Despite orwbl.com being dormant since August, a lot happened in our wiffle world over the last 9 months. Let's recap. Here is every announced transaction for the upcoming season, team-by-team along with some thoughts about the moves.
Maple City Magic
+ Another ring.
+ Motivation from the haters.
+ Alex "Big Al" Freedman from IR.
- OF Ryan Murphy back to EA.
- C Eric Johnson back to EA.
I’m not sure if you'd heard, but the Magic 3-peated. Another year, another Cinderella-story championship run for mainstream media’s darling Maple City. Fake News ORWBL.com will surely be pushing for another Magic championship ring, but the third rendition of Emery’s Army took a little away from the Magic’s depth. Maple City is still damn good and the loss of Murph and EJ will hurt less thanks to the plethora of fast-pitch talent from other leagues Al will have to choose from. Any team with Caleb, Drew, and Shane will be near the top of the standings. The lack of depth is somewhat concerning, however, word on the street is Al might actually play this year? 2020 is nuts man.
Twin Branch Billy Goats
+ New field.
- LF Connor VanOverberghe to the Newts.
- P Kadin Abegg to the Kings.
While losing VanO and Abegg may seem to hurt on paper, Twin Branch has shown the ability to compete in major tournaments without those two in the past (most notably in their 2018 Hometown Cup Finals run). Young bucks Peyton Doran and Riley Smith will be asked to pick up some of the slack, but by no means should the 'Goats be written off. Their core four of Doran, Oletti, Frankie, and Keigan will be enough to carry whoever their eventual 5th guy is if needed. In normal circumstances, their reliance on four guys would be worrisome, however those four have missed a combined 1 game in the last two ORWBL seasons. They're about as reliable as it gets. Let's just hope Oletti doesn't overheat in that hoodie.
+ OF Anthony Rieff from the Landsharks/Muffs.
+ OF Austin Rieff from the Landsharks/Muffs.
So... that was weird. Look, it makes sense. The Grannys guys are (about?) the same age as the Muffs and both squads have become name-stays in the tournament community. But I won't lie, seeing them team up is odd. It is a great fit, don't get me wrong. Everyone knows Grannys is good. That isn't what's held them back in ORWBL play. They're just inconsistent in the regular season. For that reason, the Rieffs are sort of a perfect fit. They're consistent, good, and like to drink... pretty much exactly what Granny's needs. The more I type, the more I like Granny's Muffs. Great pick-ups.
County Line Kings
+ LF Kody Webb from the Mechanics.
+ C Colton Boren from the Mechanics.
+ P Kadin Abegg from the Goats.
(This is going to be incredibly biased, bite me). This just feels right. When the Mechanics dropped out of ORWBL, Webb and Boren seemed like natural fits to be Kings. Boren has played with the Kings extensively in the past, and Webb has stuck to Boren like glue in ORWBL play. Abegg leaving the 'Goats for the Kings was icing on the cake. The trio have played together in the past (on a 2018 Landsharks team that was a two seed in the playoffs) and have obvious chemistry. Their style of play fits exactly the type of athletic, defensive team Forrester is trying to build on County Line. Really great signings which have the potential to be the biggest difference-maker out of all off-season transactions.
Hudson Lake Heat
- LF Jasen Webb to California
The Heat have seldom been a team to make major moves, as their team is respectably made up of their group of boys. After adding Bailey Rhed at the trade deadline, the Heat finally seem to have the five guys they've always been destined to have. Losing Webb definitely hurts, as he is the best defensive player in the league. Rhed can replace some of Webb's prowess in the field, but until they sort out the outfield they'll need to rely on their big sticks to carry them.
+ OF Tyler Shupert from the Mechanics.
+ P Nate Arndt from the Mechanics.
+ OF Zach Christy from the Goon Squad.
The Cyclones solidified their supporting cast around reigning MVP Mark Richards in the off-season, adding three players with very different backgrounds. Arndt has been around the game his whole life. A streaky hitter with a huge bat, a change of scenery might be exactly what this vet needed to unlock his full potential. Shupert joins his third team in less than a year after finishing his career year with the Mechanics following the trade deadline. The 2019 All-Star game MVP really made a name for himself last season and likely has the ability to go up a level with more experience. Finally, Christy is raw but has some pop in his bat. The former Goon Squad member surprisingly jumped ship after his rookie season and will add some youth and athleticism to an older-than-you-think FlatRock team.
Bourissa Hills Wildcards
+ Another box of fireball shooters
First off, Mo Burke is just a hell of a guy. I feel like that needs to be said every time the Wildcards are brought up. Great dude. Anyway, the Wildcards didn't really announce anything this off-season. They talked a little shit on twitter. I think Rehlander got married. Another one of them had a kid. Other than that, same old Wildcards. Always dangerous, always taken for granted, 2020 will probably go a lot like the previous X amount of Wildcard seasons. As far as the mini fireballs go, tell Mason to save me one. This media corporation will happily be bribed into positive coverage.