IBL Power Rankings: Week 7
By Chris Lazar • Photo by Brandon Taylor
Canada Day weekend is almost upon us, and it is always a celebration. It is a time to party, spend time with family and friends, and most importantly show off Canadian pride. In this week’s edition of the power rankings, we will highlight one thing that each team should be proud of so far this year.
#8. Brantford Red Sox (2-16, Previous Week: 8)
Matt Fabian. Who would’ve thought that nearly halfway through the season a member of the Red Sox would be leading the league in batting average? Well here we are, and it’s been well earned. The third baseman has racked up a .459 average in 13 starts, reaching base at a ridiculous .530 clip.
#7. London Majors (4-11, Previous Week: 7)
Owen Boon. In a season with far more downs than ups, The Majors have seen Boon be as effective as ever. Top five in the league in ERA, the veteran righty has been carving hitters all year long and it looks like he’s throwing the ball harder than he has in the past, which also could explain the league leading 39 strikeouts. Not only is he striking batters out at a high rate, he’s only walked five guys all season. The Western grad is certainly having quite a run in the first half of the year.
#6. Guelph Royals (6-12, Previous Week: 6)
Youthful Production. The Royals currently field the youngest left side of the infield in the IBL, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at their numbers. Rookie Corey Morro and second-year player Brando Leroux are both still teenagers, yet they have arguably been the team’s best hitters this season. Leroux is batting .397 with more walks than strikeouts while Morro was hitting over .400 coming into last week. The future is certainly bright in Guelph with these two.
#5. Kitchener Panthers (10-7, Previous Week: 5)
Christian Hauck. It seems the Laurier graduate is finally reaching his potential. The seven-year veteran has always possessed electric stuff, however he’s rarely been able to harness it consistently, and never has he had a run quite like the one he’s on this season. There have been stretches of Hauck’s career where he’s shown ace-like talent, and this year he has the results that show it. Leading the league in ERA is a difficult thing to do, but to do it with Jack Couch as your home yard? That makes his season that much more remarkable.
#4. Toronto Maple Leafs (10-7, Previous Week: 2)
Veteran Leadership. Toronto’s offense has been solid all season, and it’s been led by names that are familiar to anyone who’s been around the league. Johnathan Solazzo is either near – or at – the top of the leaderboard in basically every offensive category, while catcher Justin Marra has also showcased his power stroke with six homers so far this year and his brother Dan Marra in the top 10 in batting average. Justin has been in the league for seven seasons, while Dan and Solazzo are in their 12th and 13th seasons respectively - an experienced team led by some of the most veteran players the league has to offer.
#3. Hamilton Cardinals (11-7, Previous Week: 3)
Front Office. Hamilton currently sit one win behind their total from 2022, and it’s not even halfway through the season. The play on the field is the obvious reason for the turnaround, but it wouldn’t be possible without new owner Eric Spearin and the front office. Spearin has completely revamped everything about the Cardinals and it’s breathed new life into the franchise, both on and off the field. They are seeing attendance numbers they haven’t seen in a very long time consistently, and the team is playing at a pace better than it ever has – they are on pace to break the franchise record for wins in a season (22).
#2. Barrie Baycats (11-5, Previous Week: 4)
Championship Pedigree. The Baycats seven game winning streak has been led by two guys who helped win championships during Barrie’s dynasty – Frank Garces on the mound and Ryan Rijo at the plate. Garces has been in vintage form this year after a rough 2022 with a 2.29 ERA in just under 20 innings, striking out 22 and has yet to walk a single batter, while Rijo just took home player of the week honours after a sizzling hot week that saw him go 7-for-11 at the dish with a pair of homers. The big first baseman is having a career year, on pace to shatter his previous best numbers in nearly every offensive category.
#1. Welland Jackfish (14-3, Previous Week: 1)
Depth. Despite losing big on Saturday night, The Jackfish have been the most consistent team in the league, regularly finding ways to win games. This weekend was always going to be a tough stretch, as they had to play four straight days and were missing their ace Jake Harford, but they still came away 3-1 thanks to their incredible depth. Their pitching staff was asked to carry a heavy load in the absence of Harford, and besides Saturday’s hiccup they delivered as they have all year. Their lineup is no joke either and can beat you one through nine and even one through 13 when you include their bench. Their starting lineup sported seven hitters with batting averages over .300. The two guys who were under that mark? Steven Moretto and Gianfranco Morello, who also happen to be two of their most productive hitters this season. There simply aren’t many weaknesses on this team.