Monday’s winner is John Kruk.

Tuesday’s Match

Today we have Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05) against Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-07). Winner goes to the final four!

  • Murphy defeated Gaby Sanchez and Reggie Sanders to get here. His writeup: “There is a legend about Daniel Murphy. The story goes that when he went to Jacksonville University as a freshman, everyone took turns introducing themselves. Supposedly, when it was his turn, Murphy said, “I’m Daniel Murphy. I hit third.” That showed a focus and confidence in his bat that has served him well in his MLB career. Drafted pretty late, in the 13th round in 2006 by the New York Mets, Murphy hit his way to the majors, making his debut in 2008. After splitting his time between the outfield and first base in 2009 for the Mets, he missed 2010 to a knee injury. Returning in 2011, he settled in at second base for the next few years. In 2015, Murphy exploded onto the national scene when he went nuts in the NLDS against the Dodgers, homering three times in five games, and then hit .529/.556/.1.294 in a four-game sweep against the Cubs in the NLCS, winning the MVP and driving the Mets to the World Series. He signed with the Washington Nationals for 2016, and went on to have his best season in his career, hitting .347/.390/.595 in 531 at-bats, with 47 double, five triples, 25 home runs, and 104 RBIs. He was an All-Star, won the Silver Slugger award, and finished second in MVP voting. He went on to have another excellent season in 2017, again making the All-Star game, winning the Silver Slugger, and earning MVP votes (he finished 19th). He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in August of 2018, signed with the Colorado Rockies before the 2019 season, and was back with the team for 2020 when the season was halted. He won two Player of the Month awards- May and July of 2016- and led the National League in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and doubles in 2016. He won another double “title” with 43 in 2017 as well. In his career up to this point, he’s hit .298/.343/.458 in 5,185 at-bats, with 368 doubles, 29 triples, 135 home runs, and 719 RBIs.”
  • Kipnis beat Cliff Pennington and David Eckstein to arrive in the elite eight. His writeup: “Jason Kipnis was truly astonishing for the Lumberjacks in 2007; ATVL named him the top hitter in the league. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians out of Arizona State, Kipnis quickly moved through the minor leagues and made his major league debut on July 22, 2011. He moved into the starting lineup in 2012, and, besides an injury or two, remained Cleveland’s starting second baseman (or center fielder) until 2019. His best season was in 2013, when he slashed .284/.366/.452 in 564 at-bats, with 36 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 84 RBIs, and even 30 stolen bases. He was named to the All-Star team, and finished 11th in MVP voting. He was also an All-Star in 2015, and finished 16th in MVP voting that offseason. Over his nine-year career, Kipnis has hit a total of .261/.333/.417 in 4,290 at-bats, with 252 doubles, 23 triples, 123 home runs, 529 RBIs, and 135 stolen bases. He signed with the Chicago Cubs in the 2019 offseason.”

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And by the way, if you want to read much, much more about the 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual!