#10 Starter: Joseph Sprake, Charlottesville

Joseph Sprake just kept working.

He was standing about five feet from the dugout wall in Harrisonburg, with his Charlottesville Tom Sox teammates milling about, preparing for their midseason clash with the Turks. With his feet set, he would rear back and fire a weighted ball into the dugout wall. *Twack!* He would gather the ball, set his feet, and do it again. *Twack!* And again. *Twack!*

His teammates gently teased him as they slid by in the one foot of walking space behind him. Sprake ignored them, and continued whipping the ball into the wall, working on his arm strength.

This singleness of mind gives us a look at the attitude of the 10th best starter in the 2019 Valley League season- a current sophomore at Elon, and a young man who can run his fastball up into the mid-90’s. He wants to get better, no matter what is going on around him.

Sprake put up the following numbers in the Tom Sox’s piggy-back starters program:

ERA W L G GS IP H R ER BB K BAVG WIP BB/9 K/9
2019 3.27 2 0 7 2 22.0 19 9 8 7 25 0.235 1.182 2.9 10.2
Play 5.87 1 0 2 2 7.7 9 6 5 6 8 0.300 1.948 7.0 9.4

Sprake, a 6-foot-4, 205 pound righthander, finished eighth among pitchers on this list in WHIP, tied for seventh in BB/9, and also seventh in K/9.

Sprake was excellent on June 11 at Front Royal, when he threw four shutout innings, allowing two hits, no walks, and striking out five. He was pitcher of the day in his next outing six days later at Covington with another four shutout innings, with four hits, one walk, and six strikeouts (and the win). He was named to the South All-Star team, and participated in the Prospect Showcase in North Carolina.

He pitched 18 innings as a freshman for the Phoenix:

Elon ERA W L G GS IP H R ER BB K WHIP BB/9 K/9
2019 4.91 0 2 17 1 18.0 13 11 10 14 16 1.500 7.0 8.0

As long as he has a sliver of space and time, he’ll keep working on his game. Watch him for an uptick in these numbers next spring!

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