Evan Rathburn is on this list for his knockout regular season, but the Strasburg Express would not have advanced to the 2019 finals if he hadn’t been even better in the playoffs.
Rathburn, a 6-foot, 180 pound righthanded senior from Central Missouri, was the winning pitcher in back-to-back semi-final games against the Woodstock River Bandits, when the Express were hurting for arms and didn’t know exactly where their nine innings would come from. (Rathburn’s parents, Edwin and Eileen, were there to cheer him on… or nervously stand in the bleachers. One or the other.)
His stats for the season and playoffs:
Among pitchers considered for this list, he finished third in ERA, tied for seventh in BB/9, and eighth in K/9. He was not a postseason award winner, but still received a number of votes from team and media members. He gave up his only earned run in his third appearance, on June 30, and then ripped off 15 2/3 innings the rest of the season without allowing an earned run. (There were two unearned runs scored in the finals, on August 6, but they were not his fault.)
Here are Rathburn’s two seasons at Central Missouri:
In 2018, Central Missouri finished 39-17, but was even better in 2019, when the Mules went 46-16 in 2019, with a MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) and NCAA Division II Central Region Championship. The team finished in third place overall in Division II.
Rathburn attended Crowder College in 2017, but did not play.
To read more about Evan, along with game reports from his playoff appearances, make sure you purchase the 2019 Valley League Annual!