The new year signifies the midpoint of the offseason, and unlike off-seasons past, this one is a bit more unsettled. With teams being able to form themselves instead of being formed by the draft, players are taking their time in declaring their teams. So far, only two teams with confirmed rosters exist, but five more are expected before the deadline. Here we will go through the confirmed teams, and who we expect to form the other ones.
1.) Freaky Franchise- Ryan Bush and Justin Tomkins
The Franchise returns in half of its’ previous form, but it is a strong half. As soon as the new rules were revealed to the public, this team formed. Obviously any team with Ryan Bush is going to be good. How good depends on the play of Justin Tomkins, who has to pitch the other half of the innings. Is he shows consistency, they will succeed.
2.) Strong Tough Dudes (possibly)- Chris Roeder, Tim Coykendall, and BJ Turner
Chris Roeder basically just put together the two best teams he’s ever been on. Roeder and Coyk were together for last year’s 19-1 run, and Roeder and BJ played in 2010 as the Southern Nevada 96er’s. This team is probably the best team to ever hit the field at Bush Grapes Park, and could go 20-0.
Confirmed Teams, with Unconfirmed Rosters
3.) Mitch and Tommy-Mitch Rupp, Tommy Wagner, potential third player
These two guys are young players with experience that took the league by storm last year as they were the only team to beat STD in the regular season. They are two all-around guys that can adapt their game to beat any team. Some people say this roster is confirmed at two guys, but I have a sneaky suspicion that they will add a third. Regardless, they will compete.
4.) Pavlov’s Dawgs (possibly)- Dylan Frankel, Jordan Benzing, Ari Knill (possibly), and if not Knill, then David Diloreto
This team is another team hampered by the three-man roster limit. Ideally, they’d like all of these players, but the Frankel-Benzing-Knill core is the first option for this team. Questions exist about Knill’s availability for the summer, so Dave the Wave waits in the wings. Regardless, this team will likely be much like their 2013 iteration.
5.) The other half of the Franchise- Jon Suhre, Brett Bigler, and a third player
The other half of the Franchise is comprised of Suhre and Bigler. This team will hit big, but pitching is a huge question. Sources suggest that they may be looking at veteran arm Doug Bush for the third slot, but I don’t see it yet. Regardless, the team will not consist of just these two guys, expect them to add an arm and compete.
I’m breaking this into two segments, each one highlighting a huge questions whose answers will results in a lot of confirmed teams.
Segment One: The Doug Bush question.
I see it going this way: we know that Papa Bush has interest through a few different teams. His primary option is to stay with the neighboring Carpin (Puig) family and return as the Lil Pens. However, if the Carpins say no, then what’s the next move? Does he just sign with Suhre and provide that arm, or does he bring back the old Lil Pens with Nate St. Ours? I don’t think it will matter, as he’ll end up playing with the Carpins again, with similar results to last year. And thus:
6.) The Lil Pens- Doug Bush, Mike Carpin, and Zack Carpin
Segment Two: The Water’s Warm?
Two more spots exist for teams, and one big question looms: what happens with the Ben Brown-Chris Sacheli-Josh Maves-Dave Erb-Adam Kloos’ of the world? Does Alex Barber come back this year? Well hey, there’s six guys, let’s make two teams. But what’s the probable scenario? I think Bacon comes back, but where do Sach’s allegiances lie? I think it shakes out like this:
7.) Yes, the Water is Warm- Ben Brown, Alex Barber, and Chris Sacheli
The Water’s Warm/Big Bob’s Beepers are back! After last season I don’t see any way that Sacheli doesn’t reunite with these guys. If he does decide to keep his team from last year, then Kloos will take his spot, but I don’t see it. They’ll have fun, but will also compete.
8.) The Leftovers- Adam Kloos, Josh Maves, and Dave Erb
Some people would say that it just seems like I’m throwing Kloos on this team for no reason and that he’ll hate it. Odds are he won’t. This team crushes the ball, Maves is due for a star season, and Kloos would love every minute of the power hitting. And, they wouldn’t lose much pitching-wise, as Kloos and Sacheli are similar pitchers. Watch out for this team.
So with those potential rosters, we are left with some interesting free agents. I’ll try to name them all, along with potentially interested teams.
Nate St. Ours-Lil Pens
David Diloreto-Pavlov’s Dawgs, maybe other half of the Franchise
Joe Simmons-Mitch and Tommy, maybe other half of the Franchise
Phil Limbeck-The Water’s Warm, The Leftovers
Colby Delaney-The Leftovers
Richie Chute-other half of the Franchise, Leftovers
Josh Ludwig-Leftovers, maybe other half of the Franchise
Don Sutton-if he’s back, any team without a third guy
Chris Butusov-if he’s back, other half of the Franchise, Leftovers