The Drop 100 for 2018: #100 - #66
The Drop 100 is based on on field performance in 2018 unrestricted pitch speed, competitive wiffleball games. Please read the Overview article for more detailed background on how the list was compiled, what it covers, and lessons learned.
Key Stats: 12 IP | 283 ERA+ | 3-0 | 25 AB/HR | 20 GP [Mid Atlantic]
Schaefer could be several spots higher on this list but there is something appropriate about him ending his career being underrated one final time. The 38-year old announced that the 2018 season was his last as a regular player and it was a fine way to go out. There were no “Willie Mays misjudging fly balls in center field” moments for Nick who went a perfect 3-0 on the rubber in Mid Atlantic against quality competition. For good measure Nick hit three home runs in 74 at bats, including two long balls in games where he was the pitcher of record. Not too bad for a guy who has unfairly been strapped with a “weak hitter” label throughout his near twenty-year career. Nick will be missed on the field in 2019 but you can anticipate seeing plenty of him at Mid Atlantic tournaments next year as he continues to serve in his roles as ambassador and broadcast announcer for the organization.
Diablos, WSEM Dads
Key Stats: 125 AB | 45 H | 8 2B | 17 HR | .363/.490/.839 | 46 IP | 119 K | 9 H | 25 R [Wiffle in Southeast Michigan] 22 AB | 4 H | 4 XBH | 122 OPS+ [NWLA Tournament]
Chandler Phillips was named Most Valuable Player in Wiffle in Southeast Michigan thanks to a superlative offensive season that saw him finish first in most major offensive categories. He has a very level swing that allows him to do damage on pitches up in the zone and beat balls down in the zone into the ground. The latter scenario affords him the opportunity to take advantage of his height and athleticism to beat balls out under WSEM and the NWLA Tournament’s base running rules. As a pitcher, Chandler overcame frequent bouts of wildness (82 walks in 46 innings) to limit runs thanks in part to his 119 strikeouts. He benefited from WSEM’s one-looking-strike rule as it allowed him to be effectively wild and sneak a looking strike in after falling behind. Phillip’s control issues appeared to be a result of an inconsistent arm slot. When he is on, he throws from a solid riser from a low submarine release point.
In the Box
Key Stats: 12 IP | 2 R | 425 ERA+ [Mid Atlantic]
Tom – one of the best players in the sport from 1998 through 2004 – would almost certainly respectfully disagree with his inclusion on this list. After all, two runs allowed in twelve innings of work and an on-base percentage that failed to crack .300 are not exactly on par with the standard he set for himself during his heyday. Holding three good teams to just two runs over twelve innings at 51 years of age, however, deserves some recognition. LoCascio kept good hitters like Jordan Robles and Chris Sarnowski in check, with only the Yaks’ Dan Potter being able to touch him up for any runs. He struggled a little more at the plate, but Tom still collected five hits while hitting in front of his son, Gianni, in their two-man line up. None of us can turn back time, but for LoCascio to play alongside his son and – for one tournament at least – compete with players less than half his age amounted to one of the best stories of 2018.
Corn Bombers, GWL Legends
Key Stats: 15 IP | 11 ER | 8 H | 21 BB | 28 K | 173 ERA+ [NWLA Tournament] 38 IP | 8 R | 17 H | 96 K | 577 ERA+ [Leroy Wiffleball Association]
One outing – the winner’s bracket final against the eventual champions WILL Waves – dampened what was otherwise an excellent NWLA tournament for Brett Detmar. Detmar pitched a couple of scoreless innings in pool play, held the defending champions WSEM to two runs over four innings, and put out the fire for his team in the tournament championship game with 3 1/3 innings of shutout wiffleball. Brett relied on a relatively hard non-scuffed slider and riser from almost a straight side arm motion to great effect in that particular tournament. In Leroy league play, his 1.26 ERA was second only to Caleb Jonkman among pitchers with six or more innings pitched.
SPW Aces, LA Renegades
Key Stats: 44 IP | 0.80 ERA | 121 K’s [SPW Regular Season]
With a compact and clean delivery that results in seemingly effortless velocity, SPW’s Ryker Holloway has the physical tools necessary to be an above average wiffs pitchers. Holloway was tough to score on in the four-team Sycamore Park Wiffleball League this past summer, holding opponents to 11 runs over 44 innings. Holloway primarily used an overhand screwball and slider this year, choosing to attack hitters across a horizontal plane. He will occasionally drop low for a riser, which he might need to go to more frequently as he steps out against higher levels of competition. Holloway showed potential – and gained valuable experience – in a 5-0 losing effort to GSW at the Fast Plastic Texas Open while playing for the LA Renegades.
Key Stats: 23 1/3 IP | 12 ER | 50 K’s | 359 ERA+ [MLW Regular Season] 34 IP | 24 ER | 76 K’s | 10 CG [MLW Playoffs]
As the key players in the social media savvy MLW grow older it is becoming clear – if it wasn’t before – that there is some legitimate talent in that Michigan-based league, even if gauging that level of talent is still a bit of a guessing game. Take Tommy Coughlin for example. The righthander had a strong regular season and followed it up with 34 quality innings in the MLW playoffs. Coughlin uses an above average non-scuffed slider against right-handed batters and can mix in an average-ish drop pitch when needed. It is a strong two-pitch base, one that looks as if it could be effective in other environments. At the same time, his regular season K/BB rate of 1.2 is cause for hesitation. The stuff is pretty good already and it is easy to see it improving even more over the next couple of years, but his inability to limit the free passes could hamper him in competition outside of MLW. Rumor has it MLW might enter a team in the NWLA tournament next season and if they do, it will be interesting to how Coughlin’s stuff – among others – plays.
Key Stats: 126 AB | 27 H | 8 XBH | 18 BB | 92 OPS+ [Palisades Regular Season] 32 AB | 5 H | 3 XBH [Palisades Playoffs]
The Padres made it to the Palisades championship series for the first time in their three-year existence in 2018. While veterans Jordan Robles and Kyle Von Schleusingen had a lot to do with that, Sean Ryan was an excellent third-man for the runners up. Ryan’s strength lies in his “contact-to-damage ratio” as former major league manager Buck Showalter might say. Ryan didn’t walk a ton (13%) and hit for an okay .214 average. However, 8 of his 27 hits went for extra bases in the regular season and 3 of his 5 post-season hits resulted in a double or better. More to the point, Ryan had a knack for producing a big hit when the Padres needed it this past season.
RPWL A’s, Longballs
Key Stats: .229/.605/.500 | 135 OPS+ | 17 2/3 IP | 7 ER | 164 ERA+ [RPWL Regular Season] 17 PA | 2 HR | 126 OPS+ [NWLA Tournament]
With all the great young players on the Longballs and in the Ridley Park Wiffleball League in general, their commissioner tends to get lost in the shuffle. Let the record show that Harshaw was a key performer for the Longballs in the NWLA Tournament, where his .471 OBP and two home runs were rare bright spots in what was otherwise a disappointing tournament for the team. In the low offensive environment of RPWL, Harshaw’s .229 batting average rates out as sixth best. Anywhere he played this summer, Dylan showed a patience reflective of his years of experience. He makes pitchers work and his ready to attack when they bring the ball other. Although his Mid Atlantic hitting output trailed behind what he was able to produce elsewhere, Dylan’s second inning home run off Jared Laird in the Mid Atlantic Championship tournament was pivotal in getting his team into the semi-finals. Although he admittedly does not have much more these days than one game on the rubber per week – a result of pitching in backyard games and the RPWL for much of the last decade – Harshaw was solid as the A’s second pitcher behind Ryan Drecher
Key Stats: 14 2/3 IP, 1 R, 42 K [Mid Atlantic]
Northern Virginia’s The Naturals were the talk of Mid Atlantic’s Opening Day tournament in April, in large part because of their home run heavy offense. However, it was Matt – one of three Herbek brothers on the team – that took home tournament MVP thanks to his work on the carpet. Matt pitched shut outs against a pair of quality hitting teams in My Name is ERL and Way Too Beautiful to start his day and then shut the door on Ben Stant and G€M in the semi’s by tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. A first inning bout of wildness against the Stompers – which led to one walked-in run – was the only blemish on his day. With his clean motion and over the top delivery, Matt befuddled hitters all day long while relying primarily on a drop pitch and riser combo. Matt did not hit much during his one 2018 appearance but did manage a home run off Stant in the tournament semi-finals.
Missouri Express, Green Mountain Sasquatches
Key Stats: 34 IP | 30 R | 57 K% | 6 H [JAL XVII] 23 IP | 18 R | 56 K% | 10 H [JAL XVIII]
Coleman was one of the few pitchers in JAL’s top tier during their 17th and 18th seasons that relied on movement and mixing pitches to retire hitters rather than simply outpowering them with fastballs. Scott’s go-to offering is a riser from a low arm slot. In lieu of overpowering velocity, the 40-something pitcher makes an effort to his spots and work up and down in the zone, a strategy not often seen in the one-pitch-per-batter JAL. Coleman had more strikeouts than walks in both JAL XVII and XVIII and thus far is one of only a few JAL pitchers who has seen his pitching numbers improve between the two seasons despite the league adopting more hitter-friendly rules (specifically, a closer singles line).
Las Vegas Wifflers
The LV Wifflers had a rough go of it at the Fast Plastic Texas Open, dropping three out of their four pool play games which sent them packing before the elimination round. As usual, the LV Wifflers’ ace threw has hard as any other pitcher. With a plus screwball and enough other offerings to keep hitters guessing, Steve’s stuff was never in doubt even if the results were not exactly what he hoped they would be.
The 2002 USPPBA National Championship MVP and the 2003 Fast Plastic NCT MVP found himself in an unfamiliar position this year in his limited action – as the second or even third best player on his team. With Randy Dalbey stepping into the role of team ace – and contributing his fair share of big hits as well – and Jay Ventresca leading the way on offense, the 2-time National Champion played second fiddle for perhaps the first time in his career. Jim – laid back as always – adapted to his new lot quite well at the Fast Plastic Texas Open by providing solid pitching behind Dalbey and contributing his usual quality at bats throughout the tournament.
Degeneration X, Texas Express
Key Stats: .341/.442/1.068 | 10 HR | 21 1/3 IP | 19 ER | 59 K [TWBL]
In the toughest division in the Texas Wiffleball League, Jesse Palmore more than held his own on both sides of the ball. At the plate, the switch hitter displayed unreal power. 12 of his 15 hits during the season went for extra bases with 10 leaving the park completely. Palmore’s simple pitching mechanics – a one step motion with an almost short arm delivery – is deceptive. This guy throws hard. His side arm riser might be his best pitch and gets on hitters fast. Palmer has an assortment of pitches including a funky underhand flip dropper. There was at least one game this season where he seemed to get out of sync at times and began throwing non-competitive pitches. His walk rate – 1.6 per inning – is also far too high. Stuff wise, Palmore stacks up with the best of them and was able to overcome those weaknesses more often than not during the TWBL regular season.
AWAA Blue Kamikazes
Key Stats: 14 1/3 IP | 222 ERA+ | 27 K [NWLA Tournament]
The big right-hander pitched an impressive NWLA Tournament for the Blue Kamikazes of the AWAA. In terms of run prevention, LaValley outperformed his more prolific teammates, Jimmy Cole and Kyle Von Schleuisingen. LaValley hit a wall later in the tournament, but not before holding a pair of good hitting teams – the Skibee Wiffleball League Cardinals and Ridley Park Longballs – to a combined one run and two hits over 6 1/3 innings. With solid velocity and a high effort motion, facing LaValley can make for an uncomfortable at bat. LaValley did not do much at the plate either at the NWLA Tournament or at the MAW Winter Classic but did pick up a pitching win at the latter event.
WSEM Dads, Stinky Nuts
Key Stats: 59 IP | 29 R | 145 K | 49 BB [WSEM Regular Season] 14 IP | 4 R | 7 H | 8 BB | 38 K | 436 ERA+ [NWLA Tournament]
With Stephen Farkas a no-show at the NWLA Tournament, Stronjy settled in as the ace of the defending champions, the WSEM Dads. He had a solid year in WSEM, finishing in the top five in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts, although the results did not exactly jump off the page. At the NWLA Tournament, however, Stronjy was in strong form posting a top ten ERA and doing all he could on the rubber to give the Dads a chance at adding a fourth tournament title. Pitching from a side arm slot, he is an experienced pitcher who relies mainly on an average-ish riser that he is most effective when he is able to move it around the strike zone.
Stats: 11 IP | 5 ER | 28 K | 273 ERA+ | .562/.682/1.188 | 190 OPS+ [NWLA Tournament]
Playing for the Kalamazoo Wiffleball League Keggers, Mike Hogan put together one of the more well-rounded tournaments of any player at the 2018 NWLA Tournament. Hogan pitches from an almost stretch-like position (think former Baltimore Orioles Starting Pitcher Chris Tillman) and used a tight non-scuffed curveball almost exclusively in Morenci. What Hogan lacked in movement he made up for with decent velocity and by staying out of the center of the target. The result was a pair of well pitched games against the HRL All-Stars out of Minnesota, where all but five outs were recorded via strikeout. At the plate, Hogan’s batting average and on base percentage were the best of any player in the tournament.
RPWL Yankees, Longballs
Key Stats: 55 2/3 IP | 17 ER | 89 K | 212 OPS+ | 77 PA | 117 OPS+ [RPWL Regular Season] 29 IP | 4 H | 5 ER | 22 BB | 51 K [RPWL Playoffs]
After a season away from the Ridley Park Wiffleball League, Greg Myers returned this season in a big way. Greg just edged out Colin Pollag for the ERA title among starters – historically, the league has used a starter/secondary pitchers approach on each team – with a 1.53 ERA that was more than two times lower than league average. His 55 2/3 regular season innings were second most in the league. Myers makes a big first step – almost Tom LoCascio-like – to start his delivery before settling into a more natural motion. He mainly goes with a slider, which he can throw from an overhand and ¾’s arm slot. He works fast when pitching out of a bucket of balls, which may help to offset some of the predictability of his offerings. By OPS+, Greg was an above average hitter in RPWL. Like most of his Ridley Park Longballs teammates, Myers had – at best – a middling NWLA Tournament, which keeps him from ranking higher on this list.
Key Stats: 33 2/3 IP | 21 ER | 23 H | 76 K | 296 ERA+ | 71 AB | 37 H | 18 XBH | 35 BB | 144 OPS+ [MLW Regular Season] 20 IP | 15 ER | 40 K | 25 AB | 12 H | 4 HR [MLW Playoffs]
Schultz was the best player in MLW and there is not much of an argument to be made otherwise. The stats back it up. Kyle’s regular season slash line of .521/.679/1.155 was 40% higher than league average and second best overall, while easily leading the league in PA’s. He also led the league in innings pitched with 33 2/3’s innings and struck out nearly 2.3 batters per inning pitched. He passes the eye test, particularly on the rubber. Schultz primarily throws a riser from a submarine position – something you don’t see very often these days. The pitch plays up when he is able to hit the sides, corners, and top of the strike zone which he did quite frequently this summer. When the ball catches too much of the plate – even it is up – it’s hittable and he will need a better secondary pitch than a fastball against high level competition. However, Schultz’s riser has legit movement and his unique arm slot might cause more trouble for unfamiliar hitters than it does for MLW regulars. He also has some big wins on this resume this past year. Schultz continued to kill the ball in the MLW playoffs, with 12 hits (4 home runs) in 25 AB’s while throwing all 20 innings for his Western Wildcats team on their way to the 2018 MLW championship. Like with Coughlin, it will be interesting to see how Schultz performs next summer at the NWLA tournament if MLW does indeed enter a team.
Key Stats: 21 1/3 IP | 214 ERA+ | 62 AB | 117 OPS+ [Palisades Minors Regular Season]
In the offensive-minded Palisades Minor Leagues, any pitcher that allowed less runs than innings thrown while pitching a significant number of innings deserves a nod. The Stugotz’s Mike Grey gave up 18 runs over 21 1/3 innings pitched, while striking out 43 batters. At the plate, Grey’s .419/.576/.903 slash line placed him in the top half of Palisades’ Minor League hitters.
Legends of Wiffle
With teammates like Nord, Anderson, and King, Ryan Kauffman seemed destined to get lost in the shuffle of the Legends of Wiffle team at the Fast Plastic Texas Open. Instead, Kauffman upstaged his more prolific teammates on the mound and was a major reason the Legends made a run to the quarterfinals of that tournament. A holdover from the dying days of the 2000’s LA wiffle scene, Kauffman paired upper level velocity with a solid screwball on the way to becoming his team’s unexpected ace.
Castle Rock Rapids, Legends of Wiffle
Key Stats: 109 PA | 64 BB | 24 TB | 10 IP | 182 ERA+ [JAL 18]
Anderson was one of the west coast’s most prolific players during the first decade of this century, finishing second in the 2006 Fast Plastic NCT as a member of the Gunners and winning the 2010 GSWL Fast Pitch National Championship with the CA Diablos. After a lengthy absence, Dereck re-emerged earlier this year as a free agent in Washington state’s JAL wiffleball league where he was quickly snapped up by JAL XVI champions, the Castle Rock Rapids. Anderson has had an immediate impact on the Rapids during JAL XVIII and played an important part in them getting off to a perfect 5-0 start. At the plate, the veteran has shown a solid approach, which has lead to a 59% walk rate. He also picked up a pair of pitching wins early in the season before handing the ball back to Rapid’s ace, Jeter Larson. Anderson got lost in the shuffle a little but on the Legends of Wiffle team at the Fast Plastic Texas Open, but hung reasonably well against his younger competition.
RPWL Red Sox
Key Stats: 9 G | 41 IP | 4 R | 3 H | 24 BB | 68 K [RPWL Playoffs]
Positioned as a distant number two on the RPWL Red Sox depth chart behind team captain Tyler Nachbar, Cam Farro threw just 8 2/3 innings during the 14-game RPWL regular season. However, just three days after giving the Ridley Park Longballs two+ quality games at MAW Backyard Brawl, Nachbar experienced some discomfort in his arm and struggled in a playoff loss to the Diamondbacks. Farro finished out that game and was given the ball to start the next one. Farro threw six shutout innings against the Diamondbacks and from there it was off to the races. When all was said and done, Farro threw 41 innings for his team in the RPWL playoffs, allowed only four runs, and struck out 68 batters to lead them to the title. The teenage flamethrower began the playoffs throwing only a hard slider but added several additional pitches as he went along. His dominant playoff performance was an eye opener – even to his own teammates – which makes Farro still a bit of an unknown commodity. He will need to follow it up with another strong season in RPWL – and maybe beyond the confines of Ridley Park – in 2019 to stick, but the raw talent is clearly there.
RPWL Phillies, Shortballs
Key Stats: 16 2/3 IP | 3 H | 4 R | 23 K | 270 ERA+ [RPWL Regular Season] 8 IP | 4 H | 3 R | 19 K | 189 ERA+ [Mid Atlantic]
If competitive wiffleball utilized relievers the way Major League Baseball does, Smith would almost certainly have a spot for life as a late inning matchup lefty. Nate’s motion is full of deception thanks to his significant side step, the way he shields the ball with both his non-pitching arm and body as he turns into his delivery and ending with a delivery that is anywhere from ¾’s on down to submarine. He was primarily a one pitch pitcher – a riser – in 2018, which also fuels the late inning reliever comparisons. Smith was used in a relief role for the Ridley Park Phillies and fared very well. He appeared in nine games but made only two starts while allowing just four runs in 16 2/3 innings. Smith pitched well for the Shortballs at Mid Atlantic’s August 4th tournament, holding the Longballs and Lemon Heads to a single run over seven innings. Although the hand he pitches with and his natural deception makes him particularly difficult against left-handed batters, he demonstrated the ability to get batters out regardless of the side of the plate they hit from. Smith was below average as a hitter this year but is young and projects to become an average hitter in his late teen years.
Golden Sticks, Giants
The Georgia veteran stuck around late in a pair of tournaments this year, finishing first with the Golden Sticks at the National Wiffle event in Tennessee and then getting to the final four with the Giants at the Fast Plastic Texas Open. No longer the force on the carpet that he once was in his prime, Bragg nonetheless contributed important innings to the Giants, which allowed the Giants to lay off Ryan McElrath in the early stages of the Texas Open.
RPWL A’s, Shortballs
Key Stats: 16 IP | 2 R | 8 H | 17 BB | 39 K | 566 ERA+ | 35 AB | 7 H | 3 XBH | 107 OPS+ [Mid Atlantic] 53 2/3 IP | 29 ER | 21 H | 68 BB | 70 K | 120 ERA+ [RPWL Regular Season]
Not even out of high school yet, Ryan has a highly projectable arm. He put himself on the radar with a strong 2018 league season and by performing well against some quality teams in Mid Atlantic. Ryan’s best showing was in August when he went toe-to-toe with Adam Milsted for six scoreless innings. He is screwball heavy at this point in his career and will likely need another high-end option to continue his upward trajectory but has a solid base to start from. At the plate he is a work in progress but showed flashes against mid-tier pitching.
Boyz With Feelings
Key Stats: 16 2/3 IP | 1 R | 39 K | 16 BB | 3,007 ERA+ | 100 OPS+ [Palisades Minors Regular Season]
A staple of the Palisades Minors since the beginning, Boyz With Feelings’ 8-6 regular season record was a step down from their 11-3 mark a year prior but Tim Caufield continued to put up big numbers. For the second straight season, Tim allowed only one run all season long (although in seven less innings in 2018 over 2017). Caufield only played five games in Palisades this year but based on his two-seasons of dominance, it is clear he is one of a select few pitchers in the PWBL minors that are a cut above the rest. At the plate, Caufield was exactly league average. Tim – who put up those stats in five games – is one of the players on this list who would have almost certainly benefited from additional plate appearances and innings pitched.
Longballs, RPWL Phillies
Key Stats: 48 2/3 IP | 15 ER | 13 H | 74 K | 211 ERA+ [RPWL Regular Season] 54 AB | 14 H | 5 XBH | 125 OPS+ | 15 IP | 13 R | 25 K [Mid Atlantic]
One of the pillars of the RPWL for many years, Pollag put that experience to use in his Mid Atlantic debut last summer. A throwback in the way he relies heavily on a riser, Pollag comes at batters from multiple arm slots as a means of squeezing a little more out of his main offering. Colin had another strong pitching season in RPWL but was only okay in Mid Atlantic. His bat carried over much better, where years of hitting with yellow bats paid off as soon as he got a bigger barrel to swing. This past year at least, Colin was a rare hitter who seemed to play up to his competition. He did just as much damage off pitchers like Connor Young, Chris Sarnowski, and Ray Lutick as he did anyone else. Colin is a true student of the game and showed signs of being a plus defender once he settles into non-running rules.
HRL Rays, Freaky Franchise
Key Stats: 189 PA | 30 HR | 27 BB | 163 OPS+ [HRL]
Flakne skipped the NWLA Tournament this year but suited up with Freaky Franchise at the Fast Plastic Texas Open for a second straight year. While Tyler’s pitching numbers in his home league (the Minnesota based HRL) in 2018 were nothing to write home about, he provided some quality innings while piggybacking with Jimmy Cole in pool play in Texas. As one of the better hitters in HRL, Flakne brought that skill to Texas and had quality at bats all day long, including a home run against Joel DeRoche in pool play.
Key Stats: 83 AB | 20 H | 6 XBH | 102 OPS+ [Palisades Regular Season]
This nine-year Palisades veteran has been nothing if not consistent throughout his career. Maniscalco – a career .265/.364/.476 hitter with only small variation to his numbers season to season – batted .241/.330/.434 in 2018. As the pitching in Palisades improved over the years, Maniscalco remained steady and had a season in 2018 that would make him an excellent third hitter and a very good second hitter on most any team. Joey’s line is fueled by the two triples and four home runs he picked up over 83 regular season AB’s. Although he is ostensibly a hitter only, Maniscalco continued his career long trend of throwing at least a few innings in mop up/emergency pitching duty in 2018.
Key Stats: 14 IP | 7 R | 13 H | 2 BB | 30 K | 254 ERA+ [NWLA Tournament]
Command was key for Ayres at this past year’s NWLA Tournament. The tournament wide walk rate was a staggering 24% – likely a combination of clean balls, a narrow strike zone, and inexperienced pitchers – but Ayres not only bucked that trend, he destroyed it. In 14 innings pitched, Ayres walked only two batters, which was good enough for a 3.5% walk rate. Thanks in large part to a walk rate nearly 1/7th the size of the average pitcher in the tournament field, Ayers allowed only 7 runs while picking up a pair of victories.
At the Fast Plastic Texas Open in October, Flynn was a veritable Rembrandt. With the target strike zone as his canvas, Flynn used every single inch of the four sides of the strike zone against ERL and C4 during a pair of pressure packed Sunday morning games. Whether it was bouncing a pitch off the very top of the zone or perfectly bending a slider to the outside corner, Flynn showed no fear in trying to hit his spots. The result – two runs over twelve innings against a pair of quality hitting teams – speaks for itself. Flynn’s strategy to stay as far away from the middle of the zone as possible led to a few jams – most notably a bases loaded, nobody out situation against ERL – but his ability to escape those predicaments only made his performance that more impressive.
Key Stats: 34 AB | 16 H | 3 2B | 6 HR | 15 BB | 12 K | 175 OPS+ | 12 IP | 8 ER | 7 H | 8 BB | 26 K | 190 ERA+ [NWLA Tournament]
There is at least one well-traveled player of the opinion that Chris Roeder is among the sports’ best kept secrets. Judging by Roeder’s 2018 NWLA numbers, that might very well be correct. Roeder made the NWLA All Tournament team thanks to a .417/.633/1.088 batting line which ranked third best for players who appeared in three or more games and sixth best overall. He had a hit in all eight of his team’s games, including hits off of some of the tournament’s better performing pitchers like Austin Berger, Travis Stronjy, and K-Von. Roeder was also more than a one trick pony. Chris gave Freaky Franchise 12 quality innings where he allowed 8 ER (11 runs overall). Those innings came against quality teams – 3x NWLA champions the WSEM Dads and the AWAA Blue Kamikazes. Roeder is purely a non-scuffed ball pitcher right now but has overcome the biggest hurdle of clean ball pitching by demonstrating the ability to throw the ball over the plate (8 walks in 12 tournament innings).
New School Risers
Key Stats: 27 IP | 11 R | 68 K | 15 BB | 174 ERA+ | 35 AB | 13 H | 3 HR | 165 OPS+ [Mid Atlantic]
One of the best stories of this past year was the New School Risers’ unexpected run at Mid Atlantic’s May tournament. Dave Capobianco – a regular in both Wiffle Up and Fast Plastic during the prior decade as a member of the Old School Risers – came to York in May with his daughter and son as his only teammates to introduce them to the world of competitive wiffleball. Playing with a strained calf, Capobinaco gutted his way through a 2-2 pool play finish, hit a walk off homerun on the Longballs in a play-in game, and then outdueled Blake Hoffman in a 7-inning nail bitter (while also hitting the homerun) to get his team to the finals. Although Dave finally tired in the finals, the lefty’s combo of submarine riser and old school concrete scuffed dropper kept batters off balance all day while his bat took care of much of the rest. Best of all, Dave got to enjoy the day with his two children and watch as both contributed key hits to the Riser’s fantastic run.
Chicken & Wiffles
After six years of consistent excellence in the NWLA Tournament, Chris Harley missed out on the 2018 edition as his Tampa Bay Wiffleball Lightning team sat the year out. Harley traded in Michigan for Tennessee in 2018, playing in the National Wiffle event as a member of Atlanta’s Chicken & Wiffles. Although C&W came up short in the finals of the Tennessee tournament to the all-star Golden Sticks squad, Harley had a strong showing in the title game. For 5 2/3’s innings, Chris shut down the murder’s row of David Wood, Ed Packer, Dave Fisher, Scott Bragg, and Josh Pagano – an impressive accolade on anyone’s resume. Harley - who played and won with Blue Razrs at the 2013 GSWL Fast Pitch Championship Tournament - has proven to be a high level pitcher in any environment.
GAWL Stars, Chicken & Wiffles, Texas Express, Palisades Pirates, Palisades Brewers
Key Stats: 10 IP | 5 ER | 248 ERA+ | 15 K [NWLA Tournament]
You can count on one hand the number of players that logged more miles in 2018 than Tom Gannon did. In addition to playing in a couple of local leagues in New England, Gannon popped up at the NWLA Tournament qualifier in Indianapolis, NWLA Tournament proper in Michigan, National Wiffle in Tennessee, Palisades WBL in New York, and the Fast Plastic Texas Open in Dallas. It was a mixed bag results wise for the light hitting pitcher, with his best performance coming at the NWLA Tournament as a member of the Greater Auburn Wiffleball League Stars. Tom’s other defining outing of this past summer was a 5-inning, one-run performance against the Palisades Cardinals (Norris, D. Wegerzn, Morse, Longiaru) back in June.