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Trent Thornton heads excellent Tri-City ValleyCats rotation in 2015

This choice was probably the most difficult one to make yet.

Ryan Dunsmore

What do you value? Dominance, or is it the workhorse? Where does the line lie between performance and reliability?

Ultimately, I feel drawn to the workhorse. Give me a guy that gives you the innings. That's not to say that a guy who posts more dominant numbers in fewer innings is a lot worse, but games are self-contained events, and there's a certain number of them. Maybe you have a full run better ERA than another guy, but if he pitched almost twice as much as you did, he probably had a positive effect on more actual wins than you did.

It's with no small amount of hesitation, then, to be sure, that I'll go with Trent Thornton here. The name jumps off the page, as he led the team in games started and innings pitched. His ERA of 3.27 was good, and 2.84 FIP and .351 BAbip might indicate that he was even better. His robust 4.80 K/BB ratio was the third-best mark of any pitcher who logged at least 30 innings for the club. Given his flashy mechanics, his 1.64 BB/9 was especially encouraging.

As for honorable mentions, there were several of note; Scott Weathersby, our 10th-round pick in 2015 out of Ole Miss, made a nice statement with Tri-City, posting a 2.48 ERA and a sparkling 6.50 K/BB in 32.2 innings of work. Elieser Hernandez pitched incredibly well, with a stunning 1.31 ERA and 15.00 K/BB ratio (no, that's not a typo), earning himself a call up to full-season ball, which limited his innings with Tri-City enough to knock him out of the running. Chris Murphy, an unheralded 24th-round pick, posted a 2.25 ERA and a 4.60 K/BB to put himself in the running.