The HRL is alive and thriving with a fresh Star Tribune article, new YouTube videos every week, active messageboard, daily tweets from teams across the league, and perhaps most importantly, a big rookie class.
There are a number of new rookies in the league this season. I wanted to update those who may be unfamiliar with these noobs and do what Epstein loves to do, rate things.
This was written BEFORE May 23rd games.
Eagan Rookie Rankings
1. Z-Dog, Yankees: I haven’t played against him yet, but have seen him next door. Dude just looks like a Yankee. Insiders tell me he is tight with Handsome Mat and played college baseball at Winona State. Though his batting average is a bit low at .235, he has faced Nightmare, Boom, Stache, and Big Hoss early this season. Once the schedule lightens up, he’ll be raking in the high powered Yankee offense (Editors note: his average did in fact go up to .293 after May 23 games). He is no slouch on the mound too, with an impressive 1.80 ERA in 8 innings pitched. Z-Dog is your early favorite for ROY. Performance rating: 8.5
2. Jake, Pirates: Arguably the best pure hitter in this rookie class. Jake is leading all qualified Eagan rookies with a .422 average and 6 home runs, including 1 off 2018 MVP Psych and another off Epstein. The Pirates have themselves a nice “young” core behind Jake and Milton. Performance rating: 8.4
3. Fish Hook, A’s: Rumor has it Dr Seuss believes Fish Hook was catching on (no pun intended) to his pitches by the end of their matchup. These young brains are part of the reason Fish Hook is enjoying early success in the HRL. He sports a .407 avg and 3 home runs. Fish Hook has also been patient at the plate with 10 walks. This early plate discipline will set him up for long term success. Performance rating: 8.0
4. Slim, Orioles: The Orioles season has been quite ugly, but there are a few bright spots. One being Slim. Slim has opened the year with a stunning .396 batting average. He has been the O’s workhorse on the mound with 31 innings pitched already. Though he has been rocked by a couple opponents, he did throw a shutout vs the Lugnuts. Yes, we all know the Lugnuts aren’t the most intimidating opponent, but Slim has a lot of potential. He made the undefeated Dodgers sweat in a start where he held them to 4 runs. Slim may not put up eye popping numbers on the mound this season, but with a full season under his belt he could make a big leap next year. Performance rating: 7.5
5. Hov, Dodgers: This is a tricky case. I don’t know if the HRL has a rule on what defines a rookie. Hov played 2 games last season. I’m defining him as a rookie, but perhaps the league brass needs to clarify his rookie eligibility. Also, I’m biased because he’s my teammate. Hov has lit up the field this season. A .565 average and some elite athleticism have been on display at Dodger games. I will say Hov is pretty easily the best athlete out of this rookie class. Performance rating: 7.4
6. Shipwreck, Marlins: Shipwreck has been a bright spot in the Marlins disappointing start to the season. He displayed incredible speed in the team’s opening series and hasn’t slowed down since. He threw a gem of a game against the Whalers, only to have it spoiled by errors. He also turned up clutch in a Jack Off against the Dodgers, only to have it spoiled by Fez. The point I’m trying to make is that Shipwreck has been unlucky so far in his rookie season. Once luck is one his side, watch out. Performance rating: 7.0
7. CatNip, A’s: CatNip was my preseason rookie of the year pick and he’s off to a slow start. A 250 average with 0 home runs isn’t what I saw in his future. Keep in mind he saw 3 games vs Seuss, Handsome Mat, and Palpatine. On the mound he has shown solid rookie numbers with a 4.50 ERA. Again, once the schedule lightens up and his varsity baseball season ends, he’s primed for a breakout. He was also the Sibley High School athlete of the week this Spring. Performance rating: 6.9
8. Shaggy, Orioles: Slim and Shaggy are the Orioles stars. Both are hitting over .300 and both have seen many innings on the mound. What I admire about Shaggy is the fact that he was committed to his riser when he faced us. Even though it was wild and giving us several walks, he stuck with it. By the end of the game it was becoming more accurate. If he keeps practicing that pitch, he could be a dependable starter for the O’s. Performance rating: 6.4
9. Lumberjack, A’s: I won’t mention his batting average, but the pitching is coming along steadily. He sports a very impressive 1.4 walks per 6 innings, very low for a rookie. At the plate though my message to Lumberjack is: "pitter patter let's get at 'er"-Greg Fehrman. Performance rating: 6.3
10. Pucks, Whalers: I didn’t even know this player existed until I looked through each team’s roster. He is hitting .370 with 70% of his hits coming from the Lugnuts matchup. He plays for the Whalers though, so he is sure to develop into a top-tier slow ball hitter. Performance rating: 6.0
11. Sixteen, Lugnuts: The Lugnuts have taken the HRL by storm in several areas: social media, transportation, roster size, and nicknames. Sixteen is one standout performer when it comes to the actual playing of wiffleball. He carries a .293 average. Performance rating: 5.9
12. Merch, Rockies: Homered off Shandy, hitting .333 through 4 games. More game action and he could rise in the ranks. Performance rating: 5.7
Not mentioned: Hot Wheels (A’s), Whatever (O’s), Entire Lugnuts roster minus Shirls and Nine.