“Most Successful” Valley League Franchises

For the past few years, I’ve been ranking the Valley League franchises with an entirely-made-up rubric. It’s just one way to rank teams, and should not be considered any kind of definitive statement… but it’s fun.

First, some background:

Seven Valley League teams have been in the league since 2001: Covington, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, New Market, Staunton, Winchester, and Waynesboro. Woodstock joined in 2004, Strasburg in 2011, Charles Town/Purcellville in 2013, and Charlottesville in 2015. Several other teams were active in this time span: Luray, Haymarket/Aldie, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Rockbridge.

My ridiculous idea was this: I decided to assign points (called “Franchise Points”) for various achievements. The rubric looks like this:

  • 1 point for a season finished at .500 or better
  • 1 point for 30+ regular season wins (a bonus for a truly outstanding year)
  • 1 point for winning the regular season division title (or in the case of 2014, 2010, 2007, and 2006, winning the regular season pennant, since there were no divisions those years)
  • 1 point for losing in the first round of the playoffs (or you could call this a point for qualifying for the playoffs)
  • 2 points for losing in the semifinals
  • 3 points for losing in the finals
  • 5 points for winning the title (what the teams play for, obviously)

Does that sound ridiculous? Yeah, for sure. But, again, it’s fun!

Let’s begin with some winning percentages. I have separated the charts between the original seven and the others.

Original SevenWLPct
Harrisonburg4963530.584
Winchester4623880.544
Waynesboro4513990.531
Staunton4334140.511
New Market4264250.501
Covington3954440.471
Front Royal3934590.461

If you’re curious, this ranking has not changed in quite some time. Amazing, though- Harrisonburg is 34.5 games in first place in the regular season over the past 20 years.

The PartialsWLPct
Charlottesville1441060.576(2015-2021)
Strasburg2172060.513(2011-2021)
Luray2612510.510(2001-2012)
Pur/Charles T1581770.472(2013-2021)
Fauquier62700.470(2007-2009)
Aldie/Hay2222560.464(2005-2015)
Woodstock3064210.421(2004-2021)
Rockbridge841340.385(2009-2013)
Loudoun15280.349(2004)

This one has changed; with a couple good seasons, Strasburg has slipped past Luray.

Now, by assigning the rubric, the best franchises from the original seven:

Original SevenPtsAvg
Winchester592.95
Waynesboro572.85
Covington492.45
Harrisonburg472.35
New Market422.10
Staunton381.90
Front Royal271.35
  • Winchester: 6 division titles, won 3 championships (2001, 2003, 2004)
  • Waynesboro: 6 division titles, also 3 championships (2007, 2013, 2014)
  • Covington: 4 division titles, won two championships (2005, 2011)
  • Harrisonburg: 4 division titles, 1 championship (2012)
  • New Market: 1 division title (2006), and two championships (2002, 2018)
  • Staunton: 3 division titles, 0 championships; the Braves made the finals in 2004, 2006, and 2015, but have not won a championship since 1999
  • Front Royal: 2 division titles (2009, 2015), 0 championships, one finals (2010); Cardinals won their only championship in 1986

Now the partials:

PartialsPtsAvg
Strasburg373.70
Charlottesville223.67
Luray352.92
Aldie/Haymarket211.91
Purcellville/Charles Town131.63
Rockbridge51.00
Woodstock160.94
Fauquier20.67
Loudoun00
  • Strasburg: 3 division titles, 3 championships (2015, 2016, 2021).
  • Charlottesville: 2 division titles, 2 championships (2017, 2019)
  • Purcellville/Charles Town: 2 division titles, 0 championships
  • Luray: 3 division titles, 3 championships (2006, 2008, 2010)
  • Aldie/Haymarket: 1 division title, 1 championship (2009)
  • Rockbridge: 0 division titles, 0 championships- Rapids made the finals in 2011
  • Woodstock: 1 division title (2013); the River Bandits have not advanced to the finals yet as a franchise
  • Fauquier: in their 3 years of existence, the Gators did not win a division title or championship. They lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2008
  • Loudoun: the Rangers finished last in their only season

Putting it all together:

TeamPtsAvg
Strasburg373.70
Charlottesville223.67
Winchester592.95
Luray352.92
Waynesboro572.85
Covington492.45
Harrisonburg472.35
New Market422.10
Aldie/Haymarket211.91
Staunton381.90
Purcellville/Charles Town131.63
Front Royal271.35
Rockbridge51.00
Woodstock160.94
Fauquier20.67
Loudoun00

So there you have it- the most successful franchise in the last twenty years is the Strasburg Express, with Charlottesville very, very close behind.

It’s altogether silly, but a fun little snapshot regarding which teams have had the most success in the last two decades.

We’ll update in another year!

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