In a year that saw the total amount of Valley League alumni drafted drop a bit (36), there were 12 players that were chosen in the top 10 rounds and 24 in the top 20 rounds. This year’s draft also saw at least one player drafted from each Valley League club. Waynesboro led the way with 6 total alumni, one more than Strasburg and Front Royal each with 5.
Brooks Wilson (Stetson) was the first General off the board in the 7th round when he was selected 202nd overall to the Atlanta Braves. Wilson was a part of the 2015 Generals team that finished 22-20 and third in the south division. Wilson had a stellar year on both sides of the ball for Stetson. He hit .302 in 182 at-bats with 3 homers and 33 RBI. But Brooks was drafted as a pitcher. In his Senior year he made 31 appearances out of the bullpen and nailed down 20 saves. In those 31 apearances, he threw 55 innings, striking out 68.
Andrew Perez (South Florida) was the next off the board, being picked in the 8th round 228th overall by the Chicago White Sox. The lefty had this to say: “It was an awesome experience being a part of the Generals. I spent the summer with Garrett Bye and the best host family in Virginia, Kathleen Kellett and Brent Ward.” Perez said he got calls in the 6th and 7th rounds but nothing came of it. “Once I got the call in the 8th round it was unreal.” Perez wanted to take time to thank a few people in the General organization. “Coach Mike Correa is an awesome dude with a great personality. I’d also like to thank Tyler Hoffman for the opportunity, as well as my host family Brent and Kathleen for the awesome hosting of Garrett and I. Go Generals!”
Conner Loeprich (St. Mary’s) was selected in the 20th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched 15 innings for the 2016 Generals and 21 innings for the 2017 Generals. “My time in the Valley League was nothing but positive towards my baseball career,” said Loeprich. “It helped me grow as a player as well as a man. Getting to play at a place with such an amazing community is second to none.” Conner plans on signing in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. “Waynesboro will forever be another home to me. I’d like to shout out Tyler Hoffman for all his hard work, as well as the Lundstroms and Beth Tipton for everything they do for the team. There is nobody like them out there!”
7 rounds after Loeprich, his 2017 teammate Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg U) was taken in the 27th round by the San Diego Padres. “There are no words to describe the feelings I’m having right now,” Mosser said in an Instagram post earlier this week. “I’m thankful for the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m excited to represent the San Diego Padres organization. Thank you to all my coaches, family and friends that helped me get to this point.” The lefty was 2 and 1 with 36 Ks in almost 35 innings for the Generals. Mosser plans to fly out to Arizona to join the Padres organization. “I’d like to thank my host parents Beth [Tipton] and Scott [McDevitt], my head coach Matt Williams, and my pitching coach Matt Aldrich,” Mosser said. “The competition was very good in the valley league and it was a great experience to help me grow as a player just through the tough competition.”
Austin Hale (Stetson) was the lone position player chosen from Waynesboro. Hale handled the pitching staff well as the catcher of the Generals in 2015. He was drafted in the 28th round by the Minnesota Twins. “My time in Waynesboro really helped me rekindle my love for baseball after not playing much my freshman year at Stetson,” Hale said. “I learned how to call pitches and also to have an approach at the plate.” When asked about the draft, Hale said it was a relief to hear his name chosen. “I was getting worried once it got to the last 4 rounds, but it was exciting being in my hotel room and hearing a bunch of my teammates screaming in the lobby of the hotel.” Austin would also like to send a shout out to his host family. “Send a shout out to the Osteens for me. They were my host family and I really enjoyed my time there with them.” Austin plans on signing with the Twins and pursuing his professional baseball dream.
Zach Neff (Mississippi State) was the final General chosen. The righty was taken in the 31st round by the Minnesota Twins to go along with the aforementioned Austin Hale. Neff is currently in a Super Regional and was unable to comment. He went 3-2 this year with 2 saves out of the bullpen. Tyler Hoffman, General Manager of the Waynesboro Generals, called Neff a “shut-down reliever” in his time in Waynesboro. “He always had a big league curveball,” said Hoffman. “He’s going to get the opportunity of a lifetime playing professional baseball. We wish Zach the best!”
The Valley Baseball League is known as “The Gateway to the Majors” for good reason. We, the organization of Waynesboro, would like to wish luck to our 6 drafted players, as well as the 30 others drafted from the league.