Before we start on young Rhett, here is the list of top starters from 2007 to 2019:

2019- Tristen Bayless, Woodstock
2018- Jared Wetherbee, Charlottesville
2017- Zach Peek, Strasburg
2016- Erne Valdes, Front Royal
2015- Hayden McCutcheon, Charlottesville
2014- Keegan Long, Front Royal
2013- Ricky Winters, Woodstock
2012- Jansen Carr, Winchester
2011- Aaron Luchterhand, Harrisonburg
2010- Greg Nappo, Haymarket
2009- Grant Sasser, Haymarket
2008- Drew Rucinski, Luray
2007- Dustin Umberger, Luray

So the latest to add his name to this list is Strasburg’s Rhett Lowder, the 6-foot-2 righthander from Wake Forest.

Lowder went 2-0, 2.36 in 19 total innings in 2021, with a .134 BAA, 0.579 WHIP, 0.9 BB/9, and 12.8 K/9. He allowed only nine hits and two walks in those 19 innings- just a little over a half baserunner per inning. Among pitchers considered for this list, he finished seventh in ERA, first in BAA, first in WHIP, tied for second in BB/9, and tied for first in K/9. He was chosen as first team All-Valley League at the end of the season.

The young man from Albemarle, North Carolina, combined with two relievers to throw a no-hitter on July 15 against Purcellville; Lowder started the game and finished six innings, walking none and striking out 10. He also blasted through three innings against Covington on June 13, striking out six and allowing one hit. On July 8 at Front Royal, he threw five innings, allowing three hits, one run, no walks, and struck out five.

In his freshman year at Wake, Lowder went 4-2, 6.12 in 67 2/3 innings, with 22 walks and 78 K’s. He was listed as the #12 prospect in North Carolina by Perfect Game in 2020. His coaching staff is quite pleased with his development from the summer; his fastball is 93-94 with sink, and his slider has improved. The ACC had better watch out!

(Photos by Michael Terndrup-