Happy Monday! Ready for the next matchup in the “Best VBL Reliever in the Last Ten Years” bracket? Here ya go!

  • Mitchell Wade defeated Luray’s Jake Boyd in the first round, 71.4% to 28.6% (7 votes). His writeup: “Mitchell Wade was a sophomore at Mercer when he showed up in Staunton the summer of 2013. He was pretty tough to hit for the Staunton baseball club, going 5-1, 0.41 in 17 games and 21 2/3 innings, along with a 0.829 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, and 7.5 K/9. He was ATVL’s third best reliever. Wade was a reliever for all four years at Mercer- he went a total of 6-1, 4.50, with a 1.40 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, and 7.7 K/9 in 62 innings. He did not go on to play pro ball after his college eligibility.”
  • Anthony Zimmerman blasted Covington’s Nicholas Purpera, 94.7% to 5.3% (38 votes). His writeup: “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.”

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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