Team Free Agency Rankings
Jake Short (left), Quinn Myers (center), Matthew Zuppardi (right)
With two new expansion teams being added in the 2022 season, (Sammy Reazer’s Mustangs and Hudson Borgmeyer’s Riptides), the Como Blitzball league as we know it was bound to take a drastic turn and the ride towards the season was going to be a windy, unpredictable road. Due to the Outlaws and the Bomb Squad being discontinued, this left a plethora of players looking for a new home. With free agency recently wrapping up, teams are almost finished with only just the draft left to go. But before the draft concurs, let’s take a gander at how each team performed in free agency and grade them based on their decision-making.
Crushers, A+: I don’t believe that there was any doubt in anybody’s mind that the Caden Sartain and the Crushers dominated free agency. While yes, many other teams made some valuable acquisitions which we will proceed to later, the Crushers have the rest of the league beat. Caden was able to resign Quinn Meyers despite the ongoing hostility between the two. To emphasize just how impactful Meyers is, let’s look at his 2021 stats: .600 AVG, 5 HRs, 13 RBIs. If there seemed to be any lingering doubt of the impact that this resigning had, those stats put that doubt to rest. Meyers will yet again look to be a crucial piece to the puzzle in a potential championship run. Caden was also able to add pitcher Aidan McDermott. McDermott will finally give this team a much-needed secondary option starter, as well as being a primary relief pitcher. Teams will be forced to face two of the most daunting pitchers in the league, and with McDermott in a good situation now, he is bound to flourish. McDermott nearly had a sub 3.00 ERA, resulting in a 3.08 last season. He is no slouch at the plate either, as he hit .379 from the dish, 3 HRs, and 12 RBIs. Last but not least, Caden signed Connor who will be a trustworthy fourth starter, and the re-signings of Stephen and Nate will give tremendous bench depth.
Mustangs, A: One of the new teams in the league, led by its captain Sammy Reazer, had a spectacular free agency. While there was only one “key” signing, there were two others as well that will add exceptional depth to the squad. The major signing for the club was none other than former bomb Squad captain, Matthew Zuppardi. Due to the discontinuation of the Bomb Squad, Zuppardi was surveying for a new home. His decision ultimately came down to the Badgers and the Mustangs, in which Zuppardi chose to have Reazer as his captain, and some cash in his pocket with a max deal. Zuppardi won’t have to pitch nearly as much and will be able to rake at the plate as always. Last season, Zuppardi hit for a .368 AVG, with 5 HRs, and 16 RBIs. Reazer also added Sam Koske, arguably the most underrated signing during the FA period. Koske hit .636 last season, on top of 3 HRs, and 9 RBIs. That puts three dangerous hitters on the same team, as well as two serviceable pitchers. Lastly, Reazer added Lucas Whitworth, who is sure to be a great energy for the team and potentially take great strides at the plate.
Riptides, A-: Isn’t it crazy that the two new teams within the league had phenomenal free agencies? You better believe it. Led by Hudson Borgmeyer, this team already looks great at the plate and serviceable pitching. The priority for Borgmeyer was to go out and get last year's ROTY, Jake Short. Surprisingly, the steamrollers kicked him out of the door in hopes of higher positions in the draft. Short showed flashes of how significant of a role he could play for any team. Short had one of the lowest ERA’s in the league last season, finishing out at 1.79. Notably, he pitched three scoreless innings in the biggest game of his career in the world series. That indicates what type of player Short is. Like most players, he had some struggles at the plate last seas
on but got exponentially better as the season drew to an end. Short finished with a .300 AVG, 3 HRs, and 10 RBIs. He is sure to make an immediate impact. Proceeding this, Borgmeyer snatched Matt Lukins, another under-the-radar player that many clubs weren’t eyeing. Lukins got injured last season, but prior to that injury, Lukins was hitting .444, with 1 HR, and 4 RBIs. The addition of Dayton Thoma gives the Riptides a solid fourth starter, and Raymond Foster signing on gives sufficient bench depth.
Badgers, B: The reigning world series champions led by last year's CY Young, Reece Clapp, made some adequate acquisitions. Firstly, Clapp added Matthew Griffith to a half-max deal. Griffith will be a solid replacement for Matt Lukins as a hitter and will bring veteran leadership to the team. Last season was yet another great one for the veteran, hitting .393, with 5 HRs, and 10 RBIs. Griffith is primed to be a valuable addition. The Badgers were also able to add Bobby Bryan. Bryan struggled mightily last season at the plate, (granted he was only a rookie) only amassing 1 hit out of 19 attempts, but with a better situation on a better team, Bryan looks to develop as a player. With the Badgers having the 3rd pick in a loaded draft, things are looking up for the squad despite the turnover.
Redbirds, C: It is safe to say that the Redbirds' free agency was underwhelming. The Redbirds only made one signing during the period, although the Redbirds do have plenty of solid draft picks, including the prized first overall pick. Redbirds captain Chandler Sartain was able to fly Issac Schneider over to the squad. Schneider was a rookie last season on the Outlaws who ended up being disenfranchised. Schneider hit .111 last season, but both of his hits were home runs, showing great potential for the future. Schneider pitched fairly well, only accumulating a 3.57 ERA last season. He will be a youngster to keep an eye on.
Steamrollers, D-: The only reason the grade is not any lower is that the Steamrollers have four draft picks, three of which are in the top ten. Not going out and resigning your second-day starting pitcher is most certainly a head-scratching choice. Captain Joey Dimeo is rolling the dice. It could either win him the lottery or put him in excruciating debt.
The 2022 season is bound to be special. With new great things coming to the league, and balance between the teams at an all-time high, you better be getting the popcorn ready...