It’s time for the relievers.
And as usual, the ranking process for this list was ridiculous. Let’s be clear- each and every reliever that will be listed over the next month had a very good Valley League season in 2017. But it’s still almost impossible to rank them, because many of them were very, very good at one aspect, but not all of them. (In other words, for example, maybe a pitcher walked almost no one, but their WHIP was higher, or struck out everyone, but walked too many…)
So ATVL did his level best to rank the top 15 relievers of the 2017 season. He used ERA, batting average against, WHIP, BB/9, and K/9, and innings pitched mattered, too (as will be discussed below). And votes for pitcher of the year mattered as well…..
There is a group of relievers who were excellent, but who will not be listed- all because of a lack of innings pitched in relief during the regular season. So ATVL will give them a mention here, so at least they get a (brief) moment in the sun….
Israel Fuentes, Waynesboro, from Faulkner University: Israel pitched in 3 games from June 22 through July 3rd, going 0-0, 0.00, with a 0.519 WHIP, 1.2 BB/9, and 7.0 K/9 over 7 2/3 innings.
Andrew Mahoney, Waynesboro, from Mississippi State: Andrew also pitched in only 7 2/3 innings, weirdly, in the same time frame as Fuentes: Mahoney pitched on June 27th and July 1st. He went 2-0, 0.00, with a 0.649 WHIP, 1.2 BB/9, and 11.7 K/9.
Christopher Farish, Harrisonburg, from Wake Forest: Christopher went 1-1, 2.16 in 7 games, with 2 of them starts. He threw 25 innings, with 13 of them as a starter. He ended with a 1.200 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, and 12.2 K/9. Perfect Game named him the 8th best prospect in the league.
Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg, from Philadelphia University: Brandon is best known as the masher in the middle of the Express lineup- the hitter who was named ATVL’s 2nd best hitter in the entire league in 2017. Brandon also pitched some in 2017; he threw 8 2/3 relief innings, going 0-0, 1.58, with a 0.973 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, and 11.2 K/9.
Nathan Pawelczyk, New Market, from Winthrop: Nathan turned heads in 2017; he was named 2nd team All-Valley as a relief pitcher, and Baseball America named him the 6th best prospect in the league. Nathan went 3-0, 0.55, with a 0.982 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, and 12.7 K/9, but he only pitched 10 1/3 innings as a reliever, and 6 innings as a starter.
Rick Spiers, Charlottesville and Randolph Macon: Rick pitched 23 innings in 2017, but only 7 of them as a reliever. He was fantastic overall, going 4-0, 0.78, with a 0.783 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, and 10.6 K/9. In fact, he was on the mound when the Tom Sox won the deciding third game of the championship series.