So let’s begin! Our first “best relievers from 2010-2019” matchup is between Strasburg’s Matt Solter (2012) and Waynesboro’s McLain Harris (Waynesboro 2019). Who ya got?
- Matt Solter came to Strasburg after his freshman year at Furman in 2012, in which he appeared in 32 games- all in relief. He reprised the role for the Express, mostly, appearing in 12 games, nine of them in relief. Overall, he went 2-1, 1.48, with five saves, a 0.891WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, and 8.9 K/9 in 30 1/3 innings pitched. ATVL named him the 3rd best reliever in the league. After four solid seasons in college, Solter signed with the independent Gary Southshore RailCats, and spent the rest of 2015 there. He was signed by the San Francisco Giants at that point, and spent 2016 and 2017 in the Giants’ minor league system. After his release, he spent another year in Indy ball, this time with the St. Paul Saints. The Cleveland Indians signed him for another shot, and he played for Lynchburg (High-A) and Akron (Double-A) in 2019. He was cut loose in November, 2019. In pro ball, Solter went a total of 16-10, 4.68, with a 1.48 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, and 8.2 K/9 in 223 2/3 innings.
- According to ATVL, McLain Harris was the 4th best reliever in the 2019 Valley League season. In 14 games and 21 innings for the Generals, Harris went 1-1, 0.85, with three saves, a 1.190 WHIP, 1.3 BB/9, and 13.3 K/9. Among all relievers that season, he finished fourth in ERA, tenth in WHIP, first in BB/9, and third in K/9. His three walks against 31 strikeouts was particularly impressive. As a junior at Young Harris in 2020, Harris went 1-1, 2.93, with 22 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings while pitching in eight games.
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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 this post on the 2019 Valley League Annual. (Whatever, man, I’m still glad I wrote them.)
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