Before we get to the best starting pitcher in the 2015 Valley League season, let’s take a quick look at the previous pitchers who have ascended to the top of this list:
2014: Keegan Long, Front Royal and St. Joseph’s
2013: Ricky Winters, Woodstock and Delta State
2012: Jansen Carr, Winchester and Southern Arkansas
2011: Aaron Luchterhand, Harrisonburg and Arkansas Tech
2010: Greg Nappo, Haymarket and Connecticut
2009: Grant Sasser, Haymarket and NC State
2008: Drew Rucinski, Luray and Ohio State
2007: Dustin Umberger, Luray and Liberty
Now to our current #1!
Hayden McCutcheon should be a household name already, as he was named the Valley League’s Pitcher of the Year at the end of the summer. Understandably so, too, as he was excellent for the Tom Sox, going 3-1, 1.74, with a 0.972 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, and 11.3 K/9 in 46 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed only 31 hits, 14 walks, and struck out 58.
He had two starts where he was close to unhittable. The first was on June 30th at New Market, when Hayden went 5 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 10. The second was on July 7th against future champion Strasburg, when he threw a complete game, allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts to earn the win.
The 6-foot-2, 205 pound righty is entering his redshirt sophomore season at Charleston. He pitched only 13 innings as a true freshman in 2014, before he was injured. In 2015, he went 1-2, 5.26, with 50 hits, 16 walks, and 27 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings pitched. Hayden was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school as well; Diamond Prospects named him the 7th best prospect in the state of South Carolina before he attended Charleston.
Congratulations on your fantastic summer, Hayden! You’ve joined a list of excellent pitchers!