As one of the most prestigious leagues in independent baseball, I always expect top-notch results from each organization. In this preview, readers will hear my takes on each team, along with how many titles they have obtained since joining the league.
I am always so fortunate to be able to provide coverage for independent baseball to grow the game that myself and many others love. With the season kicking off, I know many are more than ready to see their favorite ALPB teams in action. So here we go!
I’m expecting to see the Barnstormers rebound from 2019 this season. It won’t be easy with such a stacked division going against them, but it is possible. They’ll need to rely on offense, although soon Lancaster will lose big names to Team Israel in the Olympics. Pitching-wise, I’m waiting to see how things go once they have gone through the rotation at least once before I decide on whether or not it’ll help or hurt them.
League Championships: 2 (2006, 2014)
Division Championships: 2 (2006, 2012)
Long Island Ducks
I won’t lie. The Long Island Ducks are going into the season as the best in their division on paper. Now, don’t get me wrong — something could change in the early days of the season if guys like Justin Kelly and Devin Raftery fall short. The Ducks have eight division championships and four league championships under their belts; with Somerset gone, my money is on the Ducks for the whole thing.
League Championships: 4 (2004, 2012, 2013, 2019)
Division Championships: 8 (2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
The Blue Crabs want to have a winning season again, and I like that for them. After all, the last time they went above .500 was way back in 2012. Please understand, this team has the talent to make it into postseason play — it’s whether or not they can compete until the very end with others in their division. With a dazzling rotation, pitching will be essential. Keep an eye on Dalton Geekie, trust me.
Oh, York, I do love you, but you don’t love me back. The whole roster gives me hope, but on paper, it leaves me concerned for the end result this fall. Pitching-wise, I’m excited to see what Jake Welch can do this year. The Revolution could and will be a great team, I’m just worried that it won’t be this season no matter how hard Mark Mason tries.
League Championships: 3 (2010, 2011, 2017)
Division Championships: 3 (2010, 2011, 2017)
Gastonia Honey Hunters
This team is what I’m most excited about this season. The Honey Hunters are officially in full swing, and if you are a new ALPB fan — I’m going to push you into becoming a fan of this team. With former MLB players, Gastonia could be dangerous in their inaugural season. And I’m here for it. Many are concerned about the 50/50 old and new roster, but I think it’ll balance over time and prove that this team has what it takes.
High Point Rockers
I adore High Point and if you are a Dugout Dish reader, you know we’ve been given the opportunity to talk with this organization. This team is truly well rounded and I’m excited to see where they finish this season. With a strong roster, I’m positive the Rockers will have a fighting chance against the big dogs in their division and league this summer. Keep eyes on Edwin Arroyo and Logan Morrison. Mark my words: this team will make the playoffs.
As fate would have it, the Legends are now a part of the legendary Atlantic League. With former MLB players, I know this group will go out with a bang this season. I’m more excited for their pitching rather than offense so far but once again, it’s too early for me to truly know how it’ll go at the plate. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Legends won it all with PJ Phillips commanding the ship. Also St. Louis Cardinals legend Tony Cingrani is on the roster, so that’s interesting.
West Virginia Power
With a mixed bag of former Somerset and others, the Power is, well, mighty. This team will be a bounce-back year for many guys on this roster, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. I don’t believe they’ll be able to take down Andy Shea and Jesse Scaglion’s other team, the Legends. I won’t be upset if they fizzle toward the end of the year because there is always next year once things are well-rounded and kinks in the roster and development are being fixed.
In closing, I believe this year will be year that ALPB grabs the attention of Major League Baseball fans. My personal favorites will be the Rockers, Legends, and Ducks. I’ll be rooting for the Honey Hunters in their inaugural season as well.
You can find more information on ALPB on their website.
Photo Credit: High Point Rockers