Friday, June 9, 2023

Valley League Alum In The Majors

Earlier this month, the Shenandoah Valley Baseball League kicked off the 2023 season. The SVBL is a summer collegiate baseball league that has been around since 1897. The SVBL is funded in part by a grant from Major League Baseball and is a member of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB), a national affiliation of 13 collegiate summer leagues. Hundreds of players who have played in this league have gone on to play in the Majors. I thought it would be fun to look at the dozen that have played so far this season.

Austin Adams, Diamondbacks

(2011 Staunton Braves)

2020 Topps Total #802 Austin Adams
Adams is in his 7th Major League season, having debuted in 2017 with the Washington Nationals. After stops in Seattle and San Diego, he signed with the Diamondbacks this past off-season.

Graham Ashcraft, Reds

(2018 Waynesboro Generals)

2023 Topps #214 Graham Ashcraft (RC)
Ashcraft is one of two current players who have played for my hometown team, the Waynesboro Generals. He debuted last year and is among the stable of exciting young players that have started coming up through the Reds' system.

Mike Brosseau, Brewers

(2015 Waynesboro Generals)

2022 Topps #223 Mike Brosseau
Brosseau just happens to be the other former General. He hit a pinch hit, tie-breaking home run off Aroldis Chapman to give the Rays the win in Game 5 of the 2020 ALDS.

Chris Devenski, Angels

(2011 Woodstock River Bandits)

2020 Topps Heritage #651 Chris Devenski
Devenski was once one of the top relievers in baseball, making the 2017 All-Star team as a member of  the eventual World Series Champion Houston Astros. Arm injuries limited him to just 25 games between 2020-2022. Healthy again, he has become a valuable member of the Angel's bullpen.

Brendan Donovan, Cardinals

(2016 New Market Rebels)

2023 Topps #584 Brendan Donovan (ASR)
Donovan's name is etched in history as the National League's first ever winner of the Gold Glove at the  Utility position. He continues his utility role this year, having already started at 6 different positions.

Austin Gomber, Rockies

(2012 Luray Wranglers)

2022 Topps Heritage
#446 Austin Gomber (SP)
Gomber has been a part of the Rockies' rotation for the past three years. He was one of the players the Rockies received from St. Louis in exchange for Nolan Arenado.

Romy Gonzalez, White Sox

(2016 Staunton Braves)

2022 Topps Gypsy Queen
#233 Romy Gonzalez (RC)
Gonzalez is currently a bench/utility player on the White Sox roster. He made his debut as a September call-up in 2021.

Chad Kuhl, Nationals

(2012 New Market Rebels)

2022 Topps Update #US71 Chad Kuhl
Kuhl is not having a great season, but when your wife is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, you can't fault him. Here's hoping Amanda Kuhl heals quickly, and that Chad can get back to concentrating on lesser important things like baseball.

Tommy La Stella, Mariners

(2009 Haymarket Senators)

2022 Topps Heritage
#439 Tommy La Stella (SP)
La Stella was another former All-Star, but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't know that.  He was having a terrific 2019 season for the Angels as their lead-off hitter and second baseman, but a week before the All-Star game, he fractured his tibia on a foul ball and never got to play. He has also won a World Series ring with the 2016 Chicago Cubs. The Mariners released him in May and he is currently a free agent.

Emilio Pagan, Twins

(2010 Harrisonburg Turks)

2023 Topps Heritage
#415 Emilio Pagan (SP)
Pagan is a successful reliever who has appeared in over 300 games since he reached the Majors in 2017. He has played for 5 teams, and each time he joined a new team it was via a trade.

Vinnie Pasquantino, Royals

(2017 Charlottesville Tom Sox)

2023 Topps
#302 Vinnie Pasquantino (ASR, RC)
Pasquantino's nickname is "The Italian Nightmare". He was a member of Team Italy during the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Nate Pearson, Blue Jays

(2016 Staunton Braves)

2022 Topps - Oversized 1987 Topps
Future Stars Box Topper
#87FS-18 Nate Pearson
Pearson was a 1st Round draft pick for Toronto in 2017. His rookie debut came during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. His first game was a "home" game in Washington D.C. against Max Scherzer. (COVID restrictions forced the Blue Jays to play all of their games stateside, and their AAA Stadium in Buffalo wasn't ready yet, so they played the Nationals as the home team in D.C.)

Ryan Yarbrough, Royals

(2012 Luray Wranglers)

2022 Topps Update #US176 Ryan Yarborough
Yarbrough is currently on the 60-day injured list after suffering multiple fractures when a 106 mph line drive struck him in the head. Here's hoping he bounces back and can continue his playing career.


  1. Such a cool post. I wish there was league like that around where I'm at. I bet the baseball is pretty good.

    1. It's not bad - collegiate level, but not as strong talent wise as the Cape Cod League.

  2. Do you have a connection of some sort to the league?

    1. No, just that one of the teams plays in my hometown and I'll go to a few games each year.