Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally reached the pinnacle! The absolute best offense the league has seen since 1994:
Team 1: 1995 Staunton
In 1995, Staunton crushed the six-team league, finishing 29-11 in the regular season, a full eight games ahead of second-place Waynesboro. The team went on to defeat New Market in the first round of the playoffs, three games to one, and then swept Waynesboro in three games in the finals. This completed a run in which Staunton won the Valley League pennant seven of the previous 13 years. Staunton went on the win the 1996 and 1999 titles, as well.
The league hit .271/.362/.377 in 1995. Staunton? The team hit an almost-incredible .307/.410/.482, putting it at +189 and an overwhelming choice for the best offense in the past 26 years. Let’s look at some of the ways the team dominated- Staunton led the league in every single offensive category except stolen bases:
- Batting average- Harrisonburg came in second at .275 (Staunton was at .307)
- On-base percentage- Harrisonburg was second at .361 (Staunton at .410)
- Slugging percentage- Winchester finished second at .371 (Staunton at .482- more than .100 higher!)
- Runs scored- Staunton crossed the plate 417 times and 8.87 times per game. Waynesboro scored the second-most runs, with 252, and Harrisonburg came in second in runs per game at 5.45.
- Doubles- Staunton led the league with 85; Waynesboro had 74.
- Triples- Staunton led with 20; Waynesboro had 12.
- Home runs- Staunton crushed the league, hitting 56. The rest of the league combined hit 100. Winchester came in second with 26.
- Total bases Staunton 805, Waynesboro 597.
- Walks- Staunton 261, New Market 208.
- Stolen bases- Waynesboro led the league with 66, and Staunton had… 65.
A quick note about historical placings: 1995 Staunton’s 8.87 runs per game is far and away the best the league has seen. No other team has even averaged 8.00- the next best number is the 2019 Waynesboro Generals, who scored 7.70 runs per game. 1995 Staunton was a whole run better!
The team’s .307 batting average is the second highest over our span; 2012 Waynesboro hit .310. The squad’s .410 on-base percentage is the best ever; 2012 Waynesboro finished at .400. Last but not least, 1995 Staunton’s .482 slugging percentage is second all-time; 2012 Winchester ended at .508.
- Jason Michaels, Okaloosa-Walton: .361/459/.649 in 191 at-bats, scored 50 runs, drove in 42, and hit 14 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, was hit by a pitch 11 times, and had a 27/29 BB/K ratio. He finished second in the league in batting average, first in home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage. He was rightfully named the league’s MVP.
- TR Marcinczyk, Miami: .345/.496/.701 in 87 at-bats, with 29 runs, four doubles, nine home runs, 26 RBIs, 25/22 BB/K.
- Alex Fernandez, St.Thomas: .331/.438/.446 in 148 at-bats, with 39 runs, nine doubles, four triples, 23/28 BB/K, and 11 stolen bases. He finished third in the league in batting average and seventh in slugging.
- Allen Thomas, Wingate: .330/.440/.475 in 179 at-bats, with 42 runs, 10 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 34 RBIs, 32/20 BB/K. He finished fourth in the league in average, sixth in RBIs, and fifth in slugging.
- Lamond Edwards, East Carolina: .319/.410/.425 in 160 at-bats, with 40 runs, four doubles, two triples, three home runs, 34 RBIs, 24/24 BB/K, 12 stolen bases. He finished sixth in the league in average and fifth in RBIs.
- Michael Stoner, North Carolina: .314/.398/.581 in 86 at-bats, six doubles, a triple, five home runs, 11/16 BB/K. He finished tied for sixth in home runs in the league.
- Matt Duncan, Florida: .303/.387/.482 in 195 at-bats, 47 runs, 10 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 39 RBIs, 25/28 BB/K. He finished third in RBIs, and fourth in slugging.
- Chris Bisson, Connecticut: .396/.463/.604 in 48 at-bats, three home runs.
In all, eight players were drafted off this team, with six of them as hitters.
- Michaels was actually drafted four times, but finally signed with the Philadelphia Phillies after they picked him in the 4th round in 1998. He made it to the majors in 2001, and spent 11 years at the game’s highest level. In 1,031 games and 2,332 at-bats, he hit .263/.335/.407 with 140 doubles and 59 home runs.
- Marcinczyk was drafted by Oakland in 1996. He played in the minors for six seasons, topping out in Triple-A in 2000. He hit a total of .262/.352/.472 in 1,959 at-bats, with 133 doubles and 88 home runs. He also spent one season in the Northern League in 2001.
- Jeff Terrell (Missouri) was picked by Philadelphia in the 20th round in 1997. He played four seasons in the minors, hitting a combined .273/.355/.353 in 1,253 at-bats. He topped out at High-A Clearwater. He hit .284/.423/.510 for Staunton in 1995, with four doubles, two triples, and five home runs.
- Jim Gargiulo (Miami) was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th round in 1996. He played just two seasons in the minors, hitting .246/.309/.329 in 480 at-bats, topping out in the Midwest League. In 93 at-bats for 1995 Staunton, Gargiulo hit .237/.387/.333 with six doubles.
- Brad King (Central Florida) was drafted by the Cubs in 1996. He played in the minor leagues for eight seasons, topping out in Triple-A. In 1,547 at-bats, he hit .257/.364/.360, with 77 doubles and 26 home runs. He also spent two years in Indy ball at the end of his career. King hit .234/.366/.403 in 77 at-bats for Staunton in 1995.
- Nick Thompson (Elon) was a Philadelphia draft pick in the 29th round in 1996. He played in the minors for four years, hitting .250/.311/336 in 577 at-bats. He hit .243/.369/.286 in 70 at-bats for Staunton in 1995.
Annnnd, that does it for the top offenses since 1994 series! I’ll do the pitching staffs….. someday.