Yes, yes, I know. Wins, as a stat, is not terribly helpful. In fact, we should ditch the stat altogether. Sure.
But as long as baseball, as an industry, compiles the stat, I’ll continue to list it in the Valley League record book.
So here we go- the top 20 seasons of wins by a VBL pitcher since 1994:
|3||Heath Bost||New Market||1994||8|
|Jonathan Armold||Front Royal||2011||7|
- Staunton has four on the list; Winchester and Waynesboro have three; Luray, Harrisonburg, and Covington have two, and New Market, Haymarket, Front Royal, and Purcellville have one. Charlottesville, Strasburg, and Woodstock are shut out thus far.
- Most of these guys are from eight or more years ago. The list has one player from 2018 (Best) and one from 2017 (Sutera), but all the others are between 1994 and 2012. I believe that this reflects the changes of pitching usage (teams now remove starters from games much, much faster, and pitchers don’t complete as many innings as they used to, either).
- Dan Goebeler went a perfect 9-0 in 1999 with a 2.80 ERA. Staunton went 33-14 that summer. And, of course, Dustin Umberger was also perfect in 2007, going 9-0, 1.29, with an amazing 88 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched. Luray went 31-22 that summer.
- Casey Kennedy (Staunton) is on this list for both 1997 and 1999. Get a load of this: in 1997, Kennedy went 8-3, 2.48, with ten walks and 58 K’s in 69 innings. Two years later, in 1999, he went 7-2, 2.57, with eight walks and 73 K’s in 73 2/3 innings. That’s…. rather impressive.
- Only one pitcher from the list made the major leagues, but it was Jon Rauch, who pitched in 556 games in the bigs from 2002 to 2013. He also had one of the best seasons the Valley League has ever seen, but more on that later.
- Ten of these guys pitched in the minors- Umberger, Bost, Kennedy, Bailey, Gilliam, Altemus, Benedict, Armold, Ortman, and Sutera.
- One pitched in Indy ball- Goebeler.
- Seven did not pitch in pro ball- Cozart (but he was drafted twice), Kees, Nicely, Dages, Sandefur, Welsh, and Best.
- Saves is next!