IBL Power Rankings: Week 6
Father’s day weekend saw a heavy slate of games with many IBL fans choosing to spend their holiday Sunday at the ballpark as the London Majors packed the park and the Welland Jackfish set a new attendance record of over 2600 people. With Major League Baseball also celebrating dad’s everywhere, I’ll be giving each IBL team an MLB comparable. Let’s get into it!
#8. Brantford Red Sox (2-13, Previous Week: 8)
Oakland Athletics. Brantford has earned this comparison both on and off the field. Not only have they struggled between the white lines, but the organization isn’t doing itself any favors. It’s unfortunate because like the A’s, they have a strong and loyal fanbase, but the product they are being given by ownership just isn’t up to the standard the rest of the league has set. Hopefully they turn things around and their story doesn’t come to the same end as Oakland’s.
#7. London Majors (4-8, Previous Week: 7)
St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals and Majors both had high expectations entering the 2023 season and have both fallen flat on their faces. Each team has had major issues on the mound, with London’s imports just not being good enough and issuing way too many walks. They have already made some changes adding Anfernee Benitez who made his debut Friday, but that outing didn’t offer much optimism either as he walked 11 over 2.2 innings. Both teams have more talent than they’ve shown, but it’s starting to look like maybe we just overrated them.
#6. Guelph Royals (4-10, Previous Week: 6)
Cleveland Guardians. After losing in the first round in five games, Cleveland’s young roster has taken a step back. The Guelph Royals have followed a similar path. The Royals now have a fairly young core with the Morro brothers and Brando Leroux leading the charge, but their issue is similar to the Guardians – they lack power. With only four home runs on the season, they sit last in the IBL in that category. They still have time add some heavy hitters, but if they don’t it’s going to be hard for them to keep up with the big boys.
#5. Kitchener Panthers (8-7, Previous Week: 4)
Boston Red Sox. Hot start followed by a regression to the middle of the pack. That’s been the script both organizations have followed in 2023. It’s interesting to look at how similar these teams look – the offenses are excellent, but they were hitting at an unsustainable rate early in the year, and when they came back down to Earth the pitching hasn’t been good enough to keep up a winning pace. The Panthers offense did the heavy lifting early on, it’s time for the pitchers to carry their weight.
#4. Barrie Baycats (8-5, Previous Week: 5)
San Francisco Giants. Riding winning streaks, these two clubs find themselves in the top half of the standings and have done so in unspectacular fashion. Saturday and Sunday saw the Baycats win one-run games against the bottom two teams in the rankings, however they also beat the Hamilton Cardinals convincingly. Either way, they haven’t lost in the past week and neither have the Giants. Nothing jumps off the page when you look at either roster, but it seems that the product they are putting out on the field is greater than the sum of their parts, a characteristic of every good team.
#3. Hamilton Cardinals (9-6, Previous Week: 2)
Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cards have a young exciting team that’s exceeding expectations with a potential MVP candidate who’s also in his first year in the league in Clayton Keyes, similar to what the D-Backs are experiencing to this point. A scrappy team that can be frustrating in their youth, but yet are very fun to watch as they play the game hard and with high energy, and the people of Hamilton have noticed – they are drawing crowds that haven’t been seen at Bernie Arbour in a very long time.
#2. Toronto Maple Leafs (10-5, Previous Week: 3)
Los Angeles Angels. Like the Angels, Toronto’s offense has carried them this season, while their pitching has let them down at times. They pace the league in runs per game, but are also seventh in ERA (7.20). This is like what the team in Anaheim is experiencing, who have a top 10 offense with a starting rotation that ranks in the bottom 10. The Leafs version of Mike Trout plays third base, as MVP candidate Johnathan Solazzo is tied for the league lead in home runs and RBI. The Angels are trying to get over the playoff hump, while the team out of Christie Pits looks to get over the championship hurdle. Is 2023 the year for these franchises? Time will tell.
#1. Welland Jackfish (11-2, Previous Week: 1)
Tampa Bay Rays. The top team in the IBL has a ton of similarities to the top team in the big leagues. A red hot offense that seems to put up runs at will, supplemented by a relentless pitching staff of dudes that just get it done, with each arm seemingly better than the last. Tampa Bay started the season on a 13 game win streak, and the Fish are just two games away from matching that mark. The Rays have slowed down slightly, and it’s unreasonable to expect Welland to keep up this pace all year, but both teams have shown that they are top dog in their respective leagues, and anybody looking to win the championship will have to go through either the Trop or the Pond.