Welcome to our Friday battle between two lefthanders!
- Zach Neff has had an interesting road in baseball thus far. At the time a sophomore at Austin Peay, Neff came to Waynesboro in 2016 and anchored the Generals’ bullpen all the way to ATVL’s top reliever award. In eight games and 16 2/3 innings, Neff went 4-1, 1.08, with a 0.778 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9. He spent 2017 back at Austin Peay in the Ohio Valley Conference, but then moved to Mississippi State as a grad transfer in 2018. He showed he could get SEC hitters out, striking out 41 and only walking nine in 46 innings. The Minnesota Twins picked him in the 31st round of the draft that summer, and assigned him to Elizabethton in the Appalachian League (a league that doesn’t exist in pro ball any longer). In two pro seasons, Neff has gone 10-5, 3.23, with a 1.177 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and 10.6 K/9 in 97 2/3 innings. He showed enough promise that the Twins assigned him to the Arizona Fall League in 2019, where he struck out 12 against only one walk in 13 innings.
- Dalton Oates was lights out for Purcellville in 2018. In 12 games and 29 1/3 innings pitched, Oates went 3-0, 0.61, with a 1.058 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and 12.0 K/9. He was ATVL’s fourth best reliever that year (evidence showing that ’18 was a reliever-heavy year). Oates pitched for Shippensburg, a Division-II school in Pennsylvania, in both 2018 and 2019, but has left the program, and I was unable to locate where he might be at the moment.
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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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