Best Case, Worst Case: Olive Township Mechanics
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. Today we preview the Olive Township Mechanics, who return to ORWBL following a one year hiatus. We look forward to hearing all about how wrong these previews are, and how your team is being “slept on” this season.
Wiffleball News Preseason Ranking: 8
Last Season (2017): 16-14 (3rd in the NL, lost to New Carlisle in NLCS)
Notable Transactions: Added Garrett Ruiz (South Bend). Added Nate Arndt (Great Lakes). Lost Jasen Webb (Hudson Lake). Lost Bailey Rhed (Lynn Street)
Key Player: Kody Webb OF
A two-time All-Star starter with the Mechanics, the youngest Webb brother had a rough statistical season by his standards in 2018. As a Landshark, Webb batted just 0.443 after batting over 0.500 in each of his first two ORWBL season. Although he struggled at the plate at times, Webb maintained his sure hands in left field which will be much needed if the Mechanics want to battle in the NL East. A return to The Garage should be welcomed from Webb, who has notoriously batted well at home. His defensive should be solid regardless, but for Olive Township to break out they'll need Kody Webb to wake up his bat in 2019.
After a year apart, the Mechanics come into 2019 ready to roll and have a breakout season. With the additions of Nate Arndt and Garrett Ruiz, Olive Township fills their two biggest holes (power and pitching) and it shows on the field. On both sides of the plate the Mechanics figure things out and put together a consistent regular season. A former Cy Young winner, Arndt is able to return to his Jet City form is their workhorse on the bump. With Garrett Ruiz building off a 2018 Muffs season in which he hit over .600 and the team returning to their Coors Field-like home field, the Mechanics finish near the top of the league in runs. Colton Boren breaks through as a reliable hitter and defensive stalwart behind the plate, helping the Mechanics ride a hot start into the playoffs as confident with their starting five as anyone.
Despite relatively strong preseason hype, the Mechanics aren't able to piece it together. Much like 2017 (in which they dropped 7 straight games to end the season ), Olive can't maintain consistence play for the entire season. Amid lineup inconsistencies and struggles from their starters, the Mechanics have a tough time playing away from home as they can't seem to wake up their bats. Although they sport an above-average defense their offense can't get rolling in time to make a difference. In an increasingly tough National League, Olive flounders and find themselves entering the playoffs playing away from home, with major question-marks on both sides of the plate.