Moving up the chain, today we’ll take a look at the ninth best offense in the Valley League since 1994.
Team 9: 2013 Harrisonburg Turks
The Turks in 2013 sort of ran away with the South Divison, finishing the regular season at 32-12, 3.5 games ahead of second-place New Market (excellent in its own right). However, the Turks were bounced two games to none in the first round of the playoffs by the Waynesboro Generals (coming into the playoffs after a 22-22 regular season). The Generals went on to win the title, defeating Strasburg in the finals, two games to one.
The team hit a total of .279/.369/.378, while the league hit .250/.336/.327… putting the Turks at +113. (Imagine the entire league with a slugging percentage lower than on-base percentage!) Harrisonburg led the league in all three slash categories, triples, and had the fewest strikeouts (with 267- the next closest was Winchester with 294). The Turks scored 5.17 runs per game, finishing just a smidge below Staunton’s leading 5.19.
- Eric Kalbfleisch, UNC Greensboro: Kalbfleisch hit .354/.393/.449 in 158 at-bats, with 23 runs scored, eight doubles, two triples, a home run, and 18 RBIs. He was ATVL’s #6 hitter that summer.
- Thomas Smith, Georgia Tech: .341/.428/.492 in 132 at-bats, with 23 runs scored, ten doubles, two triples, two home runs, 23 RBIs, and an excellent 22 walks against only 15 strikeouts. He was ATVL’s #2 hitter from the summer.
- Andy Perez, Duke: .294/.422/.380 in 163 at-bats, with 32 runs scored, eight doubles, three triples, and a 29/21 BB/K ratio. He also stole 30 bases. He was ATVL’s #10 hitter.
- Mike Warren, Texas San Antonio: .293/.367/.398 in 133 at-bats, with 24 runs scored, eight doubles, two home runs, and 24 RBIs.
(These are regular season numbers only.)
(By which I mean organized ball- playing in the minors for a major league team.) Nine players went on to play in the minors from this team, with five of them being exclusively pitchers for their summer in the Valley. The four hitters:
- Perez was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Boston Red Sox after his senior season at Duke. He played for two seasons (2015 and 2016) in the minors, hitting .318/.391/.393 in 201 pro at-bats.
- Joe Napolitano (St. John’s and Wake Forest) was exclusively a hitter for the Turks (hitting .289/.377/.398 in 128 at-bats), but was signed as a pitcher by the New York Mets after college. He pitched in the minors for two seasons.
- Thomas Spitz (Wingate) was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2015 June draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Spitz hit .279/.331/.364 in 154 summer at-bats for the Turks, and then carved out a four-season career in the minors, hitting .249/.334/.337 in 1,114 pro at-bats.
- Joey Roach (Georgia State) was only with the Turks for eight games in 2013 (getting seven hits in 20 at-bats), and was picked in the 31st round of the 2016 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He was still active at the end of 2019, having hit .253/.323/.329 in 371 at-bats in the minors. As far as I know, he’s still with the Rays.
- Covington and Front Royal hit only four home runs each all summer in 2013, and three teams- Covington, Front Royal, and Winchester- fell short of a .300 team slugging percentage.
- It was interesting how the league slugged “only” .327 in 2013, just one season after 2012’s .413 slugging, in what is widely regarded as the best offensive season in the last 26 years (but which probably wasn’t the best offensive season, actually).
- Spoiler alert- the Turks have two teams listed already- one tied for 10th and one at 9th. However, the Turks are done. The next Harrisonburg team on the top hitting teams list is the 2011 team, which comes in at 28th.