Here’s our next installment on the best lineups in the Valley League since 1994!
Team 7: 2012 Waynesboro Generals
The Generals were quite good in 2012, going 31-13 in the regular season, winning the South Division by 3.5 games over the Harrisonburg Turks. The Generals swept New Market in the first round of the playoffs, two games to zero, but lost in the next round to the Turks, two games to one. Harrisonburg went on to win the title.
2012 is considered one of the most offensive seasons in Valley League history, by which I mean tons of runs, not anything rude. I’ll probably post more on that later. The league did hit like crazy that summer, putting up a .278/.365/.413 line overall, but the Waynesboro Generals hit .310/.400/.462 as a team, putting the team at +116 in my little metric, and in seventh place overall. The team finished in the top three in nine different categories: first in batting average, on-base percentage, triples (19), and hit-by-pitches (69); second in runs (350), stolen bases (71), and slugging; third in doubles (90), home runs (44), and walks (200).
- This list begins with Julian Ridings (Western Carolina), the league MVP: .419/.454/.657 in 172 at-bats, with 45 runs scored, 14 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 39 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases. He was ATVL’s second best hitter that summer. Riding’s name is peppered all over the 1994-2019 Valley League record book. He’s 3rd in batting average, tied for 11th in hits, 14th in total bases (113), tied for 15th in runs, and 17th in slugging percentage. His season is clearly one of the best in recent Valley League history.
- Caleb Palensky (Nebraska-Omaha): .371/.444/.509 in 159 at-bats, with 11 doubles, four triples, a home run, and 23/19 BB/K ratio.
- Jacob Hoyle (Western Carolina): .348/.390/.559 in 161 at-bats, with 11 doubles, a triple, seven home runs, and 38 RBIs.
- Brandon Murray (Charleston): .344/.410/.631 in 160 at-bats, with 32 runs scored, five doubles, a triple, 13 home runs, and 41 RBIs. He was ATVL’s sixth best hitter, and is tied for 10th in the record book in home runs.
- Brad Noland (North Alabama): .341/.429/.451 in 173 at-bats, with 35 runs scored, eight doubles, four triples, a home run, 27/33 BB/K ratio, and 19 stolen bases.
- Ryan Breen (Central Florida): .327/.444/.490 in 104 at-bats, with six doubles and three home runs.
- Devin Smith (Concord): .301/.368/.446 in 83 at-bats, with five doubles, two triples, and one home run.
Four players from this team played organized ball after their college careers. Two of them, Eric Stout and Seth Lucio, were mostly pitchers on the Generals (Stout batted once (he walked), and Lucio went 6-21 in nine games). Stout, of course, has pitched in the major leagues. Several players spent time in Independent Leagues, like Palensky, Hoyle, and Murray. The two minor leaguers:
- Ridings was picked in the 18th round of the 2013 draft by Tampa Bay. He played in the minors for two seasons, hitting a total of .258/.290/.367 in 458 at-bats, with 22 doubles, eight triples, and four home runs
- Michael Katz (William & Mary) was drafted by the Mets in 2014, and spent three years in the minors, hitting a combined .236/.305/.335 in 719 at-bats. He hit 39 doubles and 10 home runs. Katz had a bit of a rough summer in 2012, hitting .200/.275/.400 in 35 at-bats, with four doubles and a home run.
The next team (#6) is no longer in existence… in its original form, anyway.