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Summer Collegiate | Story | 9/19/2013

Valley League prospect reports

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Staunton Braves

Official League Website:
2013 Summer Collegiate Top Prospect coverage
Valley League Top Prospect list (free)

Superior pitching alone didn’t account for the precipitous decline in offense in the Valley League from 2012 to 2013, but there seems little question that it was a major contributing factor.

Valley League teams combined to hit 469 home runs a year ago, but managed to go deep just a collective 148 times this summer. Winchester alone nosedived from a league-record 84 homers in 2012, to just eight in the current season. Moreover, league-wide batting averages dipped from .278 to .250, while ERAs plummeted from 5.08 to 3.59.

A loosening in quality-control standards of the Diamond baseball in use in the Valley League, along with numerous other summer leagues, has been widely-documented as the primary cause for the substantial spike in offense in 2012, and statistics across the board in 2013 were more in line again with 2011 with a tightening of the same standards.

But even when compared to 2011, when Valley League teams slammed 287 homers, hit .270 and posted an overall 4.61 ERA, offense was down significantly throughout the league this season, with the logical explanation that pitching was superior to both of the last two years, and coaches and scouts surveyed pretty much confirmed as much.

Appropriately, the first five names on the accompanying list of the league’s top professional prospects are pitchers, led by towering Staunton Braves righthander Max Povse. He leads a wave of 90-plus arms that had dominant 2013 seasons. Superior pitching also enabled the Harrisonburg Turks to sweep to the league’s best record during the regular season (32-12), easily posting the best staff ERA at 2.53.

In the end, the resurgent Waynesboro Generals, who entered July with a 9-14 record and qualified for the playoffs at 22-22 as a fourth-seed in the stronger Southern Division, swept aside Harrisonburg in two straight games in the first round of the playoffs, and went on to win the league title, beating the Strasburg Express, the No. 3 seed from the North, 2-1 in the final series.


Year League Established:
States Represented in League: Virginia
No. of Teams in League: 12
Regular-Season Champion (best overall record): Harrisonburg Turks (32-12; 32-14 overall)
Post-Season Champion: Waynesboro Generals
Teams, Perfect Game Summer 50/Final Ranking: No. 23 Harrisonburg Turks, No. 43 Waynesboro Generals
No. 1 Prospect, 2012 (per PG CrossChecker): Julian Ridings, of, Waynesboro Generals (Western Carolina; drafted by Rays/18rd round, 2013)
First 2012 Player Selected, 2013 Draft: Harrison Cooney, rhp, Front Royal Cardinals (Florida Gulf Coast/Angels, 6th round)

Most Valuable Player:
Jordan Tarsovich, of, Strasburg Express (Virginia Military Institute)
Pitcher of the Year: Jordan Camp, rhp, Harrisonburg Turks (Auburn)

BATTING LEADERS (Regular-season games)

Batting Average:
Jordan Tarsovich, of, Strasburg Express (.414)
Slugging Percentage: Jordan Tarsovich, of, Strasburg Express (.529)
On-Base Average: Jordan Tarsovich, of, Strasburg Express (.511)
Home Runs: Erik Armstrong, 1b, Strasburg Express; Bryant Hayman, c, Staunton Braves (7)
RBI: James Vazquez, 1b, Staunton Braves (43)
Stolen Bases: Andy Perez, 2b, Harrisonburg Turks (30)

PITCHING LEADERS (Regular-season games)

Four tied at 6
ERA: Ricky Winters, rhp, Woodstock River Bandits (0.44)
Saves: Adam Zipko, rhp, New Market Rebels (17)
Strikeouts: Connor Kaden, rhp, Harrisonburg Turks (69)


Best Athlete:
Kyri Washington, of, Woodstock River Bandits
Best Hitter: James Vasquez, 1b, Staunton Braves
Best Power: Kyri Washington, of, Woodstock River Bandits
Fastest Base Runner: Tyler Hibbert, of, Charles Town Cannons
Best Defensive Player: Emmanuel Marrero, ss, Charles Town Cannons
Best Velocity: Max Povse, rhp, Staunton Braves
Best Breaking Ball: Max Povse, rhp, Staunton Braves
Best Command: Justin Camp, rhp, Harrisonburg Turks


1. MAX POVSE, rhp, Staunton Braves (UNC Greensboro/JR in 2014)
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound Povse commands immediate attention because of his lean, towering frame and the fact that he is the only pitcher on this list to have been drafted out of high school (Dodgers/42nd round, 2011). He also had the most impressive arm at the Valley League all-star game, as the starting pitcher for the South squad, according to scouts in attendance, and fanned a pair in his one inning of work with his combination of a fastball at 90-94 mph and one of the best sliders seen in the league in years. Povse typically worked at 90-92 on the summer, and peaked at 95 coming from a high-three quarters slot. His sharp, deep slider was his primary strikeout pitch, and an effective low-80s changeup was a third offering. He went 2-2, 3.33 in nine starts, getting numerous no-decisions as he was often paired up against the other team’s best pitcher and found wins tough to come by, but in 54 innings, he walked 12 and struck out 60. On that score, his summer was a solid upgrade from his sophomore season at UNC Greensboro, when he went 4-4, 4.75 in 14 starts with 33 walks and a team-high 81 strikeouts in 78 innings, which in itself was a significant improvement from a 2-6, 6.55 mark as a freshman. Povse generates obvious leverage in his delivery with his long, extended frame, but often struggles to locate his stuff on the bottom rung of the strike zone; when his pitches are up, they often tend to flatten out. He also may need to improve his stamina going forward as he tended to lose his velocity after 5-6 innings, though in fairness came off a heavy workload in the spring and took the ball every time out on the summer.

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