Now that we have finished the top hitters in the 2018 Valley League season, we will turn our attention to the top starting pitchers…. which brings us to a problem, Dear Reader. Things have changed very, very much since I starting ranking both starters and relievers. Back in 2007, when all this started, starters were starters, and pitched five or more innings most of the time, and relievers were relievers, who came in and pitched one or two innings in most of their appearances. (There were “swing” guys, too, guys who could start and relieve, but not like things are now.)
Now, college coaches are (understandably) much more concerned about their arms, and Valley League coaches have reduced the number of innings that starters throw. Relievers in any one game may be starters in other games, and they may often come in and throw three or four innings at a go. One of the (old) requirements to make the list of top starters is that the pitcher needed to accrue enough innings to be eligible for the ERA title… which comes out to 0.8 innings per team game. Do you know how many pitchers reached that threshold in 2018? Twenty. Only nine of those had an ERA under 4.00, and of those nine, five actually relieved in more games than they started. So things have changed.
So what to do? This year, for the first time, I will count pitchers as starters if their team counted them as such. In other words, if a pitcher’s team nominated him for an All-Valley League award as a starter, then I counted that pitcher as a starter. It’s that simple. Now, I still needed a minimum innings requirement, but I decided to back that all the way down to 25.
Don’t ever say that ATVL doesn’t change with the times.
ATVL has identified the top 16 starters in the 2018 season, and will begin posting them one by one in the coming days. The most important categories are strikeouts (by extension, K/9), walks (and BB/9), WHIP (walks+hits divided by innings), and batting average against. Innings can be a tie-breaker, and wins are not very important in this exercise.
Here are the five young men who had outstanding summers, but did not reach 25 innings pitched:
|Rafe Schindler, Harr||3.05||2||2||10||2||17.7||16||9||6||5||23||0.229||1.186||2.5||11.7|
|Justin Sorokowski, Char||3.00||2||0||4||4||18.0||21||6||6||1||23||0.309||1.222||0.5||11.5|
|Evan Justice, Char||2.41||0||3||8||3||22.3||10||7||6||17||35||0.137||1.211||6.9||14.1|
|Kobe Foster, FR||1.61||2||0||4||4||22.3||15||5||4||6||28||0.183||0.942||2.4||11.3|
|Justin Beyer, Way||1.45||2||1||10||3||24.7||17||12||4||12||21||0.179||1.174||4.4||7.7|
Look for the list to begin soon!