Last weekend, I played kickball in St. Louis, so this iteration of the sight-unseen power ranking is extra authentic. Here’s my take on where teams stand after week 3.
- Kansas Tree Care (3-0)
Kansas Tree Care now has the best two wins of the season, 6-2 over Harbour Lights and 9-8 over Post Haus. Not much else to say about the undisputed champion of Kaw Valley.
- Harbour Lights (2-1)
A quality win against a top-10 Honey Badgers squad keeps Harbour safely in the #2 spot.
- Love Garden (3-0)
Love Garden handled business against Red Legs without allowing more than one run in any inning and hangs on to the #3 spot in this week’s ranking. With no more games between Kansas Tree Care, Harbour, and Post Haus remaining on the schedule but all three teams playing against Love Garden in the next four weeks, Love Garden now finds themselves in an interesting position as the barometer for which the other top 4 teams will be measured. Here’s how I see the short-term implications. If Love Garden beats Harbour this week, then they will be a clear-cut #2 in next week’s ranking with Harbour falling to #4. If Love Garden loses, they’ll likely fall to #4 on the strength of Post Haus’ showing this week against Kansas Tree Care.
- Post Haus (2-1)
Post Haus made a legitimate case for the #2 spot on the power ranking with a great showing and ultimately 1 run loss to Kansas Tree Care this week, compared to #2 Harbour’s 4-run loss in week 1. However, having lost their most recent matchups against both Harbour and Love Garden, I can’t quite bring myself to jump Post Haus over both teams after a loss (even if it is as quality of a loss as you can get in the KVKL… even with Simon blasting out of the park grand slams.) It is close though.
- Harpies (2-1)
Harpies proved they are still one of the KVKL elite teams, and, importantly, showed they can clamp down on defense in their 11-3 win over Johnny’s. Harpies still have games against Kansas Tree Care and Harbour Lights on the schedule, which are looking much less like foregone conclusions after this result. Harpies can really cause rankings to go haywire if they can find a way to knock off Kansas Tree Care this week. Good luck, kids!
- Shirt Factory (3-0)
I have Shirt Factory jumping JWE and into the #6 spot in this week’s power ranking. I’m just slightly more impressed with Shirt Factory’s results thus far in the season, highlighted by dropping 17 runs on a Dropstoppers team that had only given up 2 runs through two weeks of the season. It also points to a dramatic improvement for Shirt Factory, who only managed a 4-3 escape vs. Drop Stoppers last year.
- JWE (3-0)
Another week, another big win for JWE. It’s hard to know what to make of the fact that they allowed 6 runs against Kicking Assets and 5 runs against Woost and just how seriously they were playing in these games while way out in front. Regardless, they’ll need to go into another gear now as their season starts in earnest. JWE has Johnny’s, Harbour, Red Lyon, and Post Haus as their next four games.
- Honey Badgers (2-1)
There is no shame in losing to Harbour Lights, who seems to be taking on Kansas Tree Care’s annoying trait of never dropping games to lesser competition. I thought it might have been closer than 9 runs, but, on the plus side, scoring 6 on Harbour’s elite defense speaks highly of Honey Badgers’ offensive capabilities.
- Red Legs (1-2)
The new scheduling system (so far, so good!) is going to do some weird things to the power ranking. This is an odd case. Red Legs are 1-2, with their only win coming in a close game against Home Loans, and the jury is still out on how good Home Loans is. However, Red Legs lost to Love Garden and JWE by a combined 8 runs, showing they can hang with good teams. With Post Haus and Kansas Tree Care as Red Legs’ next two opponents, a couple more reasonably close losses could justifiably see Red Legs staying in the top 10 at a 1-4 record. Is that crazy?
- Red Lyon (2-1)
Red Lyon posted their best result of the season with a 10-5 win over Free State. With Shirt Factory, Harpies, and JWE coming up next, Red Lyon will have three shots at a statement win and move higher in these rankings.
- D-Holes (2-1)
It’s good to see D-Holes putting up some runs! D-Holes jump up a few spots this week off the strength of this offensive showing and losses from a few teams ahead of them. Also, D-Holes’ results against Shirt Factory and Bald Beavers look better as those teams continue to win.
- Johnny’s (1-2)
Johnny’s 7-5 win over Harpies in pool play last year feels like a long time ago now, having lost their last two meetings by 7 and 8 runs respectively. This is still a talented team with earned experience in high-level KVKL games that may give them an edge against teams below them in these rankings, but so far in 2022, they aren’t clicking at all.
- Brew Tang (2-1)
After a decisive 11-5 upset victory over XXXoxo, Brew Tang finds themselves on the cusp of the top 3rd of the league. Perhaps the upset isn’t that surprising, rank 17 over rank 15 per last week’s standings, but it still feels big. This is both because of the decisive 6-run margin and because a new team finding this level of success this early into their KVKL existence is rare and exciting, even if Johnny’s and Red Legs are both recent exceptions to this rule.
- Free State (2-1)
Free State falls 10-5 to Red Lyon and drops a spot in the rankings. Not the worst result, but not one that points to Free State taking big strides forward as a team this year. They have Jazzhaus next week in what should be one of the best games in the week as both teams look to bounce back.
- Corksuckers (2-1)
The biggest risers in this week’s ranking are the Corksuckers. Moving up 7 spots this week, clearly, I had them too low all the way down at 22 last week (sorry). Holding Jazzhaus with the speed that they have to 1-run in Corksuckers 5-1 win is honestly amazing. Without seeing the game, I have to assume that Corksuckers are defending the bunt at a high level, and stopping the bunt is a great way to stay in and win games in this league.
- KBC Tropics (2-1)
KBC Tropics get bumped up a spot in this week’s ranking, which has more to do with Jazzhaus and Dropstoppers falling than it does to beating Empire and allowing 9 runs. Because KBC Tropics’ schedule doesn’t afford them the opportunity to play against any more of the top tier teams, they will need to make a statement in their next two games against the Corksuckers and Home Loans to show that they deserve to be seeded in the top-16 come tournament time.
- XXXoxo (1-2)
XXXoxo is the hardest team to rank this week. I flirted with dropping them as low 20 in this ranking, but ultimately decided to give this team the benefit of the doubt. While they are 1-2 on the season, XXXoxo has one great result in the 22-4 blowout over Bunt N Grind, one decent result in the 1-run loss to Free State, and one not-so-great result this week against Brew Tang. At the end of the day, I think I still pick XXXoxo to beat any of the teams below them in the ranking and probably a couple ahead of them.
- 23rd St. (2-1)
Another week, another 23rd St. offensive explosion? I’m still looking a little sideways at giving up 13 runs to Kicking Assets in week one, but I’m starting to believe in the offense. I don’t think 23rd St. is in a position that they’ll look past any game on their schedule, but assuming they win decisively against Ghosts this week, then their week 5 tilt with Freestate will have a lot riding on it and approaching pick ‘em territory.
- Dropstoppers (2-1)
Dropstoppers falls a couple spots after getting smacked by Lawrence Shirt Factory 17-1. I’m reading into this result that LSF is much better than they were the last time the two teams met, not that Dropstoppers are much worse. Also, LSF may have had this one circled on their schedule as to make a point of avenging their near loss in 2021. (Can you avenge a win? If you can, then LSF is probably the team to do it.)
- Jazzhaus (2-1)
Oof. Rick’s Jazzhaus squad tumbles eight spots down the ranking after the 1-5 loss to Corksuckers. I believe Rick when he says Corksuckers played error-free ball, but that doesn’t fully explain the offensive disappearing act. A team with Jazzhaus’ athleticism should be able to manufacture runs on anyone with a few well-placed bunts and a sac fly. Jazzhaus’ ranking wasn’t helped either by the fact that Asteroid Head got shut out 11-0 by Bunt N Grind, taking the shine off of the GOTW win a bit.
- Home Loans (2-1)
Home Loans drops one spot this week despite the 16-14 win over Sacred Sword, getting jumped by Corksuckers. A more decisive win against Sword might have kept Jazzhaus’ slide going, but as it is, a 2-run win over Sword isn’t earning a tremendous amount of confidence. It was great hearing Home Loans get some love on the podcast last week, and it’s clear that they have earned some believers with their play thus far. I’m not 100% in on them yet, but a win against KBC Tropics next week will go a long way towards convincing me and the rest of the league that Home Loans are for real.
- Bunt N Grind (2-1)
Bunt N Grind is up two places after their shutout win 9-0 over Asteroid Head. A shutout is always impressive, and Asteroid Head is no slouch on the offensive end. A quick record check shows that it is the first time Asteroid Head has been shut down in at least 3 years, and probably longer. (Records only go back to 2019 on the KVKL website.) I still have Bunt N Grind towards the bottom of the 2-1 teams, but a win this week vs. Dropstoppers will have me reevaluating that.
- Bald Beavers (2-1)
Bald Beavers starting 2-1 is one of the most surprising developments of the season so far. They followed up their close-ish loss to D-Holes by jumping out to a big lead early against Late Fees and then maintaining it the rest of the game. Wins over Late Fees and Empire aren’t the most impressive wins, but all you can do is win the games in front of you. With Reading Rockets, Sacred Sword, Home Loans, and Schoonies coming up next, is it possible that Bald Beavers could get out to a 6-1 start in their return season? Yes. It’s possible. Is it probable? I’m still leaning no.
- Ghosts (2-1)
These Ghosts believe in themselves. Say what you will about Katie’s 8-2 podcast prediction for the Ghosts, but so far they have found a way to win both games they were expected to win, albeit by one run each against teams that will appear towards the bottom of this week’s ranking. Despite these results not inspiring a lot of confidence, if the Ghosts do find a way to beat the red hot 23rd St. this week, the 8-2 prediction will very much still be in play.
- Woost (1-2)
Woost put up 5 runs in the 17-5 loss this week to JWE, which is surprisingly the fewest runs JWE has given up to anyone all season. The glaring problem for Woost so far this year is giving up 10+ runs to everyone that they’ve faced so far. I don’t expect that to change this week against XXXoxo.
- Asteroid Head (1-2)
Yeah, a 0-9 shutout loss to Bunt N Grind is going to cause a drop in this week’s ranking. In this case, Asteroid Head falls 5 places. The shutout loss is an especially surprising result for Asteroid Head after putting up 16 runs in week one against Soda Jerks — 6 more runs than Lawrence Shirt Factory managed. Asteroid Head also looked competent on the offensive end against Jazzhaus in GOTW, and, frankly, scoring has never been Asteroid Head’s issue. That said, they can be hot and cold, and this week they were, apparently, very cold.
- R-Bar (0-3)
R-Bar stays in the 27th spot after a 22-9 loss to D-Holes. The good and bad in this result are obvious. Putting up 9 runs on D-Holes is solid offensive output. Giving up 22 runs? Not so good. Because R-Bar’s schedule has been so difficult thus far, they are one of the more difficult teams to rank appropriately at this point in the season. Despite being ranked #27 here, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see R-Bar give Corksuckers (#15 here) a close game or even win. This is a testament to the parity between teams in and around the middle third of the league.
- Pawsh Wash (1-2)
Pawsh Wash shoots up 6 places after an impressive performance and upset victory in GOTW (9-5 over Kicking Assets). Pawsh Wash seems to be honing in on who is on the team week in and week out, and that looks to be a pretty solid collection of players. If they show up consistently with this GOTW squad and start to gel with positions and kicking lineup, I think they can hold on to this spot and possibly even move higher up these rankings by the end of the season. They’ll have a big test this week against Young Spine to see if they can keep the hot play going in a regular, non-GOTW setting.
- Young Spine (1-2)
I mentioned last week that Young Spine just needed to find a way to keep teams out of double digits to start racking up KVKL wins. This week they did just that, earning their first win of the season in a 4-2 defensive battle with Soda Jerks. It remains to be seen if they can keep the defense going this week against a team averaging greater than 1 run a game. The rapidly improving Pawsh Wash will be a big test and should be a great game this week.
- Sacred Sword (0-3)
Sacred Sword moves up 2 spots with the 12-10 loss to Home Loans. Adam Mitchell doesn’t strike me as a big moral victory guy, but I think this is a good result for Sacred Sword based on how well Home Loans has been playing this season. Sacred Sword is another team that is probably too low in these rankings just by virtue of how difficult their schedule has been so far. We’ll get a better idea of where they stand over the next few weeks in the coming weeks when they’ll play Soda Jerks, Bald Beavers, and Asteroid Head. Getting back to .500 by the end of the year isn’t out of the question, and would represent an awesome season for Sacred Sword with the difficulty of schedule factored in.
- Schoonies (1-2)
Schoonies fall one spot after another lopsided loss, this time to 23rd St. They will look to bounce back this week against Empire, and they should. It’s hard to fault Schoonies too much for giving up 20+ runs to Honey Badgers, but to 23rd St., I’d have thought they might have kept things a little more reasonable.
- Kicking Assets (0-3)
It was a disappointing result for Kicking Assets in GOTW. When I turned on the Twitch Stream for the game in the 4th inning, I was surprised to see Pawsh Wash with a lead, but even more surprised to see that Kicking Assets had been kept off the scoreboard to that point in the game. Credit to Pawsh Wash for locking down Kicking Assets’ legs, but it is also a worrying sign for Kicking Assets that their reliable offense can be locked down so easily. (I understand Kicking Assets was also missing some key players and leadership, which definitely hurts in the GOTW setting.)
- Late Fees (0-3)
Late Fees came up short against the Bald Beavers this week in a 10-4 loss and fall three places in this week’s ranking. Late Fees are giving up 20 runs a game on average, boosted by the 40 runs Harpies scored on them in week 2, and double-digit runs in all three games. I’m also surprised that they only managed 4 runs this week after solid offensive performances in weeks 1 and 2. Perhaps it is worth noting that this is also the second week in a row that I’m surprised by the number of runs put up against Bald Beavers, so perhaps I’m just not giving enough credit to Bald Beavers’ defense.
- Reading Rockets (0-3)
Reading Rockets came 1-run short of a big upset against Ghosts. Also wind in their sails is that the 1-7 loss to Corksuckers looks oddly similar to Jazzhaus’ 1-5 loss to Corksuckers this week. That’s enough to give Reading Rockets the benefit of the doubt and to jump one spot over the freefalling Soda Jerks.
- Soda Jerks (0-3)
It’s odd to see Soda Jerks this far down the power ranking. Last year Soda Jerks beat Asteroid Head, Ghosts, Schoonies, Late Fees, and gave close games to other teams as well. This year, Soda Jerks are averaging exactly 1-run through three games of the season, and you can’t point to any games on the schedule as surefire get right games.
- Empire (0-3)
It wasn’t the long-sought-after first win this week, but putting up 9 against KBC Tropics is a great offensive improvement from weeks one and two, and just generally solid offensive output. (Red Lyon also scored 9 against KBC Tropics.) That makes me think it is much more likely that Empire’s first team win will come this year. How about this week against the Schoonies, who are averaging more than 20 runs against in the last two weeks? I think it is possible.