Let’s take a look at the necessary “rules and parameters” as we start the top hitters list.
First of all, each of these batters must be eligible for the batting title, which, by NCAA rule, is 2.7 plate appearances per game. Many good hitters did not quite reach the threshold, so they will not be included on the list.
Another thing to keep in mind: I am not making predictions about the future with any of these players. This is a list that is based on statistics ONLY. It is not who will be the best pro baseball player; this is based only on performance. Particularly on the pitcher’s side, this can cause some confusion, because pro scouts are looking for something other than a simple, “Can he get hitters out?” They are looking for the guys who throw hard, show the ability to spin the ball, and potential (the future, in other words). I will be looking only at performance (the past).
With that said, I have had to parse some differences between players, as you might imagine. If I decided on just OPS (on-base plus slugging), then my list would be no different than what you could sort on the Valley League stat page. I try to use the whole package to rank the players, so I use batting average (the horror!), on-base percentage, slugging percentage, plate discipline, and even counting numbers to determine where a player has landed. (So if a player didn’t play as much as someone else, that would matter to a certain extent, as well as where a player called home (VBL park, not hometown).)
Also keep in mind that I do this to celebrate players, not to denigrate anyone else. These players are amateurs, and I have no interest in putting any of them down for whatever reason. This space is to celebrate the accomplishments of these young men.
This list is only one person’s opinion- this is not an official Valley League list. You may rank your favorite player much higher than I have, and that’s fine. You may comment about your displeasure, of course (free country), but again, I will not denigrate a player in this space. If you would like to have a private discussion in my email or inbox about my reasons for picking one player over another, that’s cool. Do remember, though, that I have spent quite a bit of time ordering these lists. I’m satisfied with how they look. And if you twitter tattle to an entire college fanbase instead of reaching out to me and asking questions to educate yourself before attacking the process… well, shame on you.
Is all that clear?
So. I have listed who I believe are the top 15 hitters in the 2021 season. I will count them down from #15 all the way to #1, one at a time, over the next few weeks (to give each of them a moment in the sun). After that, I will turn my attention to starting pitchers, and then to relievers.
But first, let’s take a quick look at the hitters who just missed the list:
- Ian Diaz, Staunton: .310/.419/.469 in 113 at-bats, with 27 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, three home runs, 15 RBIs, 17/24 BB/K, eight stolen bases
- Samuel Tackett, Front Royal: .295/.448/.366 in 112 at-bats, with 22 runs, five doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 28/33 BB/K, nine stolen bases
- Alejandro Figueredo, Waynesboro: .303/.382/.420 in 119 at-bats, 22 runs, four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 26 RBIs, 17/25 BB/K
- Ramses Cordova, Winchester: .304/.363/.357 in 112 at-bats, 22 runs, two doubles, two triples, 15 RBIs, 10/27 BB/K, 16 stolen bases
- Jack Krause, Front Royal: .291/.416/.373 in 110 at-bats, 27 runs, four doubles, one triple, one home run, 18 RBIs, 21/32 BB/K, 13 stolen bases
- Joseph Holiga, Staunton: .322/.363/.417 in 115 at-bats, with 17 runs, six doubles, one triple, one home run, 14 RBIs, 6/22 BB/K, eight stolen bases