While the hitter of the year at the major league level was a tough call, the pitcher of the year was certainly not.

But first, some history:

2017- Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011)
2016- Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011)
2015- Will Harris (Staunton 2003)
2014- David Carpenter (Covington 2004)
2013- David Carpenter (Covington 2004)
2012- Chris Perez (Staunton 2004)
2011- Brandon Beachy (Woodstock 2008)
2010- Chris Perez (Staunton 2004)

Ryan Yarbrough 2018 TB

The easy choice this year is Ryan Yarbrough (Luray 2012). Ryan has been such a groundbreaking pitcher in 2018 that he actually sort of broke the statistic of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For those who don’t know, Ryan was very often the pitcher to come into the game after the “opener,” a new stategy started by his club, the Tampa Bay Rays. The opener is usually a reliever, who will pitch the first inning, and then the “starter,” or “long man,” would come in to pitch the middle innings. WAR compares relievers with relievers and starters against starters, but there’s never been a pitcher like Ryan who is, technically, a reliever, but who pitches the bulk of the game like a starter. So Ryan’s WAR, according to baseball-reference.com, is a miniscule 0.9, but that’s because he is being compared to relievers, who most often come in for just an inning or so. Watch for the formula to be adjusted over time.

For the Rays, Ryan finished 16-6, 3.91, with a 1.29 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and 7.8 K/9 in 147 1/3 innings pitched. He appeared in 38 games, with only 6 of them “starts.” Those 16 wins are the most earned by a Valley League pitcher since Jimmy Key won 16 in 1997 for the Baltimore Orioles. Key has gone on to be inducted into the VBL Hall of Fame, so……. well, let’s get Ryan a few more years in the majors first.

Others to Consider:

  • Will Harris (Staunton 2003), for the Astros: 5-3, 3.49, 1.09 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 10.2 K/9 in 56 2/3 innings
  • Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011), also for the Astros: 2-3, 4.19, 2 saves, 1.16 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.7 K/9 in 47 1/3 innings
  • Drew Rucinski (Luray 2008-10), for the Marlins: 4-2, 4.33, 1.33 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 6.9 K/9 in 35 1/3 innings (Looks like signing with Miami was the right career move for Drew. Maybe he should sign there again?)
  • Chad Kuhl (New Market 2012), for the Pirates: 5-5, 4.55, 1.44 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 8.6 K/9 in 85 innings, and he sat out almost half the season because of an injury
  • Emilio Pagan (Harrisonburg 2010), for the A’s: 3-1, 4.35, 1.19 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.2 K/9 in 62 innings
  • Justin Anderson (Front Royal 2013), for the Angels: 3-3, 4.07, 4 saves, 1.48 WHIP, 6.5 BB/9, 10.9 K/9 in 55 1/3 innings
  • Brad Ziegler (New Market 2000), split between Miami and Arizona: 2-6, 3.91, 10 saves, 1.30 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and 6.1 K/9 in 73 2/3 innings pitched. Brad retired after the season.

Ryan Yarbrough pitching 2018