by Adam MacElrath
JMU Sports Management Intern
The Harrisonburg Turks, part of the Valley Baseball League are fortunate enough to sign players each year who strive to one day hold a position on a professional baseball team and looking back to the Turks’ historic past there have been quite a number of star players to reach the pinnacle of the game as members of a Major League Baseball team. This off season, the Turks can be proud again as three alumni have received invitations to three separate MLB team training camps.
Clint Robinson—Robinson was born February 16, 1985 and played for the Turks for two seasons starting in 2005 as a first basemen and then as a right fielder in 2006. He was a massive power hitter for the Turks in those two seasons and his bat really grabbed scouts’ eyes as he was Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2007 MLB draft. Robinson was selected in the 25th round and 756 overall. Robinson, a native of Missouri made his MLB debut for the Royals on June 8, 2012. In his first season in the Royals farm system, Robinson earned Pioneer League MVP, Postseason All-Star, and Idaho Falls Player of the Year honors. Robinson’s success continued into the following seasons as he moved up the Royals farm system and took home the 2009 Mike Sweeney Award for the player that best represents the Royals organization both on and off the field. In 2010, with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, he set a franchise record 21 game hitting streak and earned Texas League All-Star and Player of the Month in June. Robinson really hit his stride in the Royals organization in 2011 with the Triple A Omaha Royals. He posted some boggling numbers like a .326 batting average and 23 home runs with 100 RBIs. However, his numbers fell in the following season. November of 2012 started to spin Robinson’s career around as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates and later, in March of 2013 was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. As of November 18, 2013, Robinson has been apart of the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system. This spring, Robinson has been invited to the Dodger’s training camp where finds himself in a familiar situation which is being behind yet another blue chip first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez. This will be the fourth time Robinson will be in the shadow of a star first baseman as he played behind Eric Hosmer on the Royals, Gabby Sanchez on the Pirates, Adam Lind on the Blue Jays, and now Gonzalez on the Dodgers.
Logan Kensing—Kensing was born July 3, 1982 and played for the Turks in 2002 where he lit up radar guns as the team’s closer. The right-handed pitcher out of Texas A&M University was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 2nd round of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft. Logan made his MLB debut on September 10, 2004. The Marlins designated Kensing for assignment where he ended up being traded to the Nationals on April 29, 2009. In December of 2009, was invited to the national’s spring training camp but unfortunately his stay with the team only lasted until mid-March. Kensing’s professional career continued with a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. But the agony for Kensing continued as he was forced to undergo two shoulder surgeries during the season and miss the whole year. Recovering from the surgeries, Kensing bounced around from the Rays to the Yankees farm system to the Rockies Triple-A team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Going into this season, Kensing scored a spring training camp invite with the Seattle Mariners on January 17, 2014. With this invite, Kensing looks to turn doubters around and show his true talents to ultimately secure a spot on the roster.
Mac Williamson—Williamson was the number one pitching prospect in North Carolina coming out of Wake Forest Rolesville High School. After being redshirted his freshman year at Wake Forest University, Williamson returned to the field as an outstanding outfielder. In his time wearing the Turks uniform, Williamson regularly smacked balls into the years in left field. Some would say he has prodigious power making him a catch for any professional team. He ended up returning for a third season at Wake Forest after being selected in the 46 round by the Red Sox in the First-Year Player Draft of 2011. The following MLB Draft, the San Francisco Giants drafted Williamson in the third round and Williamson did not turn down this contract. In addition to Williamson’s skills in the field, he makes a ton of noise with this bat. In his first 89 professional games in the Giants farm system, he amounted 16 home runs and 59 RBIs. He has the type of undeniable power that can change the outcome of a game with one swing of the bat. This off-season, Williamson has gotten an official spring training camp invite.