Each Premier League Wiffle® manager submitted their power rankings based on how good they think each team will be on Opening Day. A first place vote is worth eight points, and a last place vote is worth one point. The defending champion Snappers were placed at number eight in last season’s poll, so it’s safe to say this has almost no bearing on how a team may actually perform during the summer season. Here are the results:
#8 Stone Men (12, 6 last place votes):
The Stone Men were on the brink of being relegated at the first ever PLW Challenger’s tournament, and there were rumors circulating about manager and All-Star Levi Lawrence leaving the team in favor of entering the draft. It appears Lawrence is here to stay, at least for now, and if he picks up where he left off last season, all he’ll need is a little extra offense to keep his team out of the eight spot. The Stone Men acquired AAA Taco League standout Tyler Willinsky with the second overall pick in the draft, and they also picked up seasoned Wiffle® veteran Leonard Quenneville with their number nine pick. Lawrence also added undrafted free agents Peter Ponce and Sean Plake to his roster, so they have plenty of new players with potential. With a returning core of Lawrence, Austin “Bird” Bull, Jimmy Talamantez, and Miguel Ruiz, the Stone Men could put it together this season and make a run for the playoffs, but they’ll have to come out hot.
#7 Legends (19):
The first offseason move for the last place Tomahawks was a name change, so they’ll go by the Legends for the summer season. Jason Stephenson also stepped down as manager, and handed the reins over to Brad Ogden. Ogden selected All-Star pitcher Chad “Cheppa” Phillips with the first overall pick in the draft, and Cheppa may be the piece the Legends need to bolster their rotation. They also drafted Bryan Dean in the second round of the draft, and picked up undrafted free agent Alex Garcia. With deeper pitching, a stronger defense, and an already strong lineup gaining more experience, they could be in for a Legendary season.
#6 Warbirds (23):
The Warbirds landed Jim Dodos and Peter Mocabee in a blockbuster trade during the offseason, but they lost Kick-Off Classic tournament MVP Randy Dalbey, and their second best two-way player, fan favorite Brian “Uncle B” Puter. All-Star pitcher Chad “Cheppa” Phillips also chose to enter the draft, but they were able to draft Chris Gschwender and Jay Kohler to shore up their roster. With a returning core of two-way All-Star Matt “Mattlanta” Petrikas, KJ Lacroix, manager Chris “Warchicken” Warfield, and Nate Serisky, the Warbirds will have to spread their wings this season if they want a playoff spot.
#5 The Ones (33):
The Ones seemed to really put it together at the end of the spring season. Manager Ryan Chen appears to have taken the ace role from Cody Schmidt after finding a devastating screwball, and Adam Kouts got in a rhythm on the rubber in the last two weeks of the season as well. The Ones selected former Oklahoma Fast Plastic superstar Andrew Ledet with the fifth pick in the draft, adding a strong lefty bat to an already scary lineup, and giving them another pitching option as well. With the full roster returning, and a full season under their belts, The Ones should be able to put together the wins.
#4 Bombers (39):
The Bombers acquired Uncle B and Randy Dalbey in an offseason trade, leveraging trade value from Jim Dodos and All-Star Peter Mocabee, who were both rumored to be entering the draft for the summer season. The Bombers also selected Ryan Nickell with the third overall pick in the draft, and picked up undrafted free agent Trevor Bauer (not THE Trevor Bauer). With a returning core of manager TJ Brown, ace Brandon Maio, home run leader Hollis “Hollywood” Hale, and CJ Peterson, the Bombers should hit plenty of bombs, but their pitching rotation still remains to be determined.
#3 Sandvipers (49):
The Sandvipers finished the regular season atop the standings with a 31-11 record this spring, only to be swept by Taylor Bryner and the Snappers in the semi-finals. They selected Taco league standout Mitch Burner with the seventh overall pick in the draft, Alonzo Valencia with their second round pick (12th overall), and Anthony Daly with their third round pick (14th overall). The Vipers also have a returning core that includes a pair of two-way All-Stars in Adam Tanic & Tom Gannon, to go along with walk leader Casey Herzog, Trench Picone, and Jason Walker. The Sandvipers should end up with a playoff spot at the end of the season, but they’re already pretty close to their ceiling, so it’ll be difficult to make it out of the first round without at least one of their rookies breaking out.
#2 Snappers (54, 0 first place votes):
The defending champions get ZERO first place votes in the power rankings?! Maybe the other managers are still bitter about last season, or maybe the one team yet to be named just made bigger offseason additions, but the Snappers will be a force to be reckoned with this season. Spring season MVP and Rookie of the Year, Taylor Bryner, shows no signs of slowing down, and is still improving at an alarming rate. Last season’s first overall draft pick Manny Santillanes Jr. also got red hot in the playoffs, and the Snappers selected Manny’s son, Christian Santillanes, with their first round pick (sixth overall). They also picked up Anthony Schlumpf in the second round (11th overall), and have a pair of undrafted free agents as well. If Christian Santillanes can show up regularly, he’s sure to have an impact offensively, and Bryner can take over any game, so the Snappers lineup might shell some pitchers this summer.
#1 Night Owls (59, 5 first place votes):
After losing to the Snappers in the finals this spring, the Calicos have rebranded as the Night Owls. The Owls didn’t pick up any players in the draft, instead choosing to add Alex Carrasco’s brothers, Mateo and Max Fernandez. They also retained AJ Petrovsky, who was unable to play enough games to be eligible for playoffs in the spring, but he should be available for the summer season. These additions, along with a returning core of Carrasco, manager Nick DiVella, James “FJ” Stein, Barry Hutter, Matty Levine, and Joe Kuther, earned the top spot in the preseason managers poll. Will the Night Owls prove to be the best team in the league, or will another team take the top spot in the mid-season poll?
Here are the results of the Premier League Wiffle® summer season draft:
The PLW summer season kicks off on Monday, May 17th with a three game set between the #8 ranked Stone Men and the #1 ranked Night Owls at 5:20pm PDT, followed by a three game series between the Bombers and Legends at 7:30pm. Tune in LIVE on Twitch!