By Dr. Rug
My final comment from day #1 of the rankings about Jaden being a better hockey player than Broussard has got me thinking… if the teams of the YK Fastball league took to the ice for a hockey tournament, who would be the team to beat?
It’s an interesting debate and there would be some really solid teams. I’m not quite as knowledgeable about the YK Hockey league as I am about fastball, but I do know there is a whole lot of talent kicking around the diamond. I’m not sure how the Thunder team would stack up (other than Josh Brown grinding in the corners), but teams like the Blue Jays and the Trappers would be able to put together decent squads with the likes of Gibeau, Fraser Oliver and Joel Ashby leading the way. The Orioles would have Devin Hinchey and Thrill as their top two but might not have the depth to compete with the best squads.
To me, with my admittedly limited knowledge, this would be a three horse race. First up you’ve got the Rockies, their top 5 would likely be Broussard, Herb, Byron, Paul, and Kirk… that’s a lot of scoring. The next contender would be the Slades Expos with old-school legends Andy Stewart and Rhino leading the way, and speedsters Borko, Carson, Kugler and Laborde lighting it up. Finally, you’ve got the HBC Cardinals who would put out a top line featuring Robbie and Lorne on the point; Mueller, Nichols, and Cahoon up front; and Jaden backstopping it all between the pipes (not to mention Darin’s veteran leadership in the penalty box on the bench). I’m sure I’ve missed a few standout players in there but regardless, it would be quite the battle.
Who takes the title?
Anyway, that’s enough about hockey, let’s continue the long slow climb to the top with Part 3 of the rankings. These are the players that are good enough to deserve an everyday spot in the lineup but not good enough to build a franchise around.
I will take this time to note that if you haven’t seen your name yet, and you don’t see your name in the next 50, that means you fell outside of the top 100. I’d be happy to share your exact spot in the rankings if you want to know it, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
50. Damien Healy – Healy manages to sneak into the top 50. How? I’m not sure but here he is.
(Dr. Rug Note: Healy, what was it we agreed upon for payment? 1 flat for top 100, 2 flats for top 50?)
49. Ian Farrer – The man with the most mispronounced name in the history of the league makes it into the top 50. Pretty impressive considering he only has 3 seasons of stats to his name.
48. Steve Thomas – When I said above “not good enough to build a franchise around” I was obviously referring to batting skills only, not overall game. As Steve has demonstrated the last couple of seasons, you can easily build a title contender around his right arm and a bunch of scrubs.
47. Glen Tingmiak – Tinger is the first of twelve players to appear in these rankings that have ever finished in the top 5 overall of Dr. Rug’s PTV rankings. That is quite a prestigious honour and something that should appear on the resume of each and every one of those twelve individuals.
(Dr. Rug Note: The rankings have come out three previous times, there are three players that appeared in the top five on two occasions but nobody made it all three times. In fact, only one player has appeared in the top 10 on all three occasions and that guy never made the top 5.
Spoiler alert: Once again in these rankings he made the top 10 but not the top 5.)
46. Andy Penton – The stats tell me that Andy has a home run. I don’t recall when or where this alleged home run happened but it’s in the books so it must be true.
45. Brad Waugh – One of the few names in this range that is on his way up the rankings as opposed to heading downward. Brad has a ways to go to catch his dad but give him a few more years of consistent production and I’m confident he’ll overtake Bruce pretty easily.
44. Sean Fowler – The answer to the trivia question from the last part, who led the league in batting in 2012, is none other than Mr. Fowler. His .760 batting average that year is the third best single season average, trailing Mueller’s .786 from 2015 and Matty K.’s untouchable .842 from 2017.
43. Paul Gard – Surprisingly low on the list and on the stat sheet. I’m not sure if Paul saved his best work over the 7 years for tournament play or if Jimmy just Jimmy’d him on the stat sheet but I’ve only got Paul down for 6 doubles and 6 home runs over 7 years of stats. That doesn’t seem right.
42. Matt Simms – As old age has caught up with him, Matt’s turned into the typical crusty old Toronto fan on social media. Needless to say, if you don’t already follow @F_T_Smasher on twitter you should, it’s entertaining!!
41. Chris Kelln – Here’s hoping that Chris can return from one of the most gruesome injuries of 2018. This x-ray still makes me squirm.
40. Greg Skauge – The recent outrage over JK showing up drunk at a curling event brought back memories of running into Skauge at the Brier when he was the 5th for team NT. We ran into him up in the concourse mid-game where he was buying 50/50 tickets for the team and proceeded to chug the rest of my drink. Best 5th ever!
39. Sean Couvrette – This is a situation where you think to yourself, “Sure Brian has better numbers… and sure he’s been playing longer… and sure he’s still living in Yellowknife… but honestly I think I’d take Sean over him for my team every chance I got.”
(Dr. Rug Sidenote: I say that, but of course they were both on HBC and when the league instituted the One Couvrette per Team rule we chose to keep Brian over Sean.)
38. Joel Ashby – Joel may be the most unexpected player to ever make it into the top ten of the previous PTV rankings. He came in at #5 in 2017, just behind Ryan Nichols and ahead of Carson Roche… I take that back, Carson Roche might be the most unexpected player to ever make the top ten.
37. Ryan Heslep – Hessie is another guy that is surprisingly lower on this list than I expected. I think this is due in large part to the lack of tournament stats being factored in as well as Ryan’s preference for fishing over fastball. Hard to fault a guy for that.
(Choosing sailing lessons over fastball on the other hand…)
36. Scott Blacklock – Played half a season, put up amazing numbers (.600/.750/1.100), and led the Rockies to their only championship in franchise history. That’s a nice little resume for only playing a month in the league.
35. Matt Whiteford – Matt had some actual baseball skills that transferred across nicely to the fastball field. One of the smoothest swings in the league he definitely had the ball player look perfected.
Speaking of sweet swings…
34. Jared Ooms – He came, he saw, he crushed.
33. Mike Reddy – Obligatory note that this is the good Mike Reddy, not the “I came home drunk and my TV got stolen” Mike Reddy. I feel sorry for Mike, always being compared to the other Reddy… on the bright side though, he always comes out of that comparison looking spectacular.
32. Ryan Theil – I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect Theil to be this high on the list. His numbers back it up though. A 1.235 OPS is an impressive number and is easily good enough to get him into the top 50. If he hadn’t single-handedly caused the downfall of the Pirates franchise he may have ended up with even better numbers!
31. Kyle Kugler – #2 on 2014’s illustrious list of the top rec athletes in Yellowknife, Kugler is only lacking playing time from his stats or he’d be a lot higher on the list. That’s a common refrain for some of these one-hit wonders, but consistency and longevity are the difference between a top 15 ranking and a 31st place finish.
30. Matt Kennedy – In 2014, Matt led the league in strikeouts… three years later he batted .842. That’s quite the impressive turnaround.
(Dr. Rug sidenote: Seriously, I think Matty K. putting up an .842 batting average is the most miraculous stat in the entire stat book. Eight-Forty-Two!!! That’s completely ridiculous.)
29. Jared MacNeil – And thus answers the question of “which MacNeil brother will be higher in the rankings?” Sorry J-Rod, I’d still take you over Primetime every chance I had but the numbers say he’s better.
28. Devon Theriault – If he had a couple more seasons in the books, Devon would no doubt be a top 20 player in the rankings. His numbers are excellent but with just over 100 PAs to his name, he’s lacking the total numbers to crack that prestigious list.
27. Torrey McLaren – Proving without a doubt that chin straps improve hitting skills. Torrey is the highest ranked player without a single home run to his name. He’s also one of only two people in the top 40 without a strikeout (the next name on the list being the other). In one season of stats, Torrey put up a .818 on base percentage, the highest of anyone on the entire list with the exception of…
26. Les Elchuk – Showed up. Played two games. Led the league in batting average, OBP, and slugging over the 7 year period. If only he’d hit this well at Masters…
(Dr. Rug Note: For the rest of the top 25, any time I talk about a player having the best numbers, they exclude the insane .857/.857/1.429 slash line that Elchuk put up in his brief appearance in YK. I debated putting the threshold at 8 PAs but I thought it was worthwhile leaving it where it was and emphasizing just how impressive Les’s two games were.)
Since we’re ending off today with the best player on the list to never play more than one season, here’s a quick review of the top five players that have one season or less in the books…
- Brad Hamilton
- Steve Thomas
- Scott Blacklock
- Torrey McLaren
- Les Elchuk
That’ll do it for today’s list! Tune in next time as we begin our journey into the hallowed air of the top 25.