IBL Power Rankings: Week 9

By Chris Lazar • Photo by Brandon Taylor

For many people that have followed the league for a long time, this is one of the most wide-open seasons in recent memory. To measure just how much parity there is, look no further than the last 10 games for each club. Outside of Barrie, no team is better than 6-4 over that stretch. With the MLB All-star game last night, I will be naming my own all-star starting lineup from the first half (note: these are my personal selections and not the actual all-star team, that is selected at the end of the season).

#8. Guelph Royals (7-14, Previous Week: 7)

It was a light week for Guelph with two of their four games being rained out, but it was a disappointing one nonetheless. The Royals blew a late lead in their game Tuesday against the Welland Jackfish (suspended from earlier in the season), before getting shut down by one of the best pitchers in the league this year in Owen Boon on Sunday. Unfortunately, it isn’t going to get easier, as with all of their rainouts the last few weeks their schedule down the stretch will be very busy and will surely test their pitching depth. Luckily, they seem to be getting reinforcements at the perfect time and their stay at the bottom of the rankings should be short-lived.


2B – Brando Leroux: .382/.476/.483, 12 RBI, 10 SB

#7. Brantford Red Sox (4-20, Previous Week: 8)

Brantford picked up their first home win of the season and their biggest one since 2021, defeating the hottest team in the league 20-15 in an absolute barnburner on Sunday, and the followed it up by defeating the Leafs Monday to give them their first consecutive wins in two years. While they have their issues on the mound – they’ve allowed over 100 more runs than the next worst pitching staff – their offense continues to impress, led by batting average leader Matt Fabian and another top-four player in that category, Gus Wilson. If they can ever figure out the run prevention side of things, this team might have something.


Util – Matt Fabian: .458/.536/.578, 1 HR, 11 RBI

#6. London Majors (8-12, Previous Week: 6)

Behind dominant pitching, the Majors look like they’re turning the corner. With a pair of low-scoring victories this week, they have now won four of their last five games, with three of those wins coming against the top half of the league. The concern for London is that while they’re getting excellent performances on the mound, their offense is giving them very little room for error. They are dead last in runs scored, and if their pitching isn’t close to perfect they’re going to have a tough time winning games consistently. If one thing is certain, Roop Chanderdat will leave no stone unturned to fix it.


SP – Owen Boon: 39.2 IP, 2.72 ERA, 56 K, 7 BB 

#5. Hamilton Cardinals (13-10, Previous Week: 4)

The Cardinals have been going through their most difficult stretch of the season losing three of their last four, but that isn’t a huge concern when you consider they won five of the previous six games before that. Drawing their largest crowd in years on Friday, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the long-term direction of this franchise. Short-term though, their pitching depth is a concern and it’s shown itself recently. They haven’t been receiving consistent performances on the mound besides Logan Walters, and that is something they will be looking to address before the transaction deadline.


OF – Tyler Duncan: .368/.418/.695, 7 HR, 26 RBI

 #4. Toronto Maple Leafs (13-11, Previous Week: 5)

The Leafs went 1-2 in their last three games with the two losses being one-run games, but it’s hard not to be encouraged by the way their games went for one reason – they pitched really well! While the offense sputtered over the weekend, nobody is really concerned about that aspect of their game, but to see what their pitching was able to do was impressive. They allowed only 10 runs over the three contests, their lowest total of runs allowed over any three-game stretch this season. If they can continue to get pitching like this, there is no question the Leafs will be a contender come playoff time.


3B – Johnathan Solazzo: .377/.515/.766, 9 HR, 29 RBI

 #3. Kitchener Panthers (13-10, Previous Week: 2)

With a 0-3 week, Kitchener’s inconsistency continues to plague them. Some weeks they look unbeatable, and others they seem like they can’t get anything to go right. They’ve been unable to find consistent pitching to match their hitting, and in a week where their hitting has taken a small step back (The pace they were at offensively was so ridiculous it was unsustainable) their pitching was good but wasn’t enough. They are expecting some Cuban help on the mound though, and that will be a massive boost to the club.


1B – Liam Wilson: .384/.505/.781, 8 HR, 27 RBI

SS – Raul Gonzalez: .378/.457/.633, 7 HR, 35 RBI

OF – Andy Leader: .375/.433/.613, 4 HR, 21 RBI

SP – Christian Hauck: 33 IP, 3.27 ERA, 32 K, 1.33 WHIP

 #2. Barrie Baycats (14-7, Previous Week: 1)

Frank Garces continues to look like the best pitcher in the league, but the concern for Barrie lies in the games he is not a part of. Before Garces arrived, the Baycats were 4-4, and they have lost two of their last three – the Dominican lefty pitched in the win. The depth issues on the mound were most notable Sunday when they allowed 20 runs to the bottom team in the standings. With Jeifry Nunez currently sidelined due to injury, they will be tested. The good news? If they can hold up, they will be an absolute force to be reckoned with.


DH – Ryan Rijo: .397/.469/.647, 5 HR, 29 RBI

SP – Frank Garces: 33.2 IP, 2.13 ERA, 37 K, 1 BB

 #1. Welland Jackfish (18-6, Previous Week: 2)

After a brief stint at number two, the Jackfish find themselves back on top of the rankings, rebounding from a 1-4 stretch with a four-game winning streak over the past week, winning every game in a different fashion. Comeback win in Guelph, blowout win against Brantford, low-scoring walk-off victory versus Toronto, and a full team win on Sunday in Kitchener. Welland can win games in a variety of ways – they are never out of a game when they’re down, and good luck coming back against them. With the recent signing of Alberto Guerrero, it doesn’t feel like they will be resting on their laurels. They’re going for it.


C – Sam Cawker: .333/.424/.519, 4 HR, 22 RBI

OF – Hogan Brown: .353/.420/.565, 3 HR, 26 RBI

CP – Deivy Mendez: 17 IP, 0.00 ERA, 29 K, 1 BB