Let’s drop back in to the ongoing series looking at the top professional players who have Valley League ties.
Today, the best hitter at the Double-A level, which was actually a rather difficult decision… but it’s Romy Gonzalez, who began 2021 at Birmingham, at Double-A South (seriously, can we come up with better names?), and played in 78 games there before moving up to Triple-A Charlotte, and eventually to the major league Chicago White Sox. At Double-A, Gonzalez hit .267/.355/.502 in 303 at-bats, with 11 doubles, 20 home runs, 47 RBIs, a 38/97 BB/K ratio, and 21 stolen bases. Careful readers will notice that he put up a 20/20 season in only 78 games, which is mighty impressive.
Gonzalez hit even better at Triple-A, slashing .370/.417/.704 in 60 plate appearances, with six doubles, four more home runs, and three more stolen bases. He appeared in 10 games in the majors after that, and went 8-32 overall.
Gonzalez was in the Valley in 2016, playing for Staunton, when he hit .234/.253/.442 in 77 at-bats, with four doubles and four home runs. He also went 3-7 in the playoffs, with one home run.
Others to Consider
- Vinnie Pasquantino (Charlottesville 2017): Northwest Arkansas: .310/.405/.560 in 200 at-bats, with 17 doubles, 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, and a ridiculous 31/26 BB/K. He, obviously, is a very close second to Gonzalez for this award. He was also fantastic at High-A, and did win the award for that level.
- Brendan Donovan (New Market 2016): Springfield: .319/.411/.449 in 185 at-bats, with 10 doubles, four home runs, 25/39 BB/K, and eight stolen bases.
- Dominic Canzone (Front Royal 2017): Amarillo: .354/.425/.592 in 130 at-bats, with eight doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBIs, and 15/28 BB/K.