Now that we’ve crowned Winchester’s Nate Furman the top hitter in the 2021 VBL season, we will next turn our attention to the top starting pitchers over the same time span.

This list is never very easy, at least recently. Starting pitchers do not throw nearly as many innings as they used to, for one thing, so innings limits are hard to determine. In fact, I find the limit is different every year (it used to be a hard-and-fast one inning pitched per team game- no exceptions!).

I decided a couple seasons ago that the best way to determine if a pitcher should be considered a starter is what the team thinks of that young man. So if his VBL team listed him as a starter, like for consideration for a league award, the I will count him as such.

With that said, ATVL has identified the top 16 starters in the 2021 season, and will begin posting them one by one in the coming days. The most important categories are strikeouts (by extension, K/9), walks (and BB/9), WHIP (walks+hits divided by innings), and batting average against. Innings can be a tie-breaker, but wins are not very important in this exercise- I think we could probably eliminate the individual wins category altogether. (That would help our league scorekeepers make less mistakes, that’s for sure!)

So let’s begin by listing four players who were very good, but fell short of consideration due to my innings limit:

  • Trace Bright, Charlottesville: 0-1, 2.31, .146 BAA, 1.026 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 10.8 K/9 in 11 2/3 innings
  • Victor Loa, Covington: 0-1, 2.11, .193 BAA, 1.000 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 10.1 K/9 in 17 innings
  • Michael Darrell-Hicks, Winchester: 1-2, 1.65, .190 BAA, 1.227 WHIP, 4.4 BB/9, 14.4 K/9 in 16 1/3 innings
  • Hunter Mink, Covington: 0-1, 2.75, .207 BAA, 1.104 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 7.7 K/9 in 16 1/3 innings

We’ll start with #16 very soon- perhaps on Wednesday!

Michael Darrell-Hicks (Photo by Michael Terndrup at