KVKL Rank Play Mega Preview

Listed with predicted pool play record in parentheses

#6 Pool

1. Asteroid Head (4-1)
The only team entering the #6 pool with a win, A-Head is the prohibitive favorite to come out on top.  They tend to have a pretty fluid roster, but when their key players show up and get the majority of at-bats, they can be a tough team. It’s tempting to put them down for a 5-0 record, but reeling off five straight wins can be tough for a team that isn’t accustomed to closing out opponents.  Regardless, they have a fun next five weeks in front of them.

2. Repetition Coffee (4-1)
Repetition is quickly improving, and has a bushel full of talented players on the team who are getting comfortable with the rules and nuances of KVKL.  They didn’t get the GOTW that Jake and Co. were clamoring for, but they should enjoy the #6’s regardless.  I would fully expect them to jump into the #5 pool in 2017 with a year of experience under their belt.

3. Tech Savvy Realtor Nick Lerner’s Homies (3-2)
The Homies have had some better results lately, and an 11-5 loss to Chalmersiz is nothing to hang your head about, so they should be confident heading into pool play.  If they pull out a win against Johnny’s this week they could potentially be 3-0 heading into the doubleheader week against A-head and Repetition, at which point they might just win the whole damn thing.  Shoutout to my former Growlers Rashad and Tony for holding it down on the Homies!

4. Johnny’s Tavern (2-3)
Johnny’s came into the season with big expectations and has fallen flat, failing to score over five runs in any contest thus far this season.  Thetheme in the #6’s is learning how to win, and this team should get a bit of practice in that department.

5. Grandstand Glasskickers (1-4)
Grandstand is going to get a win this year, I can feel it! Their second game of the double header is against Leafy Greens at 8:00 on YSC 5, and that’s going to be the most fun game of the season, hands down.

6. Leafy Greens (1-4)
Leafy Greens are putting in the work, showing up to practices regularly and I really want to see it pay off in the form of a win.  That Grandstand game is going to be a matchup for the ages.

#5 Pool 

1. Brewballers (5-0)
I reffed the Brewballers game this weekend and have to give a huge shoutout to Adrian for his honesty.  Calling yourself out at home in a close game, that’s some damn good sportsmanship <clapping emoji>. The Brewballers hung tough with the Woost in that game, and it might just be recency bias, but if they play the way they did on Sunday they should have no problem sweeping the #5’s.

2. Where’s My Pitches (4-1)
WMP’s had some high hopes at the start of division play but a one run loss to Red Legs in Week 2 derailed their season.  The loss to Jazzhaus was unexpected, but nonetheless, they should get back on track in the #5’s.

3. Screamers (3-2)
I haven’t seen the Screamers play yet this year so I don’t know much about them (except they post dank memes every time they win), but they’ve faced plenty of good competition and have held their own in every game.  GOTW against WMP’s will have big implications for how the #5’s will end up shaking out.

4. Liberty Hall Late Fees (2-3)
The Fee’s lone win was against Leafy Greens by a single run, which isn’t the most inspiring performance, but they kept it tight against the Ghosts and Los Mats so they clearly have potential.  Their veteran savvy ought to net them at least a couple of wins here.

5. Leeway Franks (1-4)
Leeway has yet to break double digits runs scored in a game yet this year, so the offense clearly needs a little work, but the defense hasn’t been too bad. They held Chamlersiz to 10 runs and nearly shutout Nick Lerner’sHomies, so as long as they can play that caliber of defense in the #5’s they won’t go winless.

6. Bad News Bagels (0-5)
The Bagels are going through a major rebuild and they are probably bettersuited for the #6’s, but props to them for getting that win against Repetition.  They’ve been giving up a metric shit ton of runs, and that’s going to have to improve if they want to avoid getting skunked in pool play.

#4 Pool 

1. Pawsh Wash (4-1)
The Filthy Animals are a consistent, veteran KVKL team that plays solid defense and effectively utilizes small ball to get their runners on, over, and in.  The John Brown division was one of the toughest divisions to play in, and Pawsh Wash kept it close against the elite teams they faced.  These guys are looking like at strong contender for the Princess Di plate if they can keep their cool when they face adversity.  The game against  Los Matadores on 8/7 at 6:30 could decide the #4’s.

2.Los Matadores (4-1)
The reigning Princess Di plate winners are again looking to achieve that glory.  Santos, Marcus, and Erin have been the constants on what is a vastly different team than the one they fielded last year, and those three have done a majority of the run scoring for Los Mats, so the formula to beat them is fairly simple, shut them down and make everyone else beat you. Their game against Ladybird this weekend should be a good one, the establishment Matadores vs. the upstart Harpies.

3. Ladybird Harpies (3-2)
Ladybird fell flat against the Goats this week, only mustering four runs late in the game, but that shouldn’t detract from how successful their run through division play was.  Now they enter the #4’s with expectations of finishing at least over .500, and aspirations of winning the pool. I’m excited to see how they do.

4. Corksuckers (2-3)
The Corksuckers have beaten who they were supposed to (Repetition and Bagels) and lost to superior foes (Free State, Red Lyon, and Sword), so they’re exactly who we thought they were preseason. They have good talent (Austin, Clint, Cole) but sometimes it doesn’t seem to come together as well as it should. The top teams in the #4’s need to be wary, Corksuckers can spring an upset at anytime, but they’re just not consistent enough to break into the top half.

5. The Rats (2-3)
The Rats need to get off to a hot start against Jazzhaus this week and get some positive momentum rolling before they take on some of the better teams in the pool.  A GOTW win over Brewballers showed that when they field their full team the Rats can play some good kickball, but it sounds like that doesn’t happen often enough.

6. Jazzhaus (0-5)
Jazzhaus is going to be good, they just need another season of experience.  They have allowed 8 runs per game, which coming from a division that features Das Boot, Red Legs, and Happy Shirt is nothing to hang your head about.  Scoring runs has been a bit of a problem, but they should face some less defensively inclined units in the #4’s.  They lost the tiebreaker lottery because their defense has been so good, and if they were in the #5’s or 6”s they would be favored in plenty of games.

#3 Pool

1. The Salvador Pereziz presents The Mario Chalmersiz (5-0)
They lost one game, on grass, by four runs and ended up in the #3’s.  I still think they were the best team in the Amelia Earhart division, but tiebreakers are in place for a reason. Now they get to score some runs, make sure everyone is healthy, and focus on the tournament.  If they lose a game in this pool it will be a major upset.

2. Das Boot (4-1)
The only team I can see taking down Chalmersiz is Das Boot and they play this weekend, but because of weather/scheduling conflicts this is their first game since 6/26, so I expect them to be a little bit rusty out of the gates.  Boot had some trouble scoring runs against top tier opponents in division play, and Chalmersiz is known for their defense, so scratching some runs across early by any means necessary ought to be a priority.

3. Merchants (2-3)
The #3’s are top heavy, with Chalmersiz and Das Boot clearly ahead of the rest of the pack.  I would anticipate those two to cruise, while the remaining four teams will beat each other up all season long.  It’s the same old story with Merchant’s, solid defense and an offense that is lacking punch, scoring only 6 runs per game, and only breaking double digits against winless Johnny’s Tavern.  That being said, the Princess Di trophy is definitely in play for the MOD squad.

4. Ghosts (2-3)
The Ghosts started the season off on the right foot, pulling out a walkoff over the Fee’s and have kept that positive momentum rolling through division play.  They get to face a Dan-less Woost this week, so they should get off to a good start again.  Princess Di is definitely in play for these Ghosts.

5.Woost (1-4)
“The Woost can mash” – Cougar on every podcast this year.  It’s true, but what he also says is their defense, particularly their defensive alignment can leave you scratching your head.  They move Dan all over the field, including Rover, which doesn’t seem like the best use of his talents.  If they figure out a spot for him and let him make plays, ideally SS or 3B, then they can win a few more games than I’m predicting here.

6.Sacred Sword (1-4)
I have no idea what to make of Sacred Sword.  They got smashed in week one by Free State, kept it close against Red Lyon in week two, and then cruised the rest of the way to the three seed.  Their game this weekend against MOD has the potential to be very low scoring, and whoever wins it controls their fate the finish third or higher in the #3’s.  I’m going with Merchants.

#2 Pool (by far the hardest pool to predict)

1. Hurtz Donut D-Holes (4-1)
The D-Holes are the epitome of a solid KVKL team.  They have veteran players at every spot in the lineup, they know what to do when runners get on, and they make you string together base hits to score runs. They won’t give you an inch.  Their lone loss was to Channel 6 by a measly two runs, so they’re clearly an elite team in the league.  They have championship aspirations, and winning the #2’s will help them secure a high enough seed to avoid the top teams, at least through the first weekend.

2. Love Garden Squids (4-1)
The Squids didn’t play their best on Sunday vs. KTC, making a few uncharacteristic mistakes on defense, and against a team like Tree Care that will absolutely kill you.  All that aside, Love Garden feels like they should be recognized as a top five team in the league, and they’ll need to win this division for that to become a reality.  D-Holes vs Squids, 7/31 at 7:00, that’s must see kickball folks.

3. Goats (3-2)
The Goats were a 1-0 loss away from the #1 pool, and while that reality stings, they’ve got to be happy to be back into the top 10 in the league after some slippage in recent years.  With Shaher setting the tone at the top of the lineup they’ve regained a bit of their swagger, and the D has been tight, allowing only 3.5 runs per game.  If they can sneak by Love Garden this week, they have to feel good about their chances of finishing top two in the #2’s.

4. Red Lyon (2-3)
Lyon is hurting right now, with both Todd and Chris N. nursing fairly serious injuries.  However, this is the same Red Lyon team that has been to back-to-back championship games, so count them out at your own peril.  Shoutout to Sara W for the hero throw to get Mookie on the foot rounding third last week, that was pretty damn impressive.

5. Red Legs (1-4)
Predicting a team this good to go 1-4 just feels wrong, but that’s why the #2’s are going to be so much fun, good teams have to lose games.  Red Legs, though made up of talented veteran players, is still learning how to play with one another.  Next season I fully expect them to break into the #1’s, but they’re going to take some lumps in 2015.

6. Rockets (1-4)
The doubleheader gods were not kind to the Rockets, playing D-Holes and Squids back to back sounds like a long and frustrating day of kickball, but they do get a GOTW against Red Legs on 7/31 so don’t feel too bad for them.  The Rockets handled everyone they were supposed to handle in division play, but the 19-2 loss to Widman shows that they’re not quite ready for prime time.

#1 Pool

1. Happy Shirt (5-0)
They haven’t lost in the regular season since 2012, and the additions of Chris Ford and Joel Kelly over the last two seasons have kept Happy Shirt humming right along.  Yes, five games in the #1 pool is a tough slog, but these kickball savants will find their way to yet another undefeated record.  They get everyone’s best shot every week and still figure out a way to get it done.  Incredibly impressive stuff.

2. Wildman (4-1)
Wildman continues their march towards one of the most statistically impressive seasons in KVKL history, having won every game by double digits thus far.  Their doubleheader week is no joke, playing Happy Shirt and Channel 6.  They’ll need to sweep that day to win the #1’s, and that’s too tall of a task, even for a great team like Wildman.

3. Channel 6 (3-2)
The rise of Channel 6 was put on hold last season due to a technicality, and you just get the sense they’ve been chomping at the bit to play these teams in the #1’s again since the day the board disqualified them in 2015.  They’ve been on cruise control for the most of the first half of the season, but obviously things pick up big time from here on out.  Happy Shirt vs. Channel 6 at 7:00, 7/31 from Hobbs Park has the potential to be the game of the year.

4. Kansas Tree Care (2-3)
KTC played well last week against Love Garden at Hobbs, falling behind early before showing off their superior athleticism and winning going away.  Some less than inspiring scores against lower tier teams early in the season were concerning, but they seem to have righted the ship just in time.  Their doubleheader day is best case scenario, facing Free State and Muddy Waters, KTC just needs to make sure and win a game or two (or three!) before that day to ensure a top three seed in the tournament.

5. Free State Growlers (1-4)
Free State is coming off one of their biggest wins (maybe the biggest?) in team history, besting long time nemesis Red Lyon to get into the #1’s.  Their reward? Facing the four consensus best teams in the league in a four week stretch, including a doubleheader against KTC and Happy Shirt.  Ouch.  The game to watch here is 7/31 vs. Muddy Waters, the winner of that probably assures themselves a top 5 seed in the playoffs.  Free State is playing well and has a solid core of KVKL veterans, so they’re apt to keep it close against the top four teams.

6. Muddy Waters (0-5)
Muddy Waters won the tiebreaker in the Amelia Earhart division on the strength of their rock solid defense, and they’re going to have to bring that level of intensity to every game in the #1’s. The offense broke out last week, scoring 15 runs, and if they can translate some of that run scoring ability to their next five games, then this prediction could end up looking awful.