucinski, RHP, Luray (Jr., Ohio State)
3. Jack Leathersich, LHP, Haymarket (UMass-Lowell)
4. Sherman Johnson, 2B, Covington (Florida State)
5. Guido Knudson, RHP, Woodstock (Cal-San Diego)
6. Corey Williams, LHP, Winchester (Vanderbilt)
7. Greg Hopkins, 3b, Haymarket (St. John’s)
8. Jared Simon, OF, Front Royal (Tampa)
9. Jacob Wilson, 2B, Luray (Memphis)
10. Johnny Dishon, OF, Staunton (Louisiana State)

The top five have all played in the major leagues, while the bottom five were all pretty high draft picks. You could make the case for Riley Cooper, too, who played in the NFL for six seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles (and Haymarket in 2009). He was a better football prospect than baseball one, I believe.

Nine players from the 2008 VBL season played in the majors, with only five from 2009, and only two of those with any lasting impact.

What do you think, Brilliant Reader? Would you like to see the 2010 list?

 

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