League Record Book: Batting Average

One of the things ATVL does in the offseason is take a look at the “league record book,” which is a list of the top performers SINCE 2004. (That’s an important distinction, by the way. Stats from before that were unavailable, so I use what I have.)

These stats also include playoff numbers, but do not include the all-star game or any showcase events.

So let’s get started, shall we? Today we’ll have what might be the most interesting category, since three 2017 VBLers crashed this list- batting average!

1 Michael Wielansky Charlottesville 2017 0.428
2 Brad Zebedis Strasburg 2011 0.420
3 Julian Ridings Waynesboro 2012 0.419
4 Luke Greinke Winchester 2007 0.417
5 Gunnar McNeill Staunton 2014 0.414
6 Shane Billings Harrisonburg 2015 0.406
7 Jordan Tarsovich Strasburg 2013 0.405
8 Dominic Canzone Front Royal 2017 0.404
9 Cory Spangenberg Winchester 2010 0.399
10 Joe Kemp Harrisonburg 2004 0.396
11 Blake Sipe Staunton 2012 0.396
12 Max Wood Staunton 2017 0.389
13 Mike Garza Woodstock 2010 0.388

(By the way, I am adding players without deleting any, so some of the lists will have more than 10. I’m trying to build the lists back up to 20, if possible. It’s more interesting with more names, wouldn’t you say?)

Three 2017 players grabbed spots on the list; Michael Wielansky, obviously #1, #8 Dominic Canzone, and #12 Max Wood. We now have 8 Valley Leaguers who have hit .400 or better in the last 14 years.

We have one major leaguer on this one: Cory Spangenberg (San Diego Padres). Two more players are currently in affiliated ball: Shane Billings, who is playing in the Cardinals’ system for Palm Beach in the high-A Florida State League, and Jordan Tarsovich, in Double-A for the Oakland A’s system.

Four more players were in affiliated ball, but are no longer. They are #3 Julian Ridings, #4 Luke Greinke, #10 Joe Kemp, and #13 Mike Garza.

The last three, ones who did not play affiliated ball, are #2 Brad Zebedis, #5 Gunnar McNeill, and #11 Blake Sipe (who is playing in the Rockingham County Baseball League). Zebedis hit 328/402/501 in four years at Presbyterian, and also hit 303/363/424 in the Cape Cod League in 2012… and didn’t get drafted. Hard to believe.

By the way, Chaz Weaver lists the highest batting average in the history of the VBL as .466, by Lou Meadows, who played for Staunton in 1981.

Wielansky resized

Michael Wielansky, our new leader of the batting title record book! 



Four Quick Transactions


As you know, Brilliant Reader, ATVL pays attention to the waiver wire, and keeps track of Valley League alumni who make debuts, are traded, released, or otherwise move teams of designations in the world of professional baseball.

I have four to report on at the moment… (not including Yonder Alonso, who got his own article on mlb.com)

  • Rico Noel (Covington 2008) has been signed by the Houston Astros, and assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi. Rico is an ATVL favorite because he’s…so…..FAST. He’s stolen 407 total bases over all levels since he was drafted. Anyway, Rico spent a couple months in the majors with the Yankees in 2015. He last played for Lancaster in the Independent Atlantic League (where he stole 34 bases in 38 attempts).
  • Randy Dobnak (Front Royal 2015) was signed by the Minnesota Twins and assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League. Randy pitched in 6 games for the Utica Unicorns (seriously) of the Independent United Shore League.
  • Matt Hockenberry (Woodstock 2013) was released by the Phillies. Matt couldn’t seem to solve Double-A Reading, although he didn’t get much chance to. Matt went 5-1, 2.51 in 89 2/3 innings in High-A, and 0-0, 14.73 in 7 1/3 Double-A innings. (Reading is a bandbox, too)
  • Collin Cowgill (Covington 2005) was released by the San Diego Padres. He played in the majors for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland A’s, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, and Cleveland Indians, putting up a 234/297/329 slash line and 4.0 WAR in 759 major league plate appearances. He’s been injured quite a bit this year; maybe he’ll get picked up by another organization.

The Hunt for .400

I know, I know, batting average is an “old school” stat, and we should focus on newer stats, like WAR, or WPA, or OPS+. However, those stats are not available for the Valley League, one, and two, hitting .400 has a legendary place in the history of baseball. (I would LOVE to be able to calculate WAR for the VBL, but our defensive stats aren’t there yet.)

Quick- name the last hitter to hit .400 in the history of major league baseball.

Got it? You knew it, didn’t you? Ted Williams, 1941, .406. You might even know the last two seasons when hitters got really close. Think about it a bit- I’ll come back to it.**

Now, does anyone know who leads the all-time list of highest adjusted OPS+ in a single major league season? Forget the number, can anyone just name the player? If you can, kudos to you, but my guess is that not many of you know that Barry Bonds had an OPS+ of 268 in 2002, which is the highest single-season achievement in the entire history of baseball.

Hitting .400 has always been special, even if we think that the “specialness” is wearing off over time. So this morning I’ll take a quick look at the history of the league, at least since 2004, and who is making a run at this “hallowed” number this season.

First, the list of 6 players who have hit .400 in a Valley League season since 2004:

1 Brad Zebedis Strasburg 2011 0.420
2 Julian Ridings Waynesboro 2012 0.419
3 Luke Greinke Winchester 2007 0.417
4 Gunnar McNeill Staunton 2014 0.414
5 Shane Billings Harrisonburg 2015 0.406
6 Jordan Tarsovich Strasburg 2013 0.404

An impressive list, to be sure.

Now, what’s going on in 2017? Will we have our first .400 hitter since Billings in 2015?

The top four batting averages in the league right now are:

  1. Dominic Canzone, Front Royal: .418 (46-110)
  2. Bradley McClain, Waynesboro: .406 (43-106)
  3. Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville: .398 (47-118)
  4. Danton Hyman, Woodstock: .380 (41-108)

I would say that all four of these players have a shot at joining the top 6, especially given the short VBL season. Even though Hyman is 20 points off right now, he has the speed to pick up a number of infield hits (historically, baseball analysts say that beating out those “dribblers” may make the difference in the end). And if Danton had just three more hits in those 108 at-bats, he would be hitting .407.

If I have the time, I may include a “race for .400” on my daily post, so we can keep tabs the rest of the way. Good luck to all 4!

** The last two highly-publicized shots at .400? Tony Gwynn, who hit .394 in 1994, and George Brett, who hit .390 in 1980.

Results from Thursday, June 29


Charlottesville 6, Winchester 0
Front Royal 7, Woodstock 6 (Dominic Canzone walk off single in the 9th)
Staunton 14, New Market 5
Strasburg 7, Waynesboro 6
Purcellville 5, Covington 4 (12 innings; Sheldon Reed HR in top of 12th; game ends on double play (9-2) in the bottom of the 12th- Andy Szamski caught the fly ball, and threw the runner out at the plate)

Hitter of the Day

Knoxville, TN - 2017.01.09 - Headshot

Our hitter of the day is Front Royal’s Luc Lipcius, from Tennessee. Luc went 2-4, with 2 runs, 3 RBIs, and 2 home runs. This is his 2nd HOD in 4 days. There were many qualified candidates from last night, but 2 home runs carries the day! Luc is now hitting 351/455/554 in 74 at-bats.

Others of Note

Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville: 2-2, run, RBI, 2 2B
Dalton Schroeder, Woodstock: 3-4, run, 2 RBIs, 2B
Dominic Canzone, Front Royal: 4-5, 2 RBIs
Max Wood, Staunton: 3-5, 2 runs, RBI, BB, 2 2B, SB
Payton Robertson, Staunton: 3-6, run, 4 RBIs, 3B
Deacon Medders, Staunton: 3-5, 2 runs, RBI, 2B, 3B
Kam Lane, Staunton: 2-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, HR
Austin Bogart, New Market: 3-4, run, 3 RBIs, 3B, HR
Jason Bush, Waynesboro: 1-3, 3 runs, 2 RBIs, BB, HBP, HR
Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg: 2-3, 4 runs, RBI, 2 BB
Jake Perry, Strasburg: 3-4, run, 2 RBIs, HR, BB
Sean Scales, Strasburg: 3-5, run
Tyler Martin, Strasburg: 3-5, 3 RBIs, 2B
Nolan Ritchie, Purcellville: 3-3, run, BB, SB
Bruce Strickland, Covington: 2-5, run, 3 RBIs, 3B

Pitcher of the Day

Our POD is Charlottesville’s Justin Sorokowski, from Florida State! Justin threw 6 shutout Justin Sorokowski Florida State 2017innings while allowing 3 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 4. He earned the win and a game score of 70 (tied for 11th best all summer). Justin is 2-0, 3.00 in 4 starts and 21 innings for the Tom Sox.

Others of Note

Layne Looney, Charlottesville: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K’s
Drew Mancuso, Woodstock: 41. IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s, loss
Ryan Leckich, Front Royal: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K’s (58)
Corley Woods, Staunton: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, win
Dominic Diaz, Purcellville: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Francisco Fernandez, Covington: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K’s (55)
Jarred Scott, Covington: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K’s

Friday’s Games

Staunton at Covington
Charlottesville at Purcellville
Strasburg at Winchester
New Market at Woodstock
Front Royal at Harrisonburg

Results from Friday, June 23


Front Royal 11, Woodstock 1
Strasburg 11, Purcellville 8
Waynesboro 12, Covington 5
Harrisonburg 3, Staunton 1
Winchester 7, New Market 2

Hitter of the Day

Dominic Canzone Ohio State 2017

Some excellent choices for today- three hitters tallied 4 hits! The best stat line, however, was put up by Dominic Canzone, from Front Royal and Ohio State. The rising sophomore went 4-5, with 4 runs, 3 RBIs, a double, home run, and 2 stolen bases. Dominic is now 23-61 for the summer, with a slash line of 377/473/590.

Others of Note

Thomas Johns, Front Royal: 2-4, 2 runs, RBI, BB
Simon Landry, Strasburg: 4-6, 3 runs, 4 RBIs, HR, SB
Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg: 3-6, run, 2 RBIs, HR
Jake Perry, Strasburg: 3-4, 2 runs, 2 BB, 2 2B
Tyler Martin, Strasburg: 2-5, RBI, BB, 2B
Jackson Furstace, Strasburg: 2-3, run, BB, HBP, SB
Sheldon Reed, Purcellville: 3-5, run, RBI, SB
Caleb Walls, Covington: 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, BB, 2B, SB
Malik Stephens, Waynesboro: 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, BB, 3B
Luke Robinson, Waynesboro: 3-4, 2 runs, RBI, BB
Dillon Reed, Winchester: 2-4, 2 runs, RBI, BB, SB
Cody Wilson, Winchester: 4-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, 3B, 4 SB
Damian Rodriguez, Winchester: 2-3, run, BB

Pitcher of the Day

Our POD is Mason Studstill, from Harrisonburg! Mason threw 8 innings against Mason Studstill Miami 2017Staunton, allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and struck out 8 for a game score of 71. Mason pitched at Miami in 2017, but will transfer to Eastern Florida State College for the 2018 season. Mason threw a whopping 128 pitches in this game; I believe that this is the first time all season that a starter in the Valley went over 100.

Others of Note

Mark Moclair, Front Royal: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K’s, win (60)
Trevor Harris, Front Royal: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 Bb, 4 K’s
Jordan Cox, Staunton: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K’s (65)

Saturday’s Games

New Market at Front Royal
Strasburg at Winchester
Woodstock at Purcellville
Charlottesville at Harrisonburg
Covington at Staunton

Results from Thursday, June 8

All games were played this evening, and a ton of runs were scored. I mentioned the other day that the pitching seemed to be ahead of the hitting; that is definitely not the case on this night!


Woodstock 10, Covington 8
Charlottesville 17, Strasburg 7 (Whoa)
Purcellville 8, Harrisonburg 3
Waynesboro 10, New Market 9 (10 innings)
Staunton 13, Front Royal 11 (11 innings)

Hitter of the Day

Dominic Canzone Ohio State 2017Tough call today; three players had 4 hits last night! When in doubt, go with total bases, so our hitter of the day is Front Royal’s Dominic Canzone, from Ohio State! Dominic went 4-7, with 4 runs, 2 RBIs, a double, home run, and stolen base. In 6 games this summer, Dominic is 9-23, with a slash line of 391/481/739.

Others of Note

Danton Hyman, Woodstock: 3-5, 3 runs, RBI, 2B, 2 SB
Jacob Reimold, Woodstock: 3-5, run, RBI
Kyle Battle, Charlottesville: 3-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs, BB, 2B
Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville: 2-6, 3 runs, 3 RBIs, 2 2B, SB
Ari Sechopoulos, Charlottesville: 2-5, run, 4 RBIs, HR
Brandon Johnson, Charlottesville: 2-4, 3 runs, RBI
Jake Perry, Strasburg: 2-5, 3 RBIs, 2 2B
Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg: 0-2, 3 runs, 3 BB
Trevin Esquerra, Purcellville: 2-4, run, 2 RBIs, BB, 3B
Trey McDyre, Purcellville: 2-3, run, RBI, BB
Jake Washer, New Market: 2-4, 2 runs, RBI, BB
Jack Hartman, New Market: 2-5, RBI, 2 2B, SB
Nicholas Barber, New Market: 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 2B, HR
Ryan Rosa, Waynesboro: 2-5, 4 runs, 3 RBIs, 2 2B, BB
Cash Gladfelter, Woodstock: 4-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs
Antwaun Tucker, Staunton: 2-5, run, 3 RBIs, BB, SB
Luc Lipcius, Front Royal: 3-6, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, BB, 2B
Connor Pohl, Front Royal: 4-6, run, RBI, BB
Ryan Coale, Staunton: 1-2, 2 runs, 4 RBIs, eventual game winning grand slam in the 11th
Richard Miller, Staunton: 1-3, 4 runs, RBI, BB, HBP, SF

Pitcher of the Day

Our pitcher of the day on this offense-heavy evening is Colin Brown, from Woodstock Colin Brown Hendrix College 2017and Hendrix College! Colin went 6 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, and striking out 5. He earned the win and a game score of 63.

Others of Note

Alec Aleywine, New Market: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K’s (57)

Schedule for Friday

Waynesboro at Covington
Purcellville at Winchester
Strasburg at Front Royal
Charlottesville at Harrisonburg

Results from Tuesday, June 6

A crisp, cool night in the Valley- a little cold for this dude from East Africa. But all 5 games were played, so at least there’s that.


Charlottesville 8, Woodstock 1
Strasburg 7, Harrisonburg 3
Covington 10, Purcellville 2
New Market 13, Staunton 8 (Runs for NM!)
Front Royal 12, Winchester 6 (This game was never “finished” on the website last night (or yet this morning). This drives me crazy when this happens, I must admit. So, Cardinals and Royals, I had to go off of the Gamelive stats, which do not give all the detail that a regular boxscore would. Hopefully the final boxscore will be posted sometime today.)

Hitter of the Day

Brandon Quaranta Phil U 2017For once, this was an easy choice (relatively): the hitter of the day is Strasburg’s Brandon Quaranta, from Philadelphia University! Brandon was on base 5 times for the Express last night, going 4-4, with 2 runs, 4 RBIs, a double, home run, and a hit-by-pitch. Clearly he has picked up right where he left off in 2016, as he is now 6-11 after three games, with 2 doubles, a home run, and 7 RBIs.

Others of Note

Tyler Martin, Strasburg: 2-4, 2 runs, RBI, BB, 2B
Caleb Walls, Covington: 3-4, run, RBI
Sean Lawlor, Covington: 3-5, 2 runs, RBI, 2 2B
Allan Berrios, Covington: 2-4, 2 runs, 6 RBIs, 2 HR
Seth Hunt, New Market: 2-6, 3 runs, 2B
Alec Aleywine, NM: 3-5, run 3 RBIs, 2B, SB
Jake Washer, New Market: 2-4, run, 4 RBIs, BB, HR
Patrick Overstreet, Staunton: 2-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, HR
Jay Charleston, Staunton: 3-5, 2 runs, 2 SB (8 already??!!!)
Payton Robertson, Staunton: 2-3, 2 runs, 2 BB, 2B, 3 SB
Garrett Marchand, Staunton: 3-3, RBI, BB
Seth Woodard, Winchester: 2-4, 4 RBI
Trevor Rosenburg, Front Royal: 2-3, 3 runs, RBI, BB
Blake Thomas, Front Royal: 1-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs

Pitcher of the Day

From what I can tell, the pitcher of the day really needs to be Front Royal’s Joshua Andrews, from Grand Canyon. He threw 7 shutout innings against Winchester, allowing Josh Andrews Grand Canyon 2017only 1 hit, 0 walks, and struck out 12. He earned the win and a game score of 87- the best game score by far this season.

Others of Note

Sean Byrnes, Charlottesville: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K’s
Connor Gillispie, Charlottesville: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K’s, win (64)
Ben Dum, Strasburg: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K’s, win (57)
Kyle Craft, Covington: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K’s, win
Joe Bobiak, New Market: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K’s, win (60)

Schedule for Wednesday

Front Royal at Purcellville
New Market at Charlottesville
Winchester at Covington
Strasburg at Woodstock
Harrisonburg at Waynesboro