We’ve reached Championship Week- both for NCAA basketball and to name a top reliever in the Valley League over the past ten years. Today we have our first semi-final matchup between the best relievers from the most recent VBL seasons… and this will be a battle, as both of these young men have drummed up quite a bit of support!
- Anthony Zimmerman blasted Nicholas Purpera and Mitchell Wade in the first two rounds, and then slipped past Thomas Sutera in the Elite Eight, 55.1% to 44.9% (138 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.”
- Conor Miller walloped Mark Lamm and Randy Dobnak in the first two rounds, and then sneaked past Trevin Eubanks i nthe Elite Eight, 55.9% to 44.1% (111 votes). His writeup: “Conor Miller is the most recent top reliever, as he was named ATVL’s #1 in 2019 for Woodstock. From Division-III York, Miller went 1-1, 0.47 for the Bandits, with two saves, a 0.737 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 8.5 K/9 in 19 innings pitched. He gave up only two runs, one earned, all regular season. Miller returned to York for the 2020 college season and started three games before Covid-19 did its thing. Miller is planning to return to Woodstock in 2021- maybe we’ll have the first repeat top reliever in the history of the award?”
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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