Best Case, Worst Case: Hudson Lake Heat
Turn on those team twitter notifications - ORWBL is back. We’re counting down the days until the 2019 season kicks off on May 5th by looking at the floor and ceiling of all 16 teams in the league. We couldn't beat the heat this today as we preview the Hudson Lake Heat. We look forward to hearing all about wrong these previews are, and how your team is being “slept on” this season.
Wiffleball News Preseason Ranking: 6
Last Season: 15-9 (3rd in the AL, Lost to Maple City in the ALCS)
Notable Transactions: None
Key Player: Jared Monhaut OF/P
Despite an injury to former MVP Bobby "Bats" Bushman, the Heat managed to set a franchise record for wins last season. Jared, who has been managing this Heat squad 2014, was a big reason for that. Monhaut has earned a reputation as one of the best players in the league, and rightfully so. A jack of all trades type player, Monhaut has delegated the Heat pitching duties to former White Lightning All-Star Doug Benner in the last two seasons. Expect Monhaut to return to the bump a little more in 2019.
After losing to the Magic one series short of the World Series yet again, Hudson Lake storms into 2019 with high hopes of a breakthrough. In year two of the White Lightning/Heat experiment, the pieces really begin to come together and the Heat roll through the regular season. A rather low preseason ranking for this veteran squad leaves them with plenty of motivation for 2019. With Bushman healthy, the Heat roll out one of the best 5-man lineups in the league. The defense, led by reigning gold-glove winner Jasen Webb and ace Doug Benner, sets the tone from the get-go and the Heat roll into the playoffs with a top seed in the AL and as good of a shot as anyone to bring home a World Series.
Despite a stellar 2018, the Heat find themselves running out of gas in the '19 season. Inconsistent showings from recently graduated starters Doug Benner and Jasen Webb leave the Heat with two major holes in the lineup. Although the floor is relatively high with this team due to their "Big 3" of Monhaut, Bushman, and Ben McDonald, the absences of Benner and Webb cap how far the Heat can go. It's hard to envision this proven squad finishing below .500, although ceding the AL West to the Billy Goats and having to play in the Wild Card game is not out of the question.