#8 Starting Pitcher: Dylan Hall, Strasburg

Dylan Hall Virginia TechThe 8th best starting pitcher in the 2017 VBL season is Strasburg’s Dylan Hall, from Virginia Tech!

Dylan was one of the (admittedly many) reasons that the Express came within a game of a third straight Jim Lineweaver trophy. Let’s take a look…

Stras ERA W L G GS IP H R ER BB K BAVG WIP BB/9 K/9
2017 3.34 2 1 9 6 35.0 32 17 13 13 35 0.239 1.286 3.3 9.0
Play 0.00 2 0 3 2 12.7 10 1 0 10 10 0.208 1.575 7.1 7.1

Of the pitchers considered for this list, Dylan finished 8th in ERA, 10th in innings pitched, 6th in K’s AND batting average, 9th in WHIP, 10th in BB/9, and 5th in K/9. After a solid regular season over 35 innings, Dylan then threw 12 2/3 playoff innings while allowing only 1 unearned run. His best start was in the playoffs, against New Market on July 30th, when he threw 5 shutout innings, while allowing 4 hits, 3 walks, and striking out 5.

Dylan, a Stafford, Virginia, native, is a current sophomore at Virginia Tech. Here are his stats for his freshman year, in which he threw 23 innings:

VT ERA W L G GS IP H R ER BB K BAVG WIP BB/9 K/9
2017 7.04 1 1 17 0 23.0 29 23 18 10 20 0.312 1.696 3.9 7.8

Congratulations on your excellent summer, Dylan!

Dylan Hall Championship game resized

Dylan warming up before the deciding game of the 2017 championship series (ATVL)

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#2 Hitter: Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg

Brandon Quaranta Phil U 2017This young man, Brandon Quaranta, has cut a pretty wide swath through the Valley League in his two seasons in Strasburg. If you follow the Valley League with any regularity, Brilliant Reader, you’ve heard of this young man and his hitting ability and monstrous power. (He pitches, too, of course.)

Let’s get right to the stats, for both 2016 and 2017, along with Brandon’s playoff stats, with the totals at the end:

VBL G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS Avg OBP SLG
2016 20 80 17 30 7 1 6 24 4 15 1 0 0.375 0.425 0.713
Play 7 29 9 13 2 0 5 12 3 8 0 0 0.448 0.500 1.034
2017 38 151 36 50 11 0 11 49 25 32 1 0 0.331 0.448 0.623
Play 9 35 8 7 0 0 1 3 11 7 0 0 0.200 0.383 0.286
Tot. 74 295 70 100 20 1 23 88 43 62 2 0 0.339 0.438 0.647

In 2016, even though Brandon came late and didn’t get enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, he finished 4th in the league in home runs, and was named 1st team All-Valley at designated hitter.

In 2017, He had 4 hits in a game 4 times, and, perhaps not so coincidentally, was named ATVL’s hitter of the day 4 times as well. His best game was on July 21 against Woodstock, when he went 4-6, with 3 runs, a double, 2 home runs, and 7 RBIs.

He finished 3rd in OPS, 7th in OBP, 4th in slugging, tied for 5th in walks, 3rd in total bases, 1st in RBIs, 1st in home runs, tied for 4th in doubles, 9th in hits, and tied for 3rd in runs. That’s top 5 in 8 categories! He was named, again, first team All-Valley at DH, and a 2nd team All-American at utility in the entire nation by Perfect Game. Oh, right- he won the home run derby in the All-Star game, too!

Brandon also made both big prospect lists; he was named #8 in the league by Baseball America, and #9 by Perfect Game.

Now let’s take a look at what Brandon has done at Philadelphia University (which, by the way, will now by known as “Jefferson,” after the merger between Phil U and Thomas Jefferson University).

PU G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS Avg OBP SLG
2015 19 41 4 8 0 0 1 8 9 12 2 0 0.195 0.340 0.268
2016 35 102 22 34 3 0 7 25 15 20 3 0 0.333 0.444 0.569
2017 47 157 45 45 8 1 15 41 34 34 12 1 0.287 0.430 0.637
Tot. 101 300 71 87 11 1 23 74 58 66 17 1 0.290 0.423 0.563

Brandon led his team in home runs, RBIs, and walks in 2017, and was named to the All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference First Team.

And just for fun, let’s combine Brandon’s stats from the Valley League and his college team:

175 games, 595 at-bats, 141 runs, 187 hits, 31 doubles, 2 triples, 46 home runs, 162 RBIs, 101 walks, 128 strikeouts, 19 stolen bases (1 caught stealing), and a slash line of 314/430/605. Wow.

Congratulations on your two excellent seasons in the Valley, Brandon! Now go out there and have another great year at Jefferson, and force a major league team to draft you in June! (And happy birthday!)

Brandon Quaranta at bat 2017 resizedBrandon Quaranta close up resized 2017

 

 

Top 2017 Prospects

Each year, two media outlets, Baseball America and Perfect Game, rank their top prospects in each summer league (well, most of them).

As usual, ATVL is there (with a little help from my friends) to keep everyone informed about what the scouting community thinks about the top players in our league.

So let’s take a look at the top ten prospects from each publication!

Baseball America Valley League Top 10 Prospects 2017
1. Zachary Peek, RHP, Strasburg, (So., Winthrop)
2. Dominic Canzone, OF, Front Royal, (So., Ohio State)
3. Tom Sutera, RHP, Purcellville (Jr., Siena)
4. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Charlottesville, (So., Old Dominion)
5. Luc Lipcius, OF, Front Royal, (So., Tennessee)
6. Nate Pawelczyk, RHP, New Market (Jr., Winthrop)
7. Jake Washer, C, New Market (RSo., East Carolina)
8. Brandon Quaranta, OF/1B, Strasburg (Sr., Philadelphia, Pa.)
9. Mike Wielansky, 2B/SS, Charlottesville (Jr., Wooster, Ohio)
10. Cash Gladfelter, SS, Woodstock (Jr., Shippensburg, Pa.)
Perfect Game Top 10 Prospects 2017
1. Dominic Canzone, OF, Front Royal, (So., Ohio State)
2. Zachary Peek, RHP, Strasburg, (So., Winthrop)
3. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Charlottesville, (So., Old Dominion)
4. Mike Wielansky, 2B/SS, Charlottesville (Jr., Wooster, Ohio)
5. Tom Sutera, RHP, Purcellville (Jr., Siena)
6. Tony Beam, C, Harrisonburg (Sr., Texas-San Antonio)
7. Max Wood, OF, Staunton (Sr., Central Florida)
8. Chris Farish, RHP, Harrisonburg (R-Sr., Wake Forest)
9. Brandon Quaranta, OF/1B, Strasburg (Sr., Philadelphia, Pa.)
10. Trevin Esquerra, 1B/3B, Purcellville (So., Loyola Marymount)

The Semi-Breakdown

Named on Both Lists:

  • Peek (1,2)
  • Canzone (2,1)
  • Sutera (3,5)
  • Pasquantino (4,3)
  • Quaranta (8,9)
  • Wielansky (9,4)

By VBL Team:

  • Strasburg- 2 (Peek, Quaranta)
  • Front Royal- 2 (Canzone, Lipcius)
  • Purcellville- 2 (Sutera, Esquerra)
  • Charlottesville- 2 (Pasquantino, Wielansky)
  • New Market- 2 (Pawelczyk, Washer)
  • Harrisonburg- 2 (Beam, Farish)
  • Woodstock- 1 (Gladfelter)
  • Staunton- 1 (Wood)
  • Covington, Waynesboro, Winchester- 0

 

 

League Record Book: Home Runs

Ah, the home run. The major leagues are seeing a monstrous amount of home runs hit this season. Summer Collegiate ball is a little different… I believe that the “golden era” of home runs in the Valley League was probably 2012, when Joseph Odom, Jimmy Yezzo, and Brad Picha went nuts in Winchester (the ball was most likely juiced, too).

Anyway, here is the list of most home runs in one Valley League season since 2004!

1 Joseph Odom Winchester 2012 17
2 Jon Love Front Royal 2004 16
Steve McQuail Front Royal 2009 16
Jimmy Yezzo Winchester 2012 16
Zach Sterry Waynesboro 2016 16
6 Collin Cowgill Covington 2005 14
7 Marcus Nidiffer Covington 2008 13
Ryan Durrence Covington 2009 13
Shaun Cooper Harrisonburg 2010 13
Jonathan Griffin Luray 2010 13
Brandon Murray Waynesboro 2012 13
11 Jeremy Terni Winchester 2004 12
Tyler Townsend Winchester 2008 12
Brandon Quaranta Strasburg 2017 12

(I must admit- I went back in time to add the “12’s” from the last few years so Brandon could make the list.)

Major leaguers: Collin Cowgill
Current Minor Leaguers: Joseph Odom, Zach Sterry
Previous Minor Leaguers: Steve McQuail, Jimmy Yezzo, Marcus Nidiffer (Marcus is still active in the Indy Leagues), Ryan Durrence, Shaun Cooper, Jonathan Griffin (Also still active in Indy ball), Tyler Townsend
No pro ball: Brandon Murray, Jeremy Terni
Still in College: Brandon Quaranta

According to Chaz Weaver, the highest total ever in the league is Mike Sabo’s 28. for the 1987 Staunton Braves. I don’t see anyone equaling that anytime soon….

Joseph Odom Carolina

Joseph Odom in Carolina in 2015 or 2016

Tom Sox Named Summer Team of the Year, and Other Awards

In an absolute first in the history of the league, the Charlottesville Tom Sox have been named the best summer league team in the nation by Perfect Game!

Another media outlet, the website Collegiate Summer Baseball, in what seems like an impossible task, has ranked the top summer league teams from one to thirty. The Tom Sox finished 2nd on this list, behind the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League.

Perfect Game also named their summer All-Americans, and two 2017 VBLers made the lists, while one 2016 alum did as well.

  • Of course, Michael Wielansky (Charlottesville) was named to the first team at 2nd base.
  • Brandon Quaranta (Strasburg) was named to the 2nd team at utility.
  • Zach Neff (Waynesboro 2016) was named to the 1st team at starting pitcher. Zach, from Austin Peay, played in the Coastal Plains League. He went 7-0, 1.45, with 2 saves, 34 hits, 7 walks, and 65 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings pitched. ATVL named Zach the top relief pitcher in the Valley in 2016.

Charlottesville Team Shot resized

The Top Hitters of 2017, An Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen, we are just about to start the list of the top hitters in the Valley League in the 2017 season!

First of all, let’s talk about some parameters.

The first qualification is that each of these hitters has to be eligible for the batting title, which comes out to 2.7 plate appearances per team game. Harrisonburg’s Tony Beam and Waynesboro’s Malik Stephens, for example, had very good seasons in the Valley, but they did not reach the threshold.

Another thing to keep in mind: I am not making predictions about the future with any of these players. Why not? Because I DON’T KNOW. I AM NOT A SCOUT. I can’t tell you who has the smoothest swing or the fastest batspeed, or who is a lock to get drafted next June. I am going off of statistics only. I’ve been asked in the past, “Wouldn’t a list of the best hitters be better than just looking at the stats?” Yes, it would (I think). But I can’t do that, so I do what I am able. (Besides, Baseball America does the other kind of list, and lots of people are frustrated with them, too, because the “big names” get more attention than others, who might be performing better.)

With that said, I have had to parse some differences between players, as you might imagine. If I decided on just OPS (on-base plus slugging), then my list would be no different than what you could sort on the Valley League stat page. I try to use the whole package to rank the players. So I use batting average (the horror!), on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and even counting numbers to determine where a player has landed. (So if a player didn’t play as much as someone else, that would matter to a certain extent.)

Also keep in mind that I do this to celebrate players, not to denigrate anyone else. These players are amateurs, and I have no interest in putting any of them down for whatever reason. This space is to celebrate the accomplishments of these young men.

Remember that this list is only one person’s opinion. You may rank your favorite player much higher than I have, and that’s fine. You may comment about your displeasure, of course (free country), but again, I will not denigrate a player in this space. If you would like to have a private discussion in my email or inbox about my reasons for picking one player over another, that’s cool. Do remember, though, that I have spent quite a bit of time ordering these lists. I’m satisfied with how they look.

Is all that clear?

So. I have listed who I believe are the top 16 hitters in the 2017 season (I couldn’t decide between the last two, so I decided to include them both). I will count them down from #15B all the way to #1, one at a time, over the next few weeks. After that, I will turn my attention to starting pitchers, and then to relievers.

Here are the hitters who were close to making the list, but fell just short (in alphabetical order):

  • Ty Andrus, Harisonburg: 348/413/374 in 155 at-bats, 54 hits, 29 runs, 11 RBIs, 2 triples, 17/9 BB/K, 10 SB
  • Zac Evers, Waynesboro: 283/366/520 in 127 at-bats, 24 runs, 19 RBIs, 8 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs, 15/39 BB/K, 17 SB
  • Jacob Hirsh, Strasburg: 318/431/449 in 107 at-bats, 30 runs, 14 RBIs, 3 doubles, 1 triples, 3 home runs, 18/21 BB/K, 10 SB
  • Jake Perry, Strasburg: 313/413/481 in 131 at-bats, 21 runs, 18 RBIs, 13 doubles, 3 home runs, 21/42 BB/K
  • Rick Spiers, Charlottesville: 333/391/487 in 117 at-bats, 28 runs, 19 RBIs, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 10/24 BB/K, 8 SB
  • Chase Suddeth, New Market: 324/424/456 in 136 at-bats, 30 runs, 25 RBIs, 10 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, 22/20 BB/K, 9 SB

Playoff Results, Thursday August 3

The Tom Sox will wait another day!

Score

Strasburg 4, Winchester 3 (10 innings); Turner Buis hit a solo home run in the top of the 10th inning to send this series to a deciding 3rd game.

Hitter of the Day

Turner Buis Coastal Carolina 2017Yep, it’s Turner Buis, who went 2-5, with 2 runs, an RBI, walk, and game winning home run. From Coastal Carolina, Turner hit 299/427/410 in 134 regular season at-bats, and is 167/286/333 after 24 playoff at-bats.

Others of Note

Sebastiano Santorelli, Strasburg: 2-5, run, RBI
Tyler Halas, Strasburg: 2-5
Dillon Reed, Winchester: 2-3, run, RBI, SB, 2 BB
Alejandro Rivero, Winchester: 2-4, RBI, 2B, 3B

Pitcher of the Day

The best stat line from last night was turned in from Strasburg’s Lawson Humphries, Lawson Humphries Ga Southern 2017from Georgia Southern. Lawson threw 3 shutout, no-hit innings, with 2 walks and 1 strikeout last night. Lawson is 0-0, 2.45 in 3 2/3 playoff innings, after he went 1-2, 5.16 in 22 2/3 regular season innings.

Tonight’s Game

Winchester at Strasburg, 7 PM, deciding game 3. I’m planning to attend this one, and might even bring my daughter along, in her last evening in the states for quite a while. Say hello to Karen if you see her!