1. Cloud City Sky Pirates43-23, 3rd in TNBL
With apologies to Myrtle Beach and Birmingham, let’s be honest with ourselves — Cloud City is still the top team in the league. It’s weird not seeing Cloud City atop the standings, but they’re still 20 games over .500 and just 1.5 off the league lead. Cloud City still ranks first in overall WAR with a nearly 4.5 WAR lead on the next team, and run prevention is a big part of that. Ace Gan Bi is putting together his best season ever, striking out a ridiculous 36% of batters. Yeah, to be the man you gotta beat the man, and the Sky Pirates are definitely still the man.
2. Myrtle Beach Mermen45-22, 1st in TNBL
After starting the season with a blistering 19-4 April, the Mermen have cooled off a bit, but still sit in first place of the TNBL along with Birmingham. Power has been Myrtle Beach’s calling card as they lead the league in HRs (94) and ISO (.182). Four players in their starting lineup have double-digit homers and two others each have nine. We’ll see if the back end of the rotation holds up down the stretch, but the Mermen can definitely mash.
3. Birmingham Barons45-22, 1st in TNBL
Formally the Buffalo Wild Wings franchise, the newly named Barons are off to a great start after winning the TNBL championship two years ago, and sit tied in first place so far this season. The Barons are middle of the road hitting wise, and while their rotation might not have any superstars, it is one of the most complete in the league with five solid, above average pitchers. And then there’s the bullpen, where Daniel Purcell, Oscar Alvarez, Douggie Smith, and Chris Caudillo have been dominant for the Barons.
4. Vinson Emperors42-23, 5th in TNBL
Do these guys ever have a bad season? Well good thing I looked it up for you and the answer is—they don’t ever have a bad season. Through six full seasons in the TNBL, Vinson has won 102, 104, 106, 98, 100, and 103 games, and is on pace for another 100-win season. Incredible. The one thing that’s missing from all the success is a TNBL championship, which has eluded them. Well this season may present one of their best chances at accomplishing that goal. The Emperors have a complete team that starts with the best hitting team in the league with a .799 OPS as a team. And they rank second in overall WAR. Will this finally be the year for Vinson to cash in and win the whole damn thing?
5. Pittsburgh Pirates43-23, 3rd in TNBL
The Pirates are off to a great start and have been a bit of a surprise team, sitting just 1.5 back of Myrtle Beach and Birmingham. But I see a couple red flags, and that’s why they’re ranked behind the big boys. First, the Pirates +55 run differential is solid, but there are seven teams with a better RD. Second, the Pirates lead the league with a .322 BABIP, 11 points higher than the next team and 31 points higher than league average. Third, they’ve played five games over their Pythagorean record, the highest mark in the TNBL. And while the pitching has been OK, their FIP ranks in the bottom half of the league. This is a franchise that made their first postseason appearance last year at 81-80 and has been a big surprise through the first half this season. I’m excited to see how the season plays out for Pittsburgh.
6. Philadelphia Phillies38-28, 7th in TNBL
The Phillies have the 4th best run differential in the league at +77 and they jump over Atlanta for me. Philly doesn’t hit for much power, but they make up for it with a .337 wOBA, good for 5th in the league. Add that in with a pitching staff that’s been great this season and one of the league’s best overall defenses, and you have a team rolling to what would be their 5th straight postseason appearance and one where they could make some noise.
7. Cincinnati Reds36-29, 9th in TNBL
The Reds are one of only four teams that have made the playoffs every season of the TNBL’s existence. And they’re on their way to punching their ticket to the postseason again. These guys are young and have some pop in their lineup with Ed Barragan, Victor Marquez, and Ki-nam Yi leading the way. Marquez has been so good in limited time that he’s currently batting a stupid .404. With a +72 run differential, the Reds have been a bit unlucky so far and should have a better record. That’s something to watch for as the Reds look to keep their playoff streak intact.
8. Atlanta Braves40-27, 6th in TNBL
Atlanta went out and made the big move of the offseason by acquiring Han-su Pak from Cloud City. The price was steep, but Pak has been exactly what Atlanta was hoping for. Currently on pace for an insane 12+ WAR, Pak has 21 home runs and 61 RBIs in 61 games for a 187 OPS+. I don’t know about you, but I think Pak keeping up the RBI pace would be fantastic. Time will tell how far Pak can take the Braves and if he can help them bring home their first league championship.
9. Boston Red Sox36-31, 10th in TNBL
The Red Sox won it all back in season two in 2029 and are one of the four teams to have made the playoffs every season since the TNBL’s inception. This season, the Sox are probably a little better than their record at the moment and they feature a solid, all around team. The loss of Tom Tucker for two months hurts, but J.R. Treichel is picking up the load with another great season underway.
10. Brooklyn Patsies38-30, 8th in TNBL
The Brooklyn franchise hasn’t had the greatest history in the TNBL, but back-to-back 92-win seasons and another nice start this year has the Patsies on the rise. They’re one of the youngest teams in the league and feature arguably the best catcher in the game this season, Mel Moncayo, who’s tearing the cover off the ball this season slashing .343/.390/.588. They’ve played to their record so far and if they keep it up, it'll be enough for their third consecutive playoff appearance.
11. St. Louis Cardinals34-33, 12th in TNBL
Following a couple rebuilding seasons in St. Louis, the Cards have been active on the trade market in putting together a team to compete now. They’ve been better than their record would indicate with +28 run differential, and Nelson Lopez and Fernando Flores have been a big part of that, both posting a batting average north of .330 while David Veloz is having the worst season of his brilliant career. The rotation needed an upgrade, and they went out and got a huge one in ace Ivan Torres. You can’t fault this team for going for it.
12. Seattle Mariners34-32, 11th in TNBL
The Mariners franchise has been stuck in the middle since the league’s start in 2028. At 34-32, things seem to be in the same situation for Seattle again as the team looks for its first postseason appearance. On the hitting side, the Mariners have eight of their regulars with an above-average wRC+. The back half of the rotation could use some help, but this could be the year Seattle finally punches its ticket to the postseason.
13. Italia Stivali32-33, 13th in TNBL
Speaking of being stuck in the middle, the Stivali find themselves underachieving again, and it all starts with SP Danny Ibuado, who’s coming off a 7.0 WAR season in the ’33 season and currently has just 1.0 WAR, along with a 5.22 ERA and 4.09 FIP. A lot of help in the form of young promising prospects are on the cusp of the big leagues in Triple-A, but the Stivali need their underperforming stars like Ibuado and Natanael Mondragon (79 wRC+) to get going if they plan on seeing the postseason for the first time in five years.
14. Los Angeles Earthquakes31-33, 15th in TNBL
The Earthquakes are chasing what would be their first playoff appearance in the league, and not only that, but it would be their first season with 70 wins or more! Yes, it’s been a rough history for LA, but the Earthquakes have a shot this season. If one thing holds this team back, it’ll be their lack of power, as LA sits dead last in HRs (45) and ISO (.114). The league average in ISO is .153. Yikes. The Earthquakes will need their arms to carry the way if they’re going to the playoffs for the first time in league history.
15. Cleveland Indians34-36, 14th in TNBL
Cleveland is in an interesting spot. Despite being in Cleveland, the team still uses the Chicago Crappers logo, which has the identity of this team all thrown off. Besides the midseason move and mistaken identity, the Indians aren’t in a horrible spot with their team. Their minor league system is loaded, but needs some leadership to help develop these guys to the show. As for this season, the pitching staff will ultimately be this team’s demise with a fourth worst 4.87 ERA in the TNBL.
16. Baton Rouge Red Sticks31-36, 16th in TNBL
The Red Sticks were off to a decent start this season, and hovered around .500 until their recent 2-8 slide dropped them to 16th in the standings. Baton Rouge is 13th in total WAR, however, and the pitching staff has been a positive for them this year, especially the shutdown back end of the bullpen. Closer Arturo Gamino has arguably the best stuff in the league and is striking out 11.7 per nine with a minuscule 2.05 ERA. After missing the playoffs for the first time in league history last season, the Red Sticks will try and ride that bullpen back to the postseason.
17. Texas Stars30-35, 17th in TNBL
Texas has never tasted the postseason in the TNBL and this current Texas team may not have the horses on the pitching staff to rectify that situation in 2034. The Stars feature an above average OPS (.760) and ISO (.160), but this team has a major Achilles heel with the second worst defense in the TNBL according to zone rating, which sits at an awful -38.09. Only seven teams are in the negatives, just to give you an idea of how horrendous the Stars fielding is. They have a negative zone rating at every single position. That’s not good, folks.
18. Kansas City Centaurs28-40, 18th in TNBL
The Centaurs have been a middling franchise for their entire history, with just one playoff appearance in an 82-80 season back in 2031. They’re off to a bad start this season, and part of the problem has been 1-run games. Kansas City is 5-13 in close ball games this season, and the pitching has been fairly bad, evident by the top pitcher posting just an 0.8 WAR while featuring nine pitchers that are replacement level or below on its staff. And $50M man Wladimir Van 't Klooster has a 4.76 ERA and just a 0.6 WAR. And he’s still signed for two more seasons at $55M. It’s tough to start a true rebuild when an underperforming pitcher is making 44% of your payroll.
19. Fargo Rage24-45, 21st in TNBL
Look no further than Fargo’s starting rotation to spot their troubles this season. Overall, the pitching staff has the second worst ERA in the league at 5.20 to go with a 4.79 FIP. And there’s not much help coming in the minor leagues for starting pitching anytime soon. The Rage aren’t a young team with an average age of 30.5 years old, and they’re 21 games under already. These are some dark times in Fargo right now.
20. Seoul Phoenix24-43, 19th in TNBL
With new ownership taking over in Seoul two years ago, talks about the minor leaguers and underperforming players being in concentration camps have gone away. That’s the good news. The bad news is it’s a long road ahead. It looks like a lost year for the Seoul Phoenix, who sport a rough -87 run differential. On the pitching side of things, they’re middle-of-the-road with a 4.23 ERA, but a lot of credit goes to ace Ivan Torres and his sparkling 2.98 ERA. The fire sale has already begun as Torres was promptly dealt to St. Louis this week. Look for the Phoenix to continue selling off pieces to help set them up for the future.
21. Everett Hawks23-44, 23rd in TNBL
After some success from 2030-2032, the Hawks have fallen on some tough times, with a 100-loss season last year and on pace for an even worse 2034. There’s no nice way to say it, but their pitching staff stinks— with a league worst 5.58 ERA. The Hawks are clearly on the tank, and they do own a nice collection of prospects with four higher end prospects close to the show in Triple-A right now. It’ll be a long road, but Everett picking in the top five in next year’s draft will help.
22. Portland Beavers24-43, 19th in TNBL
If the Beavers had any grand plans to make a run this season, they were quickly extinguished by way of an awful 4-16 start. Portland has a terrible -97 run differential and feature the worst defense in the TNBL in zone rating, including a -18.23 ZR from center field. How bad has it been for Portland this season? They rank third worst in ERA (4.90), second to last in OPS (.658) and dead last in ZR. Add in those troubles with also having a top 10 payroll and it may be time to cut salary, sell off pieces, and flood the system with even more talent.
23. Washington Nationals20-44, 24th in TNBL
There were rumors that this franchise was cursed, and after a couple of the past owners they’ve had, I’m starting to believe it. This team hasn’t been awful by any means, but their streak of four consecutive playoff appearances is definitely in jeopardy this season. The Nationals definitely are suffering from some underachieving hitters and their league worst .266 BABIP shows that, but this team wasn’t slated to be very good to begin with and the lack of free agent pickups didn’t help.
24. Disney Magic22-42, 22nd in TNBL
This franchise has been a disaster since day one in this league. Multiple owners and multiple team names—from the Cubs to the Sneks, back to the Cubs, then the Goblins, and now the Magic—have created instability for this organization, which is still looking for its first postseason appearance. New owners came in with a fancy Disney logo, and looked to be on good footing with a corporate backed sponsorship from the mega company. However, a 22-42 start has derailed that along with talks of the new ownership selling again. The record shouldn’t be a surprise with a bare $30M payroll, lowest in the TNBL by nearly $50M. The Magic have a good group of prospects in the system, but the question that continues to haunt this franchise is: do they have the proper leadership to get them to the show and produce?