While the standings - dictated by wins and losses - are ultimately all that matters at the end of the Mid Atlantic tournament season, during the season they may not always tell the full story. Player absences, a difficult strength of schedule, and plain old bad luck can muddy the waters mid year. “The Rise” power rankings goes beyond the current standings to gauge which five teams should be considered the favorites at season’s end and which team(s) are ready to crash the party at a moment’s notice.
Ranking a league with so much parity is not an exact science. Overall records and points are important, but not the be-all end-all. Momentum and “what have you done for me lately?” factors in as well. Most every team has experienced both ups and downs through the first five tournaments of 2019.
Just when you think you are figuring things out, everything changes! This edition of the Power Rankings includes lots of movement in both directions. Two previously unranked teams, including one that has never been ranked, move into the top five. We also saw two teams that were ranked change spots. I hope you all paid attention in your high school and college math classes because there are a lot of moving numbers this week . . .
1. ERL (1)
9-1 | 2 first place finishes
The word of the day for ERL is “sequel”, both in tournaments and matchups. ERL completed its back-to-back tournament wins with its newly shaped squad after defeating the Juggernauts in the finals and avenging their earlier loss to them in pool play. The only minor concern for this team is they will have to most likely fight through a crowded field of teams in the first playoff round on Sept. 7 to earn the last spot for the Sept. 14 championship round.
2. Juggernauts (5)
9-12 | 3 top four finishes
Things are starting to come together for this team that features a scary and powerful lineup. Perhaps they are peaking just in time for the playoffs and will make a run for the championship come September. On July 6th, the Juggernauts won the battle but lost the war. They beat ERL during pool play in an instant classic, 6-4, that featured line drives and homers all over the field, but lost to ERL 2-0 in the tournament finals.
3. Stompers (NR)
11-10 | 2 top four finishes
Consistency is the biggest obstacle for these young guns. They have alternated being ranked and unranked over the past three editions of the Power Rankings. They will still need to prove they can win when their entire roster is playing.
4. New School Risers (NR)
8-12 | 1 top four finish
Once again, this team played their hearts out and finished in fifth place. This is the Risers first time breaking into the top 5 Power Rankings and they will need to do well in the next tournament to remain there as there are a number of teams on their heels.
5. Longballs (4)
11-11 | 3 top 4 finishes
The lone Ridley Park team in the top five was close to being unranked, but having the most points for the season saved them. Another off-tournament will drop them out of the Power Rankings.
Just Missing the Cut
Wow, a team that was once ranked first in the Power Rankings (after making it to two straight finals, winning one) is now on the outside looking in. How did this happen? Well, the last three tournaments haven’t been kind to this team—finishing 11th, 5th and 8th. They will need to do better to move back into the top five and more importantly compete for the championship this year.
NY Meats (3)
Their play on the field makes them a top five, probably a top three squad, but they have missed too many tournaments to be ranked ahead of some other teams. A good performance in August can see them shoot way up the rankings.