Best Case, Worst Case: Saugany Lake Landsharks
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 new-look Saugany Lake Landsharks. 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: 7
Last Season: 15-9 (2nd in the NL, Lost to Twin Branch in NLCS)
Notable Transactions: Added the Muffs (Austin Rieff, Antony Rieff, Erick Mentock). Added Jake Lawrence (Rolling Prairie). Lost Kody Webb, Colton Boren (Olive Township). Lost Kadin Abegg (Twin Branch).
Key Player: Jake Lawrence OF/P
After dragging Emery's Army through the 2018 season, Jake Lawrence officially retired the franchise this off-season. Unlike the historic franchise, Law will be returning to ORWBL action in 2019, albeit with a different team. The former Cy Young winner will be entering his tenth season of league play this year and his decision to join the Landsharks was a great addition for manager Levi Miller. Lawrence will be a major help in the field specifically, as Saugany Lake will be looking to fill their left fielder position. The savvy vet is one of the most proven and established players in the entire league and it will be interesting to see how he fits in with a strong Landsharks team.
Despite losing a trio of young players in free agency, the Sharks are able to replace their productive thanks to their cast of veterans. Law and the defensive-minded Muffs fit in perfectly with a Landsharks team who formed their identity on that side of the plate. Ace Mikey Smith is able to build off his strong 2018 and once again finish near the top of the Cy Young voting. Strong seasons from former World Series champs Austin and Anthony Rieff give Saugany Lake plenty of options to choose from come playoff time. Manager Levi Miller continues to hit at an All-Star level, and the Sharks find themselves right in the mix for a top seed in the National League. With plenty of wiffleball experience on this roster, the sky's the limit for this mix-match of ORWBL characters.
Although expectations are high, the Sharks just can't get the new pieces to fit together. Their main issues tend to come defensively, as losing last season's left field really hinder Saugany Lake's ability to consistently field. Offensively, Saugany Lake continues to call on multiple contributions to get the job done, but the depth from last season just isn't there. Inconsistent availability from their off-season signings leave Levi Miller with a different lineup every week and the Sharks can't seem to get anything going. With all of the experience on this team comes a relatively high floor. Yet, in a tough National League, it could be easy for the Landsharks to fall off a bit from last season's great run.