>With less than 20 games left in the season, it seems like a perfect time for at Top 10/Bottom 5 update!
1. Anaheim Natural Disasters (94-53) – AL West
Still the team to beat in the AL, despite holding the #2 seed at the moment. Anaheim boasts the best pitching in the AL, a top 10 offense, and a top 5 D. SS Tony Wanatabe (.322/48HR/135RBI) is somehow not on the MVP list; SP Felipe Redondo (18-5, 2.95 ERA) and SP Harry Pena (15-7, 3.42 ERA) are Cy Young finalists, and young RP Jude Lindsey is in the running for the ROY award. The most well rounded team in the AL is poised for a deep playoff run.
2. San Antonio Missions (Viva the Puffy Taco) (94-53) – NL South
The Missions might not be as flashy as Honolulu or Sacramento, but they are currently the best team in the NL. They lead the majors in ERA and team defense, and have a solid if unspectacular offense; led by MVP candidate 1B Milt Brock (.322/36HR/110RBI). The pitching staff is anchored by Mark McNamara (17-5, 3.10 ERA) and Marvin Turner (17-5, 3.65 ERA), with top notch closer Arthur Donnels there to close the door when handed a lead. The team is on a 9-1 run, giving them great moment rolling into the postseason.
3. Fargo Roughriders (98-49) – AL North
More of the same ol’ same ol’ from Fargo, with a slight twist this season. The offense is again leading the majors in runs, and the defense is serviceable, but it’s the top 5 pitching staff that has lead the team to the best record in the league. SP Felipe Matos (20-4, 3.00 ERA) is enjoying arguably his finest season, while rookie Juan Goya (19-6, 3.56 ERA) and innings eater Luis Melendez (17-11, 3.90 ERA) give Fargo 3 of the 5 AL Cy Young candidates. The reason this squad is behind Anaheim and SA is simple, their 3/4 hitters (Mac Grey and Rudy Simms) are both on the DL, as is staring SS Bart Fiore. Fargo still has a solid team, but replacing 97 HR and 286 RBI is no easy task.
4. Sacramento Terrible Two’s (89-58) – NL West
The Two’s are perennial playoff contenders, and this year is no exception. Led by a top notch pitching staff and a rock solid defense that more than makes up for a slightly above average offense, this team is built for the postseason. Veteran SP’s Albert Boone (19-7, 3.24 ERA) and Fausto Bennett (16-4, 2.33 ERA) lead a deep and talented pitching staff, while CF Otis Pavlov (.295/40HR/107RBI) and ROY candidate Kris Ramirez help key the offense. Mr. X once again has this team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs, if the offense can contribute.
5. Chicago Beast (90-57) – NL North
The Beast have run away with the NL North, largely on the strength of the NL’s best offense. The team pitching is just OK, and the D is below average, but with bats like this, who needs anything else? Stud OF B.C. Parent (.329/63HR/157RBI) is mauling NL pitching, and 3B Steve Wilson (.297/38HR/116RBI) is playing a very impressive Robin to Parent’s Batman. This team will score runs on anyone in the postseason, it remains to be seen whether they can get enough pitching to be a factor in the playoffs.
6. Honolulu Anteaters (85-62) – NL West
The Anteaters are the antithesis of the Beast, their offense and defense are average at best, but their pitching is top notch, and they have used it to give Sacramento all they can handle in the NL West. This team is more dependent on a single player than any other team in the league; good thing that player is NABCL royalty. Lenny Singleton (20-9, 2.37 ERA) is producing his usual Cy Young worth season, and he makes this a team no one wants to see in the playoffs. If LF Derrick Stanley (.318/45HR/114RBI) can manage to bring the offense along for the ride, Honolulu has a very good chance to make a return trip to the World Series this season.
7. Richmond Poor Men (88-59) – AL South
Richmond is basically Chicago Lite, a top notch offense carrying below average pitching and defense. Closer Dan Powell (26/28 SV, 3.43 ERA) is doing a solid job finishing games for the team, but it’s MVP candidates 1B John Barkley (.301/46HR/136RBI) and 2B Bing Simms (.354/28HR/159RBI) that have put this team in a position to claim the AL South crown. It remains to be seen if they will be enough to push Richmond to the division title.
8. Iowa City Shuckers (85-62) – AL South
It stands to reason that the team chasing Richmond in the standings is right behind them in the top 10, too. Iowa City is a virtual mirror image of Richmond, with a slightly worse offense offsetting a slight better pitching staff. CF Rickey Valdes (.317/27HR/80RBI) and C Damaso Montana (.306/21HR/72RBI) give the Shuckers top notch bats at two premium positions, and closer Rip Christenson (36 SV, 2.47 ERA) are keeping this team in the division hunt, and currently leading the AL Wild Card race.
9. Wichita ‘weed (81-66) — NL East
Top 10 pitching and defense have the ‘weed on the cusp of the franchise’s first division title, despite their current 5 game losing streak. The somewhat unconventional pitching staff is lead by Zephyr Johnson (14-7, 2.61 ERA, 17 SV), Derrick McPherson (15-3, 4.08 ERA, 4 SV) and Joe Rhodes (15-4, 2.60 ERA); while young SS Tony Trinidad (.292/22HR/78RBI/27SB) leads the offense. The ‘weed will need to hold off Charlotte to claim the division title, but if they can, they could surprise come playoff time.
10. tie- New Britain Blockheads (82-65) – AL North and Jacksonville Jackals (82-65) AL South
It is only fitting that these two teams share the final spot in the top 10, as both seem to be doing their best to NOT grab the final WC spot in the AL. New Britain was nipping at Fargo’s heels only 2 weeks ago, but after a crippling 13 game losing streak, they now find themselves in a tie for the aforementioned WC spot. As for the defending WS champs, they are 3-7 in their past 10, and are “riding” a 4 game losing skid. Either team can spring an upset if it can get to the postseason, and there is still a chance that the both can get in (knocking Iowa out of the playoffs), but they will need to right the ship quickly to claim their postseason berth.
On the Cusp: Charlotte Queen’s Men, Trenton Thrashers, Philadelphia Dead Milkmen, Seattle Salty Dogs, Los Angeles Robins
Bottom 5 (Cliff Note’s Version)
28. Washington D.C. Federals (62-85) – AL East
29. San Diego Storm (54-93) – AL West
30. Las Vegas Dust Devils (54-93) – NL West
31. Salem Gangbangers (54-93) – AL West
32. Boston Colonials (56-91) – AL East