Tyler Bocock, the assistant coach of the 2019 Woodstock River Bandits and 2013 Waynesboro General, and I entered into a conversation the other day about the best Valley League teams in the last decade.
While it would be exceedingly difficult to pick out the best teams in that time (how would I do it besides records and titles?), he got me thinking about a piece of information that I already have- pro players from each year’s teams.
So I decided to take a look, of course. What follows is the seven teams from the past ten years who have had at least nine players go pro (and I mean organized ball, here, not the Indy Leagues).
Ready for a trip down memory lane?
12 Players: 2010 Covington and 2010 Luray
The 2010 Lumberjacks went 20-24 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. They had two future major leaguers on the roster- Robby Scott and Sherman Johnson:
The 2010 Wranglers went 27-17 and won the VBL title. Drew Rucinski has pitched in the major leagues, and Nick Rickles made it to Triple-A:
11 Players: 2010 Staunton
The 2010 Braves went 18-26, finished 10th in the league, and missed the playoffs. None of the 11 made the major leagues: ***EDIT*** Austin Adams also played in this season (I had him at 2011 only), AND in the majors. This puts the 2010 Braves at 12 players.
10 Players: 2016 Front Royal and 2011 Luray
None of the 2016 Front Royal Cardinals’ ten dudes have made the majors, but many of them are still active, so it’s still possible. The Cards went 21-21 that summer, and lost in the semi-finals of the playoffs:
The 2011 Wranglers went 19-25 and did not make the playoffs. None of the ten guys listed below made the game’s highest level:
9 Players: 2013 and 2011 Harrisonburg
The 2013 Turks went 32-12, won the South, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. None of the nine made the majors:
The 2011 Turks also went 32-12. The team won the Central, and lost in the semi-finals of the playoffs. Mac Williamson has made the game’s highest level:
|Justin Van Grouw|
I find it interesting that the seven teams in the last ten years with the most pro players went 32-12, 32-12, 27-17, 21-21, 20-24, 19-25, and 18-26. A whole range of results. Of the seven, only one team won the VBL title, while two of them didn’t even make the playoffs. (I’m thinking of a huge study regarding results and pro players, to see if there is any correlation. Hmm. Do I have the time?)