High powered matchup here…
- Erne Valdes defeated James Ziemba in the first round, 80% to 20% (10 votes), and Justin Camp in the second 84.6% to 15.4% (13 votes). His writeup: “Erne Valdes (Front Royal 2016) was, according to ATVL, the top starter in the league. In six starts that summer, he went 2-1, 1.04, with a 0.836 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, and 11.7 K/9 in 34 2/3 innings pitched. Returning to NAIA St. Thomas for his last two seasons, he went a combined 10-5, 3.22, with a 1.24 WHIP, 5.7 BB/9, and 13.6 K/9 in 106 2/3 innings. Missing bats like that will get you noticed, and sure enough, the Texas Rangers signed Valdes as an undrafted free agent in 2018, and assigned him to the rookie-level Arizona League. He appeared in 16 games at that level, going 1-2, 3.86, with two saves, a 1.04 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, and 13.5 K/9 in 28 innings. While it seems that the Rangers might have kept him around after striking out 42 in 28 innings, they released him after that summer.”
- Chris Devenski defeated Fred Villarreal in round one, 88.9% to 11.1% (18 votes), and Sean McCracken in the second, 68.4% to 31.6% (19 votes). His writeup: “This doesn’t happen much anymore, but Chris Devenski came to Woodstock the same summer he was drafted out of Cal State Fullerton. Banged by the Chicago White Sox in the 25th round in June 2011, Devenski still made the cross country trek to the ‘Stock. He pitched in eight games, six of them starts, and went 2-2, 2.50 in 39 2/3 innings, with a 1.083 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 12.0 K/9. He didn’t have enough innings to be considered for the top starters list, but he has easily achieved more in his career than any other pitcher who came to the Valley that summer. In five seasons with the Houston Astros (after a 2012 trade with the Sox), Devenski has gone 16-16, 3.28, with a 1.057 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9 in 307 1/3 major league innings. He won a title with the 2017 Astros, and got close in 2019, too. He’s pitched in only two games in 2020, and is currently on the IL with elbow soreness.”
Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL.
And by the way, if you want to read a ton about either the 2015 or 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out this post on the 2019 Valley League Annual.
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