I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had a list of the top offenses since 1994- the last 26 Valley League seasons. While the top team seemed to be pretty obvious, the rest was a jumble.
So I did what I usually do in that situation- I set up a spreadsheet and tried to find a way to separate all these teams. It was quick and dirty, but I found a way to see which squads performed best against the rest of the league.
The method is pretty simple- I compared the batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage of the individual team against the league’s averages for that season. (I admit that this is slightly problematic in that some of the stats are counted twice in those percentages, but I’m not Bill James, Joe Sheehan, or Keith Law, so I just went with what I could figure out.) The larger differences means the higher on the list the team will appear.
So today begins a new series- the top 10 plus one offenses in the Valley League since 1996. (I have 11 because two teams are tied for the 10th position.) For each team, I’ll give a quick overview of how that season went, who the top hitters were, who went pro from the lineup, and any other interesting factoids I can dig up.
Team 10A: 2004 Harrisonburg Turks
The ’04 Turks went 30-14 in the regular season, winning the Southern Division by five games over Staunton. The team stumbled in the playoffs, however, losing to Covington in the first round, two games to one.
As a team, the Turks hit .292/.371/.377, while the league hit .247/.335/.349 (putting the Turks at +109). The team finished second in the league in total runs scored, with 290, but first in runs per game, at 6.3. Interestingly, the Turks tied for with Loudoun for last with 16 home runs, but led the league pretty substantially in batting average and on-base percentage. They also finished in the bottom half in walks (167), but struck out only 309 times, the fewest in the league by far (the next closest team had 393).
- Joe Kemp, Indiana- .396/.449/.570 in 149 at-bats, eight doubles, three triples, four home runs, 38 RBIs. He led the league in batting average, and finished fourth in RBIs
- Gered Mochizuki, Yavapai- .343/.416/.441 in 143 at-bats, six doubles, two home runs, finished fourth in the league in batting average
- Kevin Koski, Southern Illinois- .331/.429/.366 in 145 at-bats, with five doubles and nine stolen bases, finished eighth in the league in batting average, and tied for third in runs scored
- Reggie Watson, Indiana- .323/.426/.355 in 155 at-bats, with five doubles and 26 stolen bases, finished second in the league in stolen bases, tied for third in runs scored, tenth in batting average
- Matt Weglarz, Southwest Missouri State- .313/.329/.393 in 150 at-bats, with nine doubles and a home run
- Corby Heckman, Indiana- .305/.407/.419 in 105 at-bats, with six doubles and two home runs
Ten players went on to organized ball, but “only” four of them were hitters:
- Kemp played two years in the minors for the Texas Rangers, in 2005 and 2006. He hit .253/.329/.392 in 411 total at-bats.
- Mochizuki played for six years in Independent ball, and a short stint for the New York Mets as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He was last seen in pro ball in 2015 playing for Sonoma in the Pacific Association, where he hit .303/.414/.421 in 254 at-bats, with 50 walks and 55 strikeouts. It appears he is now a baseball instructor in he San Diego area.
- Watson played for two seasons in the Indy Frontier League, and had a short stint with the San Diego Padres in 2007 (he went 9-32 in 10 games played). He was really good in Indy ball, slashing .309/.387/.414 in 498 at-bats, along with 47 stolen bases.
- Heckman was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2005, and played just one season in the minors. He hit .255/.339/.275 in 51 at-bats spread over three different levels.