Best Case, Worst Case: Granger Panthers
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 always-hungry Granger Panthers. 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: 2
Last Season: 17-7 (1st in NL, Lost to Maple City in WS)
Notable Transactions: Added Alex Zarazee (Scottsdale). Added Daivyn Davis (Twin Branch). Added Brandon Campbell (Twin Branch)
Key Player: Seth Campbell OF
On a team with as much depth as Granger, it can sometimes be hard for one specific guy to stand out. It's no wonder then, that Seth Campbell can sometimes get overlooked. Seth boasts one of the best two-way games in the entire league. Defensively, it would be hard to find a more consistent left fielder, as Campbell has won the National League Gold Glove in both of his first two ORWBL seasons. However, it is his offense that has lacked proper attention. With an ORWBL-leading 95 Home Runs over the last two seasons, Seth is one of the premier hitters in the league. Last year Campbell was a workhorse for a Panthers squad who struggled with durability all season. Don't be surprised if Seth Campbell is at the top of MVP ballots in his third ORWBL season.
Despite a slightly worse regular season, Granger took a big step last season in advancing to their first ORWBL world series. Yet, after getting swept by Maple City amid a number of injuries it seems that the Panthers will be as determined as ever heading into their third season. With former Cy Young winner Griffin Smith healthy, Granger rolls out of the gate and takes advantage of some league-wide experience. Austin Williams bounces back from losing a close MVP vote in 2018 and improves upon his stellar numbers. Although losing catcher Tiki Seroczynski to an ACL injury hurts at first, his absence is mitigated by breakout seasons from off-season additions Alex Zarazee and Daivyn Davis. Granger secures the #1 seed in the National League for a third consecutive year and enters the post-season determined to avenge last season's World Series loss. With a starting five proven to be as good as anyone, Granger's 2019 seems like the perfect recipe for their first World Series victory.
There are a few things that could potentially go wrong for Granger in 2019, yet none of them have anything to do with their abilities on the field. The injury-bug has struck the Panthers in the past few seasons, with multiple players missing time. Being conscious of that fact, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them take it easier in the regular season. The Panthers have seemingly prepared for that, adding three versatile players in the off-season. Perhaps the fact that they've proven they can win on any stage could lead to some regular-season boredom, yet even that seems unlikely. Anything less than a top seed in the National League would be a surprise for a franchise that feels they're on the cusp of an ORWBL dynasty.