IBL Power Rankings: Pre-Season Edition

Every week, a panel of IBL media experts will submit their power rankings. These submissions will be averaged to determine the official power rankings for that week.

1. Welland - The defending champions remain atop of the rankings, although the Jackfish has seen turnover with members of last year's roster moving on to other leagues, the Jackfish still boast significant off-season acquisitions like OCAA player of the year Cole Cote and Francisco Jimenez. With a roster that's a mix of seasoned players and promising newcomers, they are the team to beat. Player to Watch: Francisco Jimenez.

2. Barrie - The Baycats, last season's runners-up, are bringing back their core lineup, including ace pitcher Frank Garces and powerhouse hitter Ryan Rijo. General Manager Josh Matlow has strategically enhanced the team with additions such as IBL veteran Chris Lazar, pitcher Cesar Rosado, and slugger Noah Hull. For the Baycats to succeed this season, consistent hitting throughout the lineup will be key. Player to Watch: Chris Lazar.

3. Toronto - Under new ownership, the Maple Leafs are ushering in a new era at Christie Pits. This season introduces exciting updates, including new corporate partnerships, a raised outfield fence, a freshly painted press box, and the exclusive licensed Leaf lager. With a solid foundation of veterans like Salazzo, Costaldo, the Marra brothers, Deska, and Richardson, and bolstered by newcomer Angel Castro, the Leafs have a strong lineup poised to contend at the highest level. While improving road performance remains a focus, their deep roster is ready to take on the league's best. Player to Watch: Christie Pits' new elevated fence.

4. Hamilton - Led by 2023 MVP Tyler Duncan, the Cardinals have focused on adding depth in the rotation and in the bullpen, which includes the league’s first-ever switch pitcher, Mizuki Akatsuka. Duncan will move from the outfield to shortstop filling a big void for the Cardinals. Their season's success hinges significantly on their pitching performance. Player to Watch: Mizuki Akatsuka.

5. London - Despite losing their ace Owen Boon, London has bolstered its roster with Jose Arias and Victor Payano, aiming to bring the organization back to 2021 and 2022 form. The Majors looked to be in mid-season form already in two Exhibition games and it shouldn't be long before London moves up the rankings. Player to Watch: Kaiden Cardoso.

6. Kitchener - With a mix of returning talent and local depth, the Panthers rely on their Cuban trio to replicate last year's deep run. The surprising loss of Andy Leader, Liam Wilson, and Jordan Bahnuk to the inactive list will weaken their chances in 2024. Manager Bill Matetich will have to leverage the squad's strengths in order to have another surprising season. Player to Watch: Yunior Ibarra.

7. Guelph - The roster appears to be in transition, Guelph counts on newcomers like Garrett Takamatsu to spark their lineup. Custodio is not expected to start the season with the Royals with his commitments in Venezuela while infielder Kyle Kush transitions his career overseas in Austria. The team will hope for late-season reinforcements to improve their standing. Player to Watch: Garrett Takamatsu.

8. Chatham - The newest franchise of the IBL will be led by experienced Manager Dan Norman. The Barnstormers have crafted a roster with a number local talent and will be complimented by imports Henry Henry, Seth Strong and Miles Norman. Fergie Jenkins should be sold out all season long, which will give the Barnstormers the energy they need to compete as an expansion team. Player to Watch: Henry Henry.

9. Brantford - Seeking to overcome recent struggles, the Red Sox are focused on incremental improvement and minimizing errors that have hindered their progress. Building team cohesion and consistency is their current strategy. The offense should be strong with Gus Wilson, Matt Fabian, Kieran Bowles and Jeremie Veilleux returning but the pitching and defense remains a big question mark. Player to Watch: Jeremie Veilleux.