The season has been over for about a week now, and it’s time to start ATVL’s top players lists, which includes the best hitters, starting pitchers, and relief pitchers.

We will begin the process with the top hitter’s list, but first, let’s talk about the parameters.

First of all, each of these batters must be eligible for the batting title, which comes out to 2.7 plate appearances per game. Many good hitters did not quite reach the threshold, so they will not be included in the list (but are listed below).

Another thing to keep in mind: I am not making predictions about the future with any of these players. This is a list that is based on statistics ONLY. It is not who will be the best pro baseball player (that list is coming later, by the way). This is based only on performance. Particularly on the pitcher’s side, this can cause some confusion, because pro scouts are looking for something other than a simple, “Can he get hitters out?” They are looking for the guys who throw hard, and show the ability to spin the ball, and potential (the future, in other words). I will be looking at only performance (the past).

With that said, I have had to parse some differences between players, as you might imagine. If I decided on just OPS (on-base plus slugging), then my list would be no different than what you could sort on the Valley League stat page. I try to use the whole package to rank the players, so I use batting average (the horror!), on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and even counting numbers to determine where a player has landed. (So if a player didn’t play as much as someone else, that would matter to a certain extent.)

Also keep in mind that I do this to celebrate players, not to denigrate anyone else. These players are amateurs, and I have no interest in putting any of them down for whatever reason. This space is to celebrate the accomplishments of these young men.

This list is only one person’s opinion. You may rank your favorite player much higher than I have, and that’s fine. You may comment about your displeasure, of course (free country), but again, I will not denigrate a player in this space. If you would like to have a private discussion in my email or inbox about my reasons for picking one player over another, that’s cool. Do remember, though, that I have spent quite a bit of time ordering these lists. I’m satisfied with how they look.

Is all that clear?

So. I have listed who I believe are the top 20 hitters in the 2018 season. I will count them down from #20 all the way to #1, one at a time, over the next few weeks (to give each of them a moment in the sun). After that, I will turn my attention to starting pitchers, and then to relievers.

Full writeups will be included in the 2019 Valley League Annual, coming this November or December.

Here are the players who were quite good this summer, but did not have enough at-bats to qualify for the list:

  • Christian Hlinka (Virginia), Charlottesville: .367/.433/.519, 79 AB, 14 runs, 3 2B, 3 HR, 21 RBIs, 9/17 BB/K
  • Kirby McMullen (Florida), Charlottesville: .342/.419/.500, 76 AB, 21 runs, 6 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 10/13 BB/K
  • Tre Dabney (JMU), Front Royal: .325/.475/.662, 77 AB, 15 runs, 4 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 15 RBIs, 11/11 BB/K
  • Nicolas Nolan (Florida Gulf Coast), New Market: .360/.431/.480, 50 AB, 9 runs, 6 2B, 5/9 BB/K
  • Duncan Pastore (Nova Southeastern), Staunton: .315/.378/.382, 89 AB, 6 2B, 8/18 BB/K
  • Jimmy Goldsmith (Radford), Winchester: .382/.495/.500, 76 AB, 15 runs, 3 2B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 12/12 BB/K
  • John Servello (Toledo), Winchester: .421/.462/.544, 57 AB, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5/3 BB/K
  • Nick Holesa (Virginia Tech), Woodstock: .301/.359/.548, 93 AB, 12 runs, 8 2B, 5 HR, 18 RBIs, 5/17 BB/K
  • Garrett Evans (Florida Atlantic), Strasburg: .375/.468/.500, 40 AB, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 2/7 BB/K
  • Gunner Peterson (Illinois State), Waynesboro: .321/.400/.536, 56 AB, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 19 RBIs, 8/17 BB/K
  • Sean Cannady (Florida International), Waynesboro: .313/.432/.463, 67 AB, 4 2B, 3 3B, 15 RBIs, 7/12 BB/K
  • Jose Aquino (San Jacinto), Purcellville: .348/408/.685, 89 AB, 19 runs, 6 2B, 8 HR, 19 RBIs, 8/31 BB/K
  • Max Crabbe (Hawaii), Purcellville: .310/.410/.476, 84 AB, 15 runs, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 22 RBIs, 13/13 BB/K