Valley League Top 10 Prospects
Luray swept Covington in the championship series of the Lineweaver Cup, outscoring the Lumberjacks 17-4 in three games. It was Luray's third consecutive appearance in the championship and its second title since joining the Valley in 2001.
1. Ryan Schimpf, 2b, Luray (Jr., Louisiana State)
Schimpf was a late arrival for Luray after participating in the College World Series and played in just 27 games for the Wranglers, but he wasted no time compiling gaudy numbers for the eventual champions. The 5-foot-9 second baseman batted .392 and slugged .763 for the summer, totals that would have led the league had he registered enough at-bats to qualify. He struck out just nine times compared to 13 walks and showed impressive pop with a wood bat, using his quick wrists and exceptional pitch recognition to belt 11 home runs in just 110 plate appearances. Schimpf provides steady defense up the middle, showing good range and a sure glove that will allow him to stick at second in pro ball.
2. Alex Wimmers, rhp, Luray (So., Ohio State)
A hard-throwing righthander whose fastball ranged from 90-93 mph all summer, Wimmers solidified himself as one of the leagueís most promising arms when he threw seven shutout innings for Luray in the final game of the championship series, striking out 13 of the 29 batters he faced. He flashed an excellent curveball with hard, late break that he can typically throw for a strike any time in the count. His circle changeup is still a work in progress and is clearly his third-best pitch at this point. Wimmers has good size (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) and a fluid delivery to go along with his power repertoire, causing some scouts to project him as a closer down the line.
3. Jake Cowan, rhp, Waynesboro (So., San Jacinto JC, Texas)
Cowan missed the early part of the season, but immediately bolstered the Generalsí rotation upon arrival, going 5-2, 2.45 with 56 strikeouts in 44 innings. At 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, he offers an athletic, projectable frame with a long, loose arm. His athleticism is most apparent in pitcherís fielding practice, where he exhibits exceptional balance and quickness. Cowan throws a late-moving two-seamer and a four-seamer with arm-side run, which typically registers between 90-92 mph on radar guns. He commands a hard 80-81 mph slider and a slurvy curveball, with the former grading as his best breaking pitch. He transferred from Virginia to San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College this summer.
4. Adam McClain, if/of, Luray (So., Memphis)
McClain is still raw at the plate and in the field, but coaches and scouts raved about his athleticism as he showcased his five-tool potential this summer. He needs refinement on his hitting mechanics, as he tends to jump out on his front foot, making himself vulnerable to breaking pitches off the plate. However, his bat speed and natural strength give him a chance to realize his above-average power potential. He played third base, shortstop and the outfield for Luray, but he profiles best in center field where his plus speed and above-average arm would be most functional.
5. Billy Morrison, rhp, Winchester (R-Jr., Western Michigan)
A ninth-round selection of the Mariners, Morrison is a lean 6-foot-5, 205-pound righthander who occasionally touches 93 mph with his fastball. He enjoyed a splendid summer in the Valley, posting a 3-1, 2.54 mark with 36 strikeouts in 39 innings for Winchester. He also issued just 10 free passes, a respectable walk rate for someone who has previously struggled with command. Morrison will return to the Broncos rotation in the spring, where he will look to improve his draft status after a somewhat mediocre sophomore campaign (6-2, 4.76 with 43 strikeouts and 26 walks in 81 innings).
6. Brandon Sizemore, 2b, Waynesboro (Sr., College of Charleston)
Sizemore is .377/.500/.746 line was one of the finest in the Valley, helping Waynesboro score more runs than any other team except Luray. His summer was a continuation of a strong junior season at Charleston in which he batted .325, hit 20 home runs and drove in 82, a performance that prompted the Cardinals to peg him with their 46th-round selection. Physically, Sizemore evokes comparisons to burly middle infielders Dan Uggla and Bret Boone, generating good power with his considerable upper body strength. He is an adequate fielder, but his below-average range and arm strength limit his defensive versatility.
7. Travis Smink, lhp, Luray (Jr., Virginia Military Institute)
Used mostly as a reliever at VMI since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2007, Smink excelled in 10 starts for Luray. The 6-foot-2 lefthander was 6-1, 1.88 with just 10 walks in 62 innings, tied for fewest walks among all Valley starters who qualified. Operating primarily in the mid-80s from a three-quarters arm slot, he has exceptional command of three pitches, including a sweeping, late-breaking curveball that is especially deceptive to righthanded hitters. A fierce competitor on the mound, Smink is expected to return to VMI next spring as the Friday starter.
8. Gabriel Saade, ss, Waynesboro (Jr., Duke)
Saade is a defensive playmaker in the middle of the infield, showing exceptional range and good arm strength that plays well at shortstop. Although he still needs to polish his footwork, several coaches considered him one of the top defensive shortstops in the Valley. Saade was a consistent producer at the top of Waynesboro's order, hitting .327/.431/.449 while swiping 17 bases in 18 attempts. He has a chance to develop average power if he can shorten his swing and become less pull-conscious.
9. Mickey Wiswall, 3b, Winchester (So., Boston College)
Armed with one of the purest lefthanded swings in the league, Wiswall's present hitting ability stood out to scouts, as he finished the summer with a .336/.408/.557 line. He generates solid gap power with his strong wrists and has average power potential, which he hinted at when he hit a Valley single-game-high three home runs in a July 25 contest against Harrisonburg. Wiswall primarily occupied third base for Winchester, but he lacks instincts for the position and profiles better in right field, where his strong arm would be useful.
10. Tyler Townsend, 1b, Winchester (Jr., Florida International)
Townsend earned the league's MVP award after leading the Valley in batting average (.387), on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.739). The smooth-swinging lefty uses a strong lower half to hit with power to all fields. He draws praise for his intellectual approach to the game, evidenced by his outstanding knowledge of the strike zone and savvy baserunning. Townsend has a sure glove and a good arm at first base, where he will have to stay at pro ball since he lacks the foot speed for either outfield corner.