And then there were none. After two quick weeks of play, no Palisades Wiffle Ball League team is unbeaten, and no team is winless. There's a 3-way tie for first, a 3-way tie for last, and a 5-way tie for everything in between. Should make for a pretty clear-cut power rankings this week, no?
11. Royals (1-3)
No PWBL team is currently playing bad wiffle ball, but one team had to be ranked last. The Royals currently boast the league’s best team ERA at 1.15, but they also sport the league’s worst batting average of .085. While pitching is paramount in the Palisades, hitting can not be overlooked. They pitched great against the Dodgers but lost. Pitched great against the Brewers and Pirates but split. See the trend? If the Royals can get the bats going, the playoffs are waiting for them. If they have to rely on the young arms of Oliver Avallone and Vin Lea to get them in, inexperience is bound to rear its ugly head.
10. Pirates (1-3)
The Pirates opened the season with a win and a tough 1-0 loss against the defending champions. Week two was much different as they lost to two previously winless teams who are both among my bottom three in this article. Dakota looks fresh enough on the carpet, but how long will that last? If they can get Caufield to throw some games and help lighten the load on Mike Weiner, this team, like any other, can sneak right into the playoffs. Consistency is key though, and so far in this young season, consistency has eluded the Pirates
9. Brewers (2-2)
Though they’re in the middle of the pack when it comes to their win-loss record, the Brewers haven’t shown me enough for me to rank them much higher at this point. Connor Young debuted last week showing great promise. In 6 innings over 2 games, he’s racked up both of the Brewers’ wins, 11.67 strikeouts per 5, and only given up 1 run. Aside from him, though, the Brewers pitching staff looks lost. In 13 innings, the combination of Gannon and Petrone have given up 16 walks and 19 runs. Their wins came at the hands of two 1-3 teams, which is why I still have them ranked at #10. The Brewers’ hitting seems like it may have to carry them, and it will be put to the test next week against one of the best pitching teams in the league.
8. Expos (1-3)
The Expos are a tough team to analyze. That’s mainly because they have two different teams that might show up any given Sunday. If they have Ty Wegerzn, Phil Fresiello, and Kenny Rodgers, they’re a team that can comfortably make the playoffs, but if they’re missing any one of them, it’s an entirely different lineup. Wegerzn followed up on his 2017 performance with a 1-hit, 13-strikeout showing in his first game of 2018, leaving no doubt as to who will be carrying the load for them on the carpet this season. Hopefully for the Expos he can keep up his thunderous pace, because if teams start getting to him, it could be a long season.
7. White Sox (2-2)
Another tough team to analyze is this White Sox squad. In Week 1 we saw rough performances all around, but none were as rough as Greg Tyler’s showing on the carpet in Game 2. I think it’s safe to say that he won’t give up 23 runs every game, but it’s not as safe to say that he can lead this team to the playoffs. Dan Whitener, on the other hand, has shown in his brief time in the league that he can lead a team to the playoffs. The offense is solid for this team; even their players who were minor leaguers last season have been producing. The White Sox are a dangerous team, and they’re my sleeper pick to cause a stir in the playoffs, but right now I can’t justify a higher ranking than this.
6. Cardinals (2-2)
Any team that beats the Dodgers automatically gets a boost in my power rankings. But in all seriousness, the Cardinals’ win over the Dodgers was impressive. To come out and score right away against Johnny Costa is something not a lot of teams have been able to do, and to come back against him in the late stages of the game is something even more rare. The Cardinals seem to have four capable pitchers, and if they use them correctly, they could be the difference between a playoff push this year and last year’s 10th place finish. They need to limit the losses to teams below them in the standings, and squeak out a few wins against teams higher than them, and so far they’ve done just that.
5. Mariners (2-2)
The beginning of the season is tough on a lot of teams, but the best teams weather the storm and do what they’re supposed to do: win. The Mariners beat the Brewers twice, even though the Brewers apparently own a lot of real estate in Scott’s brain, but they went on to lose twice to the Padres the following week. The championship-caliber Mariners teams of the past wouldn’t have let that happen. Brian DiNapoli finally allowed a run in the regular season, and I would be shocked if that was the only one. Istorico struggled to find the zone at times, which is the reason he loses 99% of the games he loses. Everyone on this team is a threat at the plate, but it seems like they’re missing that “it” factor they always had. Next week they’ll have to win both games against the Cardinals and White Sox to quell any doubt that they’re the great team we know them as. A split or worse would certainly raise some questions about whether or not the Mariners are for real.
4. Giants (2-2)
The defending world champs are right where they want to be. We all saw their path to the title last year, and it looked a lot like what they’re doing right now. Ryan will keep winning games on the carpet, and each member of this team will pitch in at the plate. If/when Bush shows up they’ll have one of the toughest pitching combinations in the league. All they have to do is stay afloat until crunch time, at which point they have the experience, attitude, and talent to repeat. A 2-2 record isn’t much to worry about, but when you look at the team behind it, it gets a bit more scary.
3. Diamondbacks (3-1)
The D-Backs haven’t been a powerhouse lineup or pitching staff since 2016, but that hasn’t stopped them from winning. Timeliness is the name of the game for this team, and Devin Torres’s shutout win against the White Sox after being no-hit was as timely as it gets. His brother’s first outing on the carpet this season looked a lot like a first outing: plenty of hits and two home runs allowed. If the Diamondbacks want to prevent what happened last year with Devin not being able to pitch in the championship, Garret is going to have to step it up, and this team will have to find another answer on the carpet for when he doesn’t have it. If they keep up with their usual timeliness, they’ll be fine, but if things stop going their way, this could be an interesting season.
2. Dodgers (3-1)
We are all well aware of what the Dodgers are capable of. It’s tough to decide whether their lineup or their pitching staff is scarier, but it’s safe to say that both are strengths of this team. I don’t think anyone would have bet that there would be 18 pitchers with a better ERA than Johnny Costa after two weeks, but that’s what the Dodgers are working with. I’m betting that he’ll lower his 2.73 ERA by at least one full point by season’s end, but his game against the Cardinals proved that no team has it easy this season. On the bright side, both Costa and Wiffman look like they’re in midseason form at the plate, and once Trenary and Muschinsky settle in, the Dodgers should be able to provide enough run support to win even the games that their pitchers don’t have their best stuff.
1. Padres (3-1)
Kyle’s choice of uniforms this year was worse than the Chargers choosing Ryan Leaf with the second pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. His choice of battery mate Jordan Robles, on the other hand, was right up there with the Patriots choosing Tom Brady with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Jordan might not be as celebrated as Brady, but he brings just as much to his team. It seems like he gets better both at the plate and on the carpet every year, and Kyle is of the same mold. With Sean Ryan providing much of the offense so far this season, this team is getting contributions all around, and they’ve been doing it for a while. Expect the Padres to go deep into the postseason again this year, and don’t be surprised if they go farther than they’ve gone in the past.