Official League Website
Valley League top 35 prospects (list)
most any count, the Harrisonburg Turks and Winchester Royals were the
best teams in the Valley League in 2011. They posted the best
regular-season records at 32-12 and 29-15, respectively, and
dominated the accompanying list of the league’s 35 best prospects,
with 14 selections between them.
neither the Turks nor the Royals was able to put the finishing touch
on otherwise special seasons as they were both upset in the
semi-final round of the league’s eight-team playoff, leaving the
Covington Lumberjacks and Rockbridge Rapids, league also-rans, to
battle for the title. Both those teams limped into the playoffs with
21-23 records, and Covington managed to get hot when it counted most
by winning six of eight playoff contests.
outfielder Mac Williamson was singled out as the league’s best
prospect after finishing second in all three triple-crown
categories—batting (.381), homers (10) and RBIs (38)—even as he
missed 10 games altogether, including the final week of the season
when he fouled a ball off his shin. The absence of his big bat in the
heart of the Turks lineup was especially missed in the team’s
two-game playoff sweep at the hands of Rockbridge.
the Covington and Rockbridge rosters were even more depleted by the
time they met in the final, mostly because of late-season player
defections, and Covington managed to win the title with just 16
active players on its roster for the playoffs, including just six
pitchers. Rockbridge was so thin on pitching in the championship
round that it was forced to start outfielder Tyler Molinaro in the
deciding game, even though Molinaro had not pitched a game all
season. Predictably, he lasted less than two innings as Covington
jumped out to an early 5-0 lead on its way to a 10-4 win.
Covington nor Rockbridge was much of a factor in the accompanying
list of the league’s top prospects. Only one Lumberjacks player
cracked the top 20, righthander Tyler Duffie, but he had long since
left for home by the time the his team completed its unlikely run to
a league title.
season’s league final was reminiscent of 2009, when the Nos. 7-8
seeds, Haymarket and Covington, reached the final series. Haymarket,
22-22 in the regular season, won seven of eight playoff tilts that
year to win the title.
Williamson, a Wake Forest product who was a late-round pick of the
Boston Red Sox in the 2011 draft, asserted himself as the league’s
top prospect with his combination of raw tools and stellar play, it
was generally agreed by coaches and scouts that the talent in the
Valley League, especially on the mound, was down when compared to
any rate, it is highly unlikely that the league will produce a player
in next year’s draft that will come close to matching the exploits
of infielder Cory Spangenberg, last year’s Valley League batting
champion who became the 10th
overall pick in June after a highly-productive 2011 season at a
Florida junior college.
League Established: 1961.
Represented in League: Virginia.
of Teams in League: 12 (11 in 2010).
Champion (best overall record): Harrisonburg
Champion: Covington Lumberjacks.
PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking:
No. 14 Harrisonburg Turks, No. 41 Winchester Royals.
1 Prospect, 2010 (per PG CrossChecker): Taylor
Sandefur, rhp, Waynesboro Generals (Western Carolina; played in Cape
Cod League in 2011).
2010 Player Selected, 2011 Draft:
Cory Spangenberg, 2b/3b, Winchester Royals (Indian River State, Fla.,
JC; Padres/1st round, 10th pick).
Valuable Player: Brad Zebedis, 1b,
of the Year: Aaron Luchterhand, rhp,
LEADERS (All games)
Average: Brad Zebedis, 1b, Strasburg
Percentage: Mac Williamson, of,
Harrisonburg Turks (.706).
Average: Brad Zebedis, 1b, Strasburg
Runs: Nathan Minnich, 1b, Winchester
Dodson McPherson, of, Harrisonburg Turks (44).
Bases: Brady Wilson, of, Winchester
Royals; Jay Gonzalez, of, Harrisonburg Turks (32).
LEADERS (All games)
Jonathan Armold, rhp, Front Royal Cardinals; Greg Welsh, lhp,
Winchester Royals (7).
Aaron Luchterhand, rhp, Harrisonburg Turks (1.60).
Pat Christensen, rhp, Harrisonburg Turks (10).
Lincoln Rassi, rhp, Winchester Royals (71).
Athlete: Dale Carey, of, Winchester
Hitter: Brad Zebedis, 1b, Strasburg
Power: Mac Williamson, of,
Harrisonburg Turks; Matt Snyder, 1b, Winchester Royals.
Base Runner: Brady Wilson, of,
Defensive Player: Dale Carey, of,
Velocity: Chris Devenski, rhp,
Woodstock River Bandits.
Breaking Ball: Lincoln Rassi, rhp,
Command: Ryan Overcash, rhp,
MAC WILLIAMSON, of, Harrisonburg Turks (Wake Forest/JR in 2012)
PROFILE: The 6-foot-4, 240-pound
Williamson was the unquestioned star of the Valley League this
summer, hitting .381-10-38. He was second in all three triple-crown
categories, despite missing 10 games, including the final week of the
regular season after he fouled a ball off his ankle earlier in the
summer and the resulting bruise turned into a staph infection which
ultimately led to minor surgery to remove the infection. His booming
bat was notably absent as Harrisonburg fell in the second round of
playoffs after dominating the regular season. Injuries are nothing
new to Williamson, who was a promising pitching prospect at North
Carolina’s Wake Forest-Rolesville High, before hurting his shoulder
as a high-school senior. He underwent labrum surgery as a freshman at
Wake Forest, was red-shirted that season and hasn’t pitched since.
It’s taken Williamson time to master the art of hitting, but he
made big strides in that area last spring at Wake Forest by leading
that team in batting (.277), homers (12) and RBIs (49). Though he
wasn’t taken by the Boston Red Sox until the 46th round of this year’s draft, Williamson would almost certainly have
been claimed as early as the fifth round had he been willing to
accept slot money. As it was, the Red Sox followed him closely most
of the summer in the Valley League, but the two sides never could
find common ground on a signing bonus. On the strength of his
breakout summer, Williamson returns to Wake Forest as one of the top
outfield prospects in the 2012 college draft class. Power is his
most-obvious tool and it was most graphically on display this summer
in the Valley League’s Home Run Derby, held in conjunction with the
all-star game, when he handily won the competition with a number of
long, towering blasts. But Williamson also became more of a complete
hitter over the course of the summer as he made mechanical
adjustments to his swing and thrived with more protection in the
Harrisonburg lineup than he was afforded in college. He drove balls
with authority to all fields, and learned to keep his hands back
better to go the other way more consistently on breaking balls. He
also gained a better idea of the strike zone and cut his strikeout
total from 58 in the spring to 21 on the summer, though scouts
still need to be convinced that Williamson can hit high-velocity
pitching and off-speed stuff consistently. The
remainder of Williamson’s tools are solid as he has an
above-average right-field arm and has been clocked in the 60 in the
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