We have now reached the top four team offenses in the Valley League since the 1994 season!
Team 4: 2016 Strasburg Express
The ’16 Express steamrolled the North Division of the Valley League, finishing the regular season at 30-12, a full seven games ahead of second-place Winchester. Waynesboro, in the South, also finished at 30-12. In the playoffs, Strasburg ripped through Purcellville in round one, two games to none, and then defeated Front Royal in the semi-finals, two games to one, although game three was devoid of suspense, since Strasburg ran out to a 8-1 lead after five innings on the way to a 12-4 victory. In the finals, the Express swept Waynesboro two games to none, but both games were decided by one run. In game two, Strasburg scored five runs in the 7th inning to overcome a 4-0 deficit, and hung on to win 5-4. It was the franchise’s second overall and second straight title.
The league put up a .260/.351/.377 slashline in 2016. The Express, however, came in at .292/.382/.438, putting the team at +124, just a teensy bit better than 2018 New Market, and a full nine points behind the third best offense (to be revealed later). Strasburg led the league in all three slashline categories, as well as doubles (107) and hit-by-pitches (56). The Express finished second in the league in runs, home runs, and walks (behind Waynesboro in all three). (By the way, Waynesboro finished at +92 in 2016, just missing the top offenses series by coming in 13th overall.)
- We start this list with Brandon Quaranta, from Philadelphia University. Quaranta came late, but hit .375/.425/.713 in 80 at-bats, with 17 runs scored, seven doubles, a triple, six home runs, and 24 RBIs. He fell short of enough plate appearances to be eligible for postseason accolades, much to the consternation of some Strasburg faithful. He was outstanding, though, and, of course, returned in 2017 to lead the Express back the finals, although the team fell short of another title. And by the way, Quaranta went nuts in the ’16 playoffs, going 13-29, with nine runs scored, two doubles, five home runs, and 12 RBIs.
- Carter Pharis, UAB: Pharis hit .342/.440/.535 in 155 at-bats, with 35 runs scored, 13 doubles, a triple, five home runs, 30 RBIs, six hit-by-pitches, and a 21/19 BB/K ratio. He was ATVL’s 4th best hitter that summer. He also went crazy in the playoffs, going 12-30 with seven runs, three doubles, and six RBIs.
- Tyler Halas, Palm Beach State: Halas hit .319/.426/.389 in 113 at-bats, with 19 runs scored, five doubles, one home run, 21 RBIs, and 21/23 BB/K.
- Dylan Ingram, Auburn : In 141 at-bats, the first baseman hit .319/.426/.532, with 27 runs scored, nine doubles, seven home runs, 30 RBIs, and 21/39 BB/K ratio. He was ATVL’s 6th best hitter.
- Erick Delgado, North Georgia: He hit .308/.401/.392 in 130 at-bats, with six doubles, one triple, one home run, 30 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, and 18 walks against 22 K’s.
- Michael Curry, Georgia: In 116 at-bats, Curry hit .302/.364/.440, with 25 runs scored, ten doubles, two home runs, 12 RBIs, and 10 walks against 27 K’s. He also went 8-25 with eight runs scored and seven RBIs in the playoffs.
Nine total players went on to organized ball after college from this team, but only three of them were hitters! The pitchers were Abraham Almonte, Josh Green, Ben Dum, Keegan James, Peyton Plumlee, and Joseph Fernando. The hitters:
- Curry was picked in the 16th round of the 2018 draft by the San Diego Padres. He’s played in the minors for two seasons so far (he’s still active), and hit quite well: .275/.354/.400 in 495 total at-bats, with 30 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 75 RBIs, and a 56/113 BB/K ratio.
- Drew Avans (SE Louisiana) was dfated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. In his two seasons, he’s hit .281/.360/.454 in 590 at-bats, with 110 runs scored, 22 doubles, 10 triples, 20 home runs, 91 RBIs, and a 70/151 BB/K ratio. He’s also still active. Avans was a two-way player for the Express in 2016; he went 20-83 with eight doubles at the plate, and struck out 25 batters in 19 relief innings on the mound.
- From Chestnut Hill College, Alec Craig was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019 by the Minnesota Twins. He played in just one season in the minors, in 2019, in the Gulf Coast League. He hit .235/.417/.247 in 81 pro at-bats, and was released in September, 2020. Craig only played in two games in the Valley in 2016, but he did go 5-9 with a double.