We’re ready for our Friday matchup!

  • Nicholas Purpera led the Valley League in saves for Covington in 2016, recording nine of them in the summer ATVL named him the fourth best reliever in the league. Overall, he went 1-0, 0.45 for the Lumberjacks, with a 1.050 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.6 K/9 in 20 innings pitched. Originally from LSU-Eunice, Purpera finished his college career at Cumberlands, where he appeared in 15 games as a senior in 2019. He went 2-1, 6.75 in 14 2/3 innings that year, and did not go on to pitch in pro ball after college.
  • Anthony Zimmerman was throwing a bullpen in Harrisonburg at the 2018 All-Star game, popping 95+ mph fastballs, one after the other, in front of a North coach (not his own). A rising senior from Fordham, Zimmerman had appeared in only 11 games in college as a junior. The coach remarked to me later that he didn’t understand why Zimmerman wasn’t pitching more in college with the ability he showed. Well, first of all, Zimmerman went 3-0, 0.55 in 13 games that summer for the Purcellville Cannons, with seven saves, a 0.675 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and 18.2 K/9 in 16 1/3 innings (he struck out 33 batters in those 16 innings). His batting average against was a tiny .121, making him a pretty obvious choice as the best reliever in the league. Returning to Fordham for his senior year in 2019, Zimmerman did, indeed, pitch more, appearing in 27 games. He went 3-2, 0.99, with three saves, a 1.24 WHIP, 5.9 BB/9, and 13.9 K/9 in 36 1/3 innings. He wasn’t drafted, but the Cincinnati Reds signed him as a free agent, and Zimmerman began his pro career at Greeneville in the Appalachian League in 2019, where he went 0-2, 7.94, with 20 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched.

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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.

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