Yesterday’s winner is Bradley Jones; he will move on to face Cory Spangenberg in the next round.

Today we have Brad Zebedis (Strasburg 2011) against Nick Ward (Woodstock 2016)!

  • Brad Zebedis came to Strasburg in 2011, right after his truly incredible freshman season had ended at Presbyterian. First, what he did in school: .425/.492/.717 in 212 at-bats, with 47 runs scored, 23 doubles, 13 home runs, 57 RBIs, and a 16/22 BB/K ratio. Then, to follow up? All he did was win the Valley League MVP award, hitting .420/.490/.638 in 174 at-bats, with 39 runs scored, 19 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 36 RBIs, and an excellent 22/20 BB/K ratio. Because of that production, he was named to the All-Decade first team at catcher. (By the way, he led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, doubles, and total bases, and finished second in OPS (behind Mac Williamson, who you will see later in this competition)). Zebedis went on to finish four years at Presbyterian, ending his college career with a slashline of .328/.402/.501 in 769 at-bats, with 53 doubles, 26 home runs, and a 74/98 BB/K ratio. Inexplicably, he was not drafted after his senior year.
  • Nick Ward came to the Woodstock River Bandits in 2016 after his first season at Division-II West Chester after transferring from VCU (he batted 5 times in 2015). For the Bandits, Ward hit .387/.468/.587 in 150 at-bats, with 32 runs scored, 13 doubles, a triple, five home runs, 24 RBIs, a 16/21 BB/K ratio, and nine stolen bases. He led the league in both batting average and on-base percentage, and finished second in doubles and OPS. He returned to West Chester and went bonkers in 2018 and 2019; he slashed .342/.441/.568 in ’17, and then .364/.502/.722 as a senior in ’18. The Oakland A’s picked him in the 34th round of the 2018 amateur draft, and he started out in the Rookie-level Arizona League, but also played two games in Triple-A Nashville, certainly shocking this observer. In 2019 he spent 13 games at Vermont of the New York-Penn League, and 85 in Low-A Beloit of the Midwest League. He ended up hitting .246/.364/.368 in the minors in ’18 and ’19. Unfortunately, the A’s released him in March of this year. Time will tell if he lands in an Independent League.

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And by the way, if you want to read a ton about either the 2015 or 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual!