Como Blitzball Preseason Rankings
With the 2022 Como Blitzball draft freshly closing, opening day is right around the corner. Teams seem to be balanced like never before and lots of questions are swirling around like an ef5 tornado in the midwest. Fans, players, and even the captains of the respective teams have not the foggiest of ideas of what to expect this upcoming season. As challenging as it may be, it’s always fun to lay down the rosters, take a deep look at each team, and decide where they will finish at the end of the season. Let’s go ahead and try to sift through the perplexing, mind-boggling puzzle that is this league and decide who will come out on top.
This will come as a shock to many, but it’s hard to believe that the riptides will win consistently without solid pitching (which the other five teams have). While it is true that the Riptides are stacked at the plate, having three guys that can consistently put the ball in play, there is plenty of doubt when it comes to pitching. We know for a fact that in this league if you want to go far, you must have a solid rotation, and simply put, the Riptides just don’t have that. Maybe captain, Hudson Borgmeyer, can showcase some pitching ability, and Jake Short can take another leap, but there's still cause for concern. Although Short won the ROTY award and even went on to pitch three scoreless innings in the world series versus one of the best teams in league history, Short can only pitch for two innings… After that, who’s next? Most likely, it will be Josh Bradley. Bradley is no scrub on the mound, but it’s been a while since Bradley has played. The question is, can he return to form? Another big story for this team is the absence of Matt Lukins. Lukins is a proven hitter in this league, so without him, Dayton Thoma, former Steamrollers captain, will be the projected fourth starter. Now returning to the pitching dilemma, Borgmeyer has shown flashes and the only reason he did not pitch for the Badgers was simply because they were too good. So maybe i'm way off, but with not much experience on the mound, it could hurt them. If the Riptides want to string together wins, it’ll have to be in high-scoring affairs. Contemplating the truth that the league is going to have a plethora of excellent pitchers, there is a low possibility that this happens.
This was a tough decision to make, but I believe the Redbirds will improve, but not by much. The Redbirds did acquire Issac Schneider in free agency who showed glimpses last season and also were able to acquire Adam Knudsen and Luke Bradley in the draft. I think that it’s a safe assumption to make that Knudsen will by far be the best pitcher in the league and that for two innings, the Redbirds have free reign to take the lead. So you may be wondering, what is the concern? It’s the same story as the Riptides. Once Knudsen hops off of the mound, who will step up? Luke Bradley is serviceable, but also hittable. Chandler is on when he is on, but oftentimes struggles to find the zone and is very streaky. In all honesty, it’s a good possibility that Chandler won’t pitch much this year, as he is still recovering from numerous shoulder issues. The efficiency on the hill completely relies on how well Luke Bradley can play, as he is projected to be the second pitcher for the Redbirds. Fortunately, this should be a decent hitting team, so we will see how far that can take them. After all, Luke will leave no questions at the plate as he is a proven hitter. Fun fact, he even hit seven home runs in one game. Adding an ace in Knudsen can only make you better after all, and on top of that, he is sufficient at the plate. It is just unfortunate that the league keeps progressing as well.
The Badgers have had a great two-year run, make no mistake. Unfortunately, the losses of Sammy Reazer, Hudson Borgmeyer, and Matt Lukins are bound to see this team take a freefall to the bottom half of the standings. If the captain and 2021 C.Y Young, Reece Clapp, could pitch, we may be having a different discussion. Woefully, Clapp suffered a baseball-related injury and will not be able to pitch this season. The two projected pitchers will include Drew Sappingfield, (3rd selection in the draft) and Jesse Spratt-Plunkett, (6th selection in the draft). Not to mention one of the under-the-radar free-agent signings in Matthew Griffith, which will help make up for the departing losses at the plate. Griffith will bring consistency and veteran leadership. The Badgers will be serviceable on the mound and serviceable at the plate, as they are one of the teams that are not overly reliant in one area. This squad will most likely be a solid, all-around group that should be able to float around .500.
Yes, despite not signing one free agent and getting rid of Jake Short, championship aspirations will still be alive for Dimeo’s squad. The steamrollers will have a crucial tandem in Dimeo and Matt Foster on the mound. (Foster was the 2nd overall pick in the draft.) Kyle Belcher, the 7th pick, will also be able to pitch if need be and he has a knack for putting the ball in play. The Steamrollers bring back only Dimeo, but drafting four players that have the potential to be better than your previous starting lineup, gives you a chance to return to the promised land. Dimeo’s ERA last season was approximately 2.07. With this information, we know that the Steamrollers will have a sufficient starter. Matt Foster displayed eye-popping potential to be one of the elite pitchers within the league for years to come. He also displayed an uncanny ability to hit nukes if he connects with the ball. Seriously, if he gets hold of the ball, you can kiss it goodbye. Due to the pitching alone on this team as well as the improved hitting, it’s not unreasonable to say that Dimeo can lead this squad back to the world series, even if it may be unpopular amongst the majority
With the FA signing of Aidan McDermott and the retention of Quinn Myers, this team just got even better. Captain, Caden Sartain, was able to retain his entire squad and also add a much-needed second arm on the mound. McDermott had a 3.08 ERA last season, along with an impressive 36 strikeouts. McDermott will finally take some pressure off of Sartain’s shoulders and give Caden some much-needed rest. As previously stated, the retention of Quinn Myers is monstrous for this squad. Myers went for a .600 AVG last season, along with 5 HRs, and 13 RBIs. To bring back a guy that produced for you the way he did is crucial. During the offseason, Sartain evaluated what the team needed, did all of those things, and now is putting his team in the best shape it's ever been in.
A new team in the league this season led by captain, Sammy Reazer, is the preseason favorite to win it all. Reazer signed three free agents and drafted a guy that is going to produce heavily for this team. First up, during the free agency period, Reazer was able to go out and get former Bomb Squad captain, Matthew Zuppardi. Zuppardi carried a deficient team last season to the playoffs and produced heavily for them late in the season. Zuppardi hit .368 last season, adding 5 HRs, and 16 RBIs. He had a down year pitching, as he posted a 5.10 ERA, but this is heavily due to Zuppardi having numerous games where he would completely stop trying. Zuppardi has been in the league for a long time and now that he sees himself in a better situation, it’s extremely likely he improves upon these numbers. Reazer was also able to get a steal in Sam Koske, a guy who hit .636 last season on the Bomb Squad and has been one of the most consistent hitters in the league since his arrival. Koske is sure to degrees a bit, but he will still be able to make quite the impact. Lastly, Reazer signed Lucas Whitworth as well. Whitworth is coming into his own and even displayed some pitching ability last season. He won’t be dynamite at the plate,
but he can give another option on the mound and give the team positive energy. In the draft, the Mustangs were able to sign Tyler Davis. It all comes full circle, especially since Davis referred to Reazer as his favorite captain during the combine. Davis plays baseball at Columbia College and having some familiarity will be key to him producing as a rookie. Davis will potentially be the 2nd starter on the hill and be the jelly to Reazer’s peanut butter. If all else fails, Zuppardi can always come on if necessary. With great bats and great pitching, it is straightforward as to why this team are the preseason favorites.
With all being said, it is essentially infeasible to predict where each team will land. As once stated, the league is as balanced as ever and the margin between each team is incredibly slim. This season is sure to bring upsets, frustration, joy, and many memorable moments. Buckle up folks, it’s going to be a chaotic ride to the finish line.