Class A Rankings: May 10 Edition

–by Brett Kruschke

Welcome to the first Class A poll of the 2016 season. As we did with the Class C poll last week, a Twitter poll has been posted and 114 votes have already been cast since yesterday. Vote here, until Friday afternoon.

We appreciate the Class A panel returning in full from last year; Jeff Ostrom will also contribute as a representative of the Skyline League. Each of the three other Class A leagues are represented – the Park National League, St. Paul League and Riverview League – which works out rather neatly.

Look for the season’s inaugural Class B poll tomorrow.

JON-ERIC URSETH – Park National League

  1. Minnetonka Millers – Defending champions with zero reason to question their ability to repeat.
  2. St. Paul Capitals – Fought all the way back to the championship game after an early loss in last year’s tournament.
  3. Minneapolis Cobras – Team can hit, added a few more offensive pieces. Pitching will be the key to another run.
  4. St. Louis Park – Veteran team that has re-loaded this offseason. Can give Tonka another run if everyone shows up.
  5. Minneapolis Lakers – The Eden Prairie pipeline has had this team rise to the top. Can they make an impact come August?
  6. Continental Diamond Cutters – Skyline regular season champs the past 2 years. Eliminated by Capitals last year in tourney.
  7. Tri-City Shark – Strong showing last year beating Lakers and Capitals in state tourney.
  8. Northwest Orioles – Made an impact last year and I am not just referring to their Neon Jerseys.
  9. Minneapolis Angels – Another veteran team that added a few key pieces. Knows how to play come August.
  10. Lyon’s Pub Warriors – Make that 4 from the Park National, but only 3 can make the tourney. The Pub can hit their way to state.  

Honorable Mentions: St. Anthony Hogs, Air Freight

PHIL McDERMOTT – St. Paul League

1) Minnetonka Millers – defending champs, loaded pitching staff in 2015

2) St. Paul Capitals – 2015 runner-up and a similar roster returns in 2016

3) Minneapolis Cobras – upgraded pitching in 2015 and a solid lineup

4) St. Paul Shamrocks – sleeper team for 2016 and they have a done a nice job rebuilding after 2013 title

5) Air Freight – could be some turnover with the college players but a dominant pitching staff in 2015

6) Minneapolis Angels – rumor has it they added Schuld, pushing them up the preseason rankings

7) Tri City Shark – they seem poised to make a run if guys show up consistently

8) St. Louis Park – always a tough team with a great veteran loaded lineup

9) Diamond Cutters – almost guaranteed to make the state tournament out of the Skyline

10) Lyon’s Pub – probably ranked too low and they are always a factor in the postseason

Just missed: NW Orioles, St. Anthony, Red Rooster

MATT PAULSEN – Riverview League

1. The Mighty – MINNETONKA MILLERS (0-0) – If experience shows us anything, the Millers are always good. So last year’s state champs are once again numero uno.

2. ST. PAUL CAPITALS (1-1) – OK, so they took second last year and as far as I can tell they haven’t lost anyone. A win over the Pub and a lost to the Angels so far.

3.  MINNEAPOLIS ANGELS (2-1) – This is where it gets much harder to rank. The Angels are returning a veteran club that didn’t suck last year. And somehow they landed ex-Twins minor leaguer Matt Schuld. He is dirty. This might be their year.

4. AIR FREIGHT (0-0) – Air Freight surprised some people in the Tourney last year. Not sure if they are all returning, so this might be way off base.

5. DIAMOND CUTTERS (0-0) – Who knows, they showed well last year and dominated their league.

6. MINNEAPOLIS COBRAS (0-2) – The Cobras’ lineup is every bit as good as last year and they even looked to have added some bats. That’s the good news. The bad news is they lost their ace. Can they find another? Who knows, but I have a feeling that the laid-back managerial stylings of Matty Germar will have them right there at the end.

7. SAINT LOUIS PARK PIRATES (4-2) – Park is strong again. They may have added some more pitching, too. 64 K’s in 50.1 innings pitched so far.

8. NORTHWEST ORIOLES (0-0) – Entering their third year, this team keeps getting better. Be on the lookout for the Orioles. Actually, they are hard to miss with their vomitus lime-green unis.

9. TRI CITY SHARK (0-0) – If former major leaguer TJ Bohn shows up and returns to the form he displayed while he was a Saint Louis Park Pirate, these guys might have a chance.

10. LYONS PUB (0-1) – This year I am going to make Pub 10th every time.

RYAN MEEHAN – Skyline League

  1. Minnetonka Millers.  They return the same team as last year. And that team finished 46 games over .500 en route to another state championship.
  2. St. Paul Capitals.  Runners-up in 2015. Deep, talented pitching staff. Dangerous lineup. Great blend of youth and veteran leadership.
  3. Minneapolis Cobras.  They score runs. Lots of them. And is there any team in Class A that has more fun than these guys?
  4. Minneapolis Angels.  Never a team to shy away from a fun road trip, the Angels will criss-cross the state again in 2016. They will be battle-tested come state tourney time.
  5. Minneapolis Lakers.  Sustained success year after year. And they’ve added some intriguing bats from the college ranks.
  6. St. Louis Park.  Extremely deep and talented roster. Their offense can shell shock all but the top amateur pitchers.
  7. Continental Diamond Cutters.  Two-time defending Skyline champs. Several players are having massive springs for their college teams.
  8. St. Paul Shamrocks.  They’ve assembled a team with some of the brightest stars in the MIAC. If the dedication is there, this is a team equipped for a deep state tournament run.
  9. Northwest Orioles.  Biggest surprise of the 2015 season. Lean schedule allows them to maximize their top pitchers. But oh, the uniforms.
  10. Stockmen’s Irish.  Young team in 2015 that got better as the season progressed. Excellent coach. Expect that chemistry to continue to grow.

Honorable Mentions:  Hopkins Berries, Air Freight Unlimited, Lyon’s Pub Warriors

In Memoriam:  Edina ESOX, New Hope A’s, Stillwater Loggers

CLASS A RANKINGS (as of May 10):

  1. Minnetonka Millers (40 points)
  2. St. Paul Capitals (36)
  3. Minneapolis Cobras (29)
  4. Minneapolis Angels (22)
  5. St. Louis Park (19)
  6. Continental Diamond Cutters (17)
  7. Air Freight Unlimited (13)
  8. Minneapolis Lakers (12)
  9. Tri City Sharks, St. Paul Shamrocks (10)

Others receiving votes: Northwest Orioles (8), Lyon’s Pub Warriors (3), Stockmen’s Irish (1).

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