We are now ⅓ of the way through the PLW season, and some teams are off to a hot start, but others have had a tough draw to start the year. These rankings take the cumulative record of each opponent a team has faced to determine how difficult their schedule has been thus far.
#10 Cajuns (14-4):
Opponents: Bombers, Legends, Sandvipers, Warbirds, The Ones, Night Owls (43-65)
The Cajuns have the best record in PLW, and they swept the Bombers, Sandvipers, and The Ones, so they’ve been hogging a lot of the wins. The Bombers are the only team the Cajuns have faced that has a winning record, so perhaps their schedule has been a factor in their early season dominance, but the main factor has been pitching. The Cajuns lead the league in virtually every pitching category with the lefty duo of Andrew Ledet & Ryan Ruesch shouldering the majority of their team’s innings. Ledet & Ruesch are both top three in the league in ERA (2.17 & 2.29), Strikeouts (77 & 87), WHIP (1.14 & 1.04), and K/6 (12.83 & 13.27). If these two spicy lefties stay hot, then the Cajuns will be tough for any team to handle.
#9 Lightning (13-5):
Opponents: Legends, Night Owls, Snappers, The Ones, Vaderz, Sandvipers (47-61)
The Lightning are just one game behind the Cajuns in the standings, and they went on a league-record ten game winning streak, sweeping the Night Owls, Snappers, and The Ones consecutively. The Vaderz are the only team with a winning record that the Lightning have played against, but they’ve been one of the most impressive teams on both sides of the ball. Jayk Purdy has led the rotation, throwing nearly half the team’s innings, and he’s near the top of the league in almost every pitching category. Bruce Huson leads the league in batting average (.471), and on-base percentage (.534) with rookie sensation Tyler Hallead following close behind (.458 / .530). The addition of Randy Dalbey in the offseason could be what puts this team over the top, and if they finish at the top of the standings it won’t shock anyone anymore.
#8 Snappers (9-9):
Opponents: Sandvipers, The Ones, Lightning, Vaderz, Legends, Warbirds (48-60)
The Snappers probably aren’t content with a .500 record, and they’ve only played against two teams with a winning record, the Lightning & Vaderz. The dynamic duo of Taylor Bryner & Shane Weber has become a trio with the emergence of Ryan Murphy, but the bottom half of the lineup will have to step up for the Snappers to have the same bite that fans are used to seeing. Jonathan Wilson & Bryner have pitched well to this point, but either Brandon Gregg or Weber need to take control of that third spot in the rotation to get the Snappers back on track.
#7 Bombers (11-7):
Opponents: Cajuns, Vaderz, Legends, Sandvipers, Warbirds, The Ones (49-59)
The Bombers have only faced two teams with winning records, and they’ve played each of the bottom three teams in the standings. Hollis Hale is back. He & Mateo Fernandez are at the top of the leaderboard in home runs with 16 & 17 respectively, and Trevor Bauer has led the team in batting average and on-base percentage (.426 / .530). Bauer and Max Fernandez have thrown most of the innings for the Bombers, and rookie Zach Hartwell has proven to be a viable pitching option as well. If the Bombers can ignite the bottom half of their lineup and pitching rotation, they’ll start to decimate opponents.
#6 Vaderz (11-7):
Opponents: The Ones, Bombers, Night Owls, Snappers, Lightning, Legends (52-56)
The Vaderz have also faced two teams with a winning record, and they won both series. Reigning Cy Young winner Billy Santiwan hasn’t been as dominant as he was last season, but he’s pitched almost half of the team’s innings. The Vaderz lineup has the top on-base plus slugging in the league (1.108), with Alec Hutt (1.776) and Kyle Eder (1.578) at the top of the leaderboard. Having the best offense in the league will get the Vaderz to the playoffs, but to win in playoffs, they’ll have to solidify their rotation. Eder, Kenny Santiwan, Nate Stepna, and Tanner Roundy have all shown they’re capable of pitching well, but Eder is the only one who has been consistent so far this season.
#4(tie) Night Owls (8-10):
Opponents: Warbirds, Lightning, Vaderz, Legends, Sandvipers, Cajuns (56-52)
The Night Owls have faced each of the top three teams in the standings, and they have the worst on-base plus slugging in the league (.801). They’re also in the bottom half of the league in ERA (5.10), but they’ve squeezed out enough wins to be just one away from a .500 record. Levi Lawrence and Logan Christie have pitched the vast majority of the innings, but it seems unclear who their third option is. On the offensive side Lawrence and rookie Andrew Miller have been the one-two punch for the owls, but they haven’t had consistent production behind them. Someone will have to step up for the Night Owls to give them some depth if they’re going to be able to make a playoff push, but who?
#4(tie) Warbirds (5-13):
Opponents: Night Owls, Sandvipers, The Ones, Cajuns, Bombers, Snappers (56-52)
The Warbirds have had a fairly tough schedule, but they’ve scored the fewest runs in the league (75), and given up the most (140). They walk more batters than any other team, and they have the worst ERA (7.66), WHIP (2.49), and batting average against (.339) in the league. Matt Petrikas and Alec Holligan have been decent, but their best pitcher, Brandon Maio, lives out of town, and the rest of their rotation hasn’t had much success. They got their first series win last week against the Snappers, so maybe the birds are on the verge of turning things around, but they’ll need multiple players to step up in order to get out of the basement.
#3 Sandvipers (8-10):
Opponents: Snappers, Warbirds, Cajuns, Bombers, Night Owls, Lightning (60-48)
The Sandvipers have only played against two teams with a record under .500, and they’ve faced the top two teams in the standings, the Cajuns and Lightning. Since starting the season with a disappointing 3-8 record they’ve won five of their last seven games. Marc Tavano is third in the league in batting average (.448), but Jordan Keegan (.308) is the only other player on the team that’s batting .300 or better. Tom Gannon & Adam Tanic have pitched the majority of the innings, and they’re both top ten in the league in WHIP (1.37 and 1.43 respectively), but seven of their ten losses were by two runs or fewer, so if their offense doesn’t wake up soon, they could be slithering their way to relegation.
#2 The Ones (6-12):
Opponents: Vaderz, Snappers, Warbirds, Lightning, Cajuns, Bombers (63-45)
The Ones have faced each of the top five teams in the standings, and they just snapped an eight game losing streak, but don’t expect them to stay at the bottom of the standings all season. Reigning MVP Ryan Chen has been leading the team on both sides of the ball, leading the team in on-base plus slugging (1.161), walks (14), runs batted in (18), home runs (7), hits (19), on-base percentage (.440), WHIP (1.26), strikeouts (54), and innings pitched (37 ⅔). Adrian Gutierrez (.324) is the only other player on the team hitting over .300, and Adam Koutz (13 ⅓) has the second most innings pitched. If Chen isn’t the only one making significant contributions on both sides of the ball, and they take it one game at a time, The Ones could be a scary team the rest of the season.
#1 Legends (5-13):
Opponents: Lightning, Cajuns, Bombers, Night Owls, Snappers, Vaderz (66-42)
The Legends have also faced each of the top five teams in the standings, and even if they had a few more wins, they’d still have the toughest schedule in these rankings. They’ve only been swept once (Bombers), but they also have yet to win a series. Casey Taravella, Nick Sansone, and Derrik Corral have all hit the ball well, but Alex Garcia (.224) is the only other player on the team with a batting average above the .200 mark. Taravella has also pitched well, but he’s the only pitcher on the team with an ERA (3.77) or WHIP (1.51) above the league average (5.05 / 1.75), and after James Church & Billy Osgood (31 IP & 26 IP respectively), the rest of the pitching staff has only accounted for nine total innings. It would take a Legendary run to turn this season around and make the playoffs.
Week seven of Premier League Wiffle® begins tonight at 6:35 pm pacific with a series between the Snappers and Bombers. Tune in LIVE on Twitch!