Almost exactly a year ago, I posted an article on which Valley League franchise is the most successful, given a specific rubric. It’s time to update!
So, some background first:
Seven Valley League teams have been in the league since 2001: Covington, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, New Market, Staunton, Winchester, and Waynesboro. Woodstock joined in 2004, Strasburg in 2011, Charles Town/Purcellville in 2013, and Charlottesville in 2015. Several other teams were active in this time span: Luray, Haymarket/Aldie, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Rockbridge.
My ridiculous idea was this: I decided to assign points (called “Franchise Points”) for various achievements. The rubric looks like this:
- 1 point for a season finished at .500 or better
- 1 point for 30+ regular season wins (a bonus for a truly outstanding year)
- 1 point for winning the regular season division title (or in the case of 2014, 2010, 2007, and 2006, winning the regular season pennant, since there were no divisions those years)
- 1 point for losing in the first round of the playoffs (or you could call this a point for qualifying for the playoffs)
- 2 points for losing in the semifinals
- 3 points for losing in the finals
- 5 points for winning the title (what we play for, obviously)
Does that sound ridiculous? Yeah, I know, it is. But it’s fun!
Let’s begin with some winning percentages. I have separated the charts between the original seven and the others.
|“Original” Seven (2001-2018)||W||L||Pct|
If you’re curious, this ranking did not change in the last year. New Market has closed the gap a bit with Staunton, but the order is the same. Pretty amazing, though- Harrisonburg is a full 37 games in first place in the regular season over the past 18 years.
With a strong 2018 regular season, the Cannons passed the Luray Wranglers to move into 2nd place. The other places remain the same.
Now, by assigning the rubric, here are the best franchises:
- Covington passed Harrisonburg in 2018, and New Market passed Staunton.
- Winchester: 6 division titles, won 3 championships (2001, 2003, 2004)
- Waynesboro: 5 division titles, also 3 championships (2007, 2013, 2014)
- Covington: 4 division titles, won two championships (2005, 2011)
- Harrisonburg: 4 division titles, 1 championship (2012); oddly, the Turks have lost in the first round of the playoffs 13 times in the last 18 years, including the last 6 in a row
- New Market: 1 division title (2006), and two championships (2002, 2018)
- Staunton: 3 division titles, 0 championships; the Braves made the finals in 2004, 2006, and 2015, but have not won a championship since 1999
- Front Royal: 2 division titles (2009, 2015), 0 championships, one finals (2010); Cardinals won their only championship in 1986
Now the partials:
- Charlottesville passed Luray to move into 2nd in 2018
- Strasburg: 1 division title, 2 championships (2015, 2016).
- Charlottesville: 1 division title, 1 championship (2017)
- Purcellville/Charles Town: 2 division titles (in a row), 0 championships
- Luray: 3 division titles, 3 championships (2006, 2008, 2010)
- Aldie/Haymarket: 1 division title, 1 championship (2009)
- Rockbridge: 0 division titles, 0 championships- Rapids made the finals in 2011
- Woodstock: 1 division title (2013), but the River Bandits have not advanced to the finals yet as a franchise, and have not made the playoffs for 3 seasons in a row
- Fauquier: in their 3 years of existence, the Gators did not win a division title or championship. They lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2008
- Loudoun: the Rangers finished last in their only season
Now putting all of them together:
|Team||Pts||Avg||Change from 2017|
There we have it! The most successful franchise, holding on to its title from 2017, is the Strasburg Express! The next four are Winchester, Charlottesville, Luray, and Waynesboro. You can see the movement in the chart under “change.” Staunton took the biggest tumble, while Charlottesville took the biggest jump.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our fun little exercise, Brilliant Reader- tune in one year from now for the next update….