2007 Valley League Top 10 Prospects

Postseason recap: Waynesboro entered the Lineweaver Cup tournament as the top seed, then rallied with three runs in the eighth inning–keyed by Russ Brewer’s tie-breaking solo home run–to win 6-3 in the fourth game of the Valley League championship. The Generals won the series three games to one over defending champion Luray. It was Waynesboro’s first title since 1998.

1. Luke Greinke, rhp/of, Winchester (Jr., Auburn)

Greinke simply dominated the Valley League from his first game to the end as both a hitter and pitcher. He led the league in batting (.417), on-base percentage (.517) and slugging (.642) in 120 at-bats and claimed the league’s MVP award. He also went 3-1, 2.66 with 48 strikeouts in 51 innings off the mound. Greinke is a gap-to-gap type hitter with good plate discipline (26 walks to 20 strikeouts) who showed the ability to make adjustments, adding power with wood he had not shown with metal in two seasons at Auburn. As a pitcher, his fastball velocity was 88-92 mph and an excellent slider that he uses as an out pitch. He has a violent delivery, similar to Scott Kazmir. Greinke’s name is more intimidating than his figure–the brother of Royals righthander Zack Greinke is just 6-feet, 185 pounds. He projects best as a pitcher in pro ball, though he’ll be a crucial two-way contributor for Auburn this spring.

2. Jason Kipnis, of, Covington (So., Arizona State)

Kipnis had arguably the best combination of hitting, speed and power in the league. He hit .318/.498/.591 and tied for the league lead in home runs (nine). He also showed his plate discipline and ability to make contact by drawing 49 walks and striking out just 24 times. He broke up a no-hit bid by Winchester righthander Scott Shuman in the ninth inning with an opposite-field home run. Kipnis ranked first or second in eight offensive categories including slugging, on-base percentage, runs, RBIs, home runs, total bases, walks and stolen bases. The only tool he is missing is arm strength.

3. Nick Stanley, c, New Market (Jr., North Carolina State)

The Wolfpack will be adding a lefthanded-hitting catcher to its squad with Stanley, a transfer from South Florida CC. Stanley hit .321/.403/.461 in 154 at-bats for New Market and led the league in doubles (15). He is taller for a catcher at 6-foot-2, but he showed some versatility by playing some third and first base. He is a gap-to-gap hitter with some pop. He uses the whole field and has good pitch recognition. This was his first summer with extended at-bats with wood, and he handled the adjustment very well.

4. Scott Shuman, rhp, Winchester (So., Auburn)

Teammates with Greinke at Auburn, Shuman has a loose arm and a lively fastball in the 88-92 mph range. He also has an average slider, which can be plus at times. He had a tendency to be wild this spring (4-1, 2.00 with 18 strikeouts and 20 walks in 18 relief innings) and into the summer, but he showed improvement when he had 18 consecutive innings with no walks. Shuman, who was a 23rd-round pick of the Brewers out of high school in 2006, has a good pro frame at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds.

5. Tyler Kuhn, ss, Luray (Sr., West Virginia)

Kuhn was taken in the 33rd round this year by the Indians but didn’t sign. He makes consistent contact and was the Valley League MVP in 2006, and he put up good numbers again in 2007. He hit .318/.398/.447 in 170 at-bats for the Wranglers. He lacks the bat speed to hit for power but makes consistent contact. Kuhn lacks standout tools, but he’s solid in every phase of the game. He’s a sound defender at shortstop, but he probably profiles better as a second baseman in pro ball.

6. Ryan Semeniuk, of, Winchester (R-Fr., Wake Forest)

Semeniuk’s first 2007 at-bats came in the Valley League, so it’s impressive that he hit .303/.367/.461 after redshirting at Wake Forest. Semeniuk is a gap-to-gap hitter but is still learning his swing. His projectable 6-foot-6, 215-pound frame promises more power to come as he refines his swing and adds muscle. His defense is a work in progress.

7. Ryan Wood, ss, Harrisonburg (Jr., East Carolina)

Wood started his sophomore year as East Carolina’s second baseman but slid seamlessly to shortstop once Dale Mollenhauer got hurt. He showed some pop this spring, batting .318/.432/.439 with five homers for the Pirates, but he stumbled with the bat in the Valley, hitting .237/.325/.317 in 139 at-bats. Still, his 6-foot-4, 182-pound frame has plenty of projection, and he shows good athleticism and the ability to make hard contact, though he needs to do so more consistently. Wood is a rangy, sure-handed defensive shortstop with a knack for getting in the right position to make plays and an above-average arm.

8. Ryan Sontag, of, Winchester (Sr., Arizona State)

Sontag was second in the Valley in hitting this summer with a .361 clip. He also hit five home runs. Sontag hit mostly in the No. 3 spot for Winchester but profiles as a No. 2 or leadoff man. He hits for average and is an outstanding defender. Winchester head coach John Lowery Jr. says Sontag is his favorite player he has coached at any level. He has a solid, stocky 5-foot-10, 195-pound build, and though he wasn’t drafted after hitting .345/.415/.448 as a junior, he’ll get plenty more exposure at Arizona State this spring and could make a good senior sign.

9. Zack Rosenbaum, rhp, Woodstock (Jr., Charlotte)

Rosenbaum was a big part of Charlotte’s run to the finals of the Columbia regional, going 9-1, 3.33 this spring. He followed that up with a solid summer for the River Bandits, going 3-2, 2.85 with 36 strikeouts and 20 walks in 41 innings. He has a good body and good arm but has some learning to do as a pitcher, such as controlling the strike zone and putting hitters away when behind in the count. On the plus side, Rosenbaum is 6-foot-4, 190 pounds and runs his fastball up to 93 mph.

10. Ashur Tolliver, lhp, Harrisonburg (So., Arkansas-Little Rock)

At 5-foot-11, 155 pounds, Tolliver is an undersized lefthander, but he used a plus slider, good changeup and 88-92 mph fastball to go 4-0, 2.52 in 50 innings this summer. He struck out 61 while walking 20 and held opponents to a .216 average. He made good adjustments to college hitters after going 6-5, 4.45 in 89 innings this spring. Tolliver’s size works against him, but his quick arm and three-pitch repertoire give him a legitimate chance in pro ball, probably as a reliever.