Opening Day for the 2016 NCBL season is finally here. Tonight, one Tier 3 and two Tier 4 games will be played, beginning what we guarantee will be the most predictable season in NCBL history. Historically, teams battle it out over a 20 or 24 game season to determine the playoff teams, playoff seedings, and ultimately your playoff champion. This year though, we were able to look into the future using sabermetrics, player progression formulas, and offseason scouting reports to project the entire 2016 regular season, playoffs, and even the end-of-the-year Tier awards. WARNING: Major spoilers ahead…
We’ll start things off in Tier 4, where each team will play a 20 game season. As you can see, the Too-Good-For-Tier-4 and Too-Bad-For-Tier-3 Knights will dominate Tier 4 going undefeated, their only blemish some kind of tie against the Braumeisters, likely because of the new drop dead rule. The expansion Strykers and Bandits will both make the playoffs in their inaugural seasons, leaving Team Cuba, who will win their final 4 games after losing their first 16, on the outside looking in.
In the Tier 4 playoffs, the 8th seeded Bandits will upset the Knights in a sweep, giving the Knights (who secretly threw the series) an excuse to try and stay in Tier 4 again in 2017. The Lynx, Reverse Vampires, and Coyotes will each win their quarterfinal matchups, joining the Bandits in the semi’s. The Cinderella season for the Bandits ends there though, as the Lynx and Vampiros will meet in the Tier 4 Championship, with the Vampires winning on a walkoff balk.
Congratulations to The Reverse Vampires, your 2016 Tier 4 Champions!
Tier 4 Pennant: Knights
Tier 4 Championship: Los Vampiros
Tier 4 MVP: Don Brennan, Knights
Tier 4 Batter of the Year: Shane White, Lynx
Tier 4 Pitcher of the Year: Shaun Van Allen, Knights
Tier 4 Playoff MVP: Steven Watts, Los Vampiros
The 2016 Tier 3 regular season will once again be a battle between the Black Sox and the Dukes, both on and off the field. On the field, the Black Sox and Dukes will square off just 2 times, tying both games by scores of 1-1 and 4-4. Off the field, the Dukes will struggle trying to figure out how to Periscope their post-game interviews, leaving the door open for the Black Sox to #winthetomfoolery, and ultimately the pennant.
Both the Red Sox and Bytown Bombers will make the playoffs, despite missing the postseason last year; and will be joined by the Capitals, who will make the playoffs in their first year after coming up from Tier 4. The Mavericks, who will burn out running yet another midseason tournament, will miss the playoffs, despite a 4-0 record from all-Hyjinx stud Jamie Beaupre.
The Black Sox, Dukes, Sharks, and Red Sox will win their quarterfinal matchups, and after a pair of semi-final upsets, the Sharks will face the Red Sox for the Tier 3 Championship. Jay Murfitt, playing in his final season in Tier 3, will lead the Sharks to the title, and then fulfill his destiny by signing with the SweatSox the next day. Sharks in 4.
Tier 3 Pennant: Black Sox
Tier 3 Championship: Sharks
Tier 3 MVP: Ian Stewart, Black Sox
Tier 3 Batter of the Year: Curtis Brown, Dukes
Tier 3 Pitcher of the Year: Michael Bayley, Rockets
Tier 3 Sportsmanship & Ability: Jamshid Mavalwalla, Red Sox
Tier 3 Playoff MVP: Jay Murfitt, Sharks
For the first time since 2005, Tier 2 will be without the SweatSox, who for at least (and at most) 1 year get to sit at the big boy table up in Tier 1. In their absence, the Winchester Sox won’t have to worry about their “bete noire” riding in to town to ruin a perfectly good win streak, and can finally focus on closing games and seasons out. The Misfits, coming up from Tier 3, will have a particularly good showing by finishing 2nd, and will then request to move up to Tier 1 next offseason.
Riding the high of a 2nd place finish celebration, the Misfits will enter their quarterfinal series hungover, and unable to hang with Marc Sports, who will advance in 3 games. Barnes will pitch however many games it takes the Expos to defeat the Mudd, while the Braves will advance after a poorly timed Flannigan family reunion leaves the Cornwall playoff roster in shambles.
In the semi-finals, Winchester will defeat Marc Sports after an incredible game 3 pitching performance from Adrian Delorey. Meanwhile, Barnes will pitch however many games it takes the Expos to defeat the Braves.
In the finals, Barnes will pitch however many games it takes the Expos to defeat Winchester. Expos repeat.
Tier 2 Pennant: Winchester Sox
Tier 2 Championship: Expos
Tier 2 MVP: Ethan Nodwell, Winchester
Tier 2 Batter of the Year: Jose Hernandez, Braves
Tier 2 Pitcher of the Year: Peter Gauthier, Misfits
Tier 2 Sportsmanship & Ability: Chris Hart, Winchester
Tier 2 Rookie of the Year: Rudy Vallejos, Mudd
Tier 2 Playoff MVP: Dave Barnes, Expos
Since the turn of the millennium, Tier 1 has been a playground for the Nepean Brewers, who win championships just about every other year. One team though has had enough of this dominance. Despite bans, fines, yellow cards, and suspensions, one team is going to do something this year that the mighty Brewers have never done. We’ve double checked the numbers and can confirm with absolute certainty, 2016 is going to be the Year of the Panther.
The Panthers are going to walk through the regular season, going an unprecedented 24-0, while everyone else battles it out for spots 2 through 8. Spot #9 is reserved for the SweatSox, who will face everyones #6-#9 starter and still go winless. We’re pretty confident we won’t go 0-26 though, like at least one Tier 2 clairvoyant predicts.
According to @SweatSox account – no longer can tweet bad things about anyone. Surely there is an exception to run them down. #0-26
— Winchestersox (@winchestersox) May 3, 2016
In the Tier 1 playoffs, the Panthers will sweep the Brewers, Ponies, then Battalion to win the Tier 1 Championship and complete the greatest 31-0 season in the history of baseball. Guaranteed.
Tier 1 Pennant: Panthers
Tier 1 Championship: Panthers
Tier 1 MVP: Kody Bradley, Panthers
Tier 1 Batter of the Year: Kevin Miller, Panthers
Tier 1 Pitcher of the Year: Mike Hluschuk, Panthers
Tier 1 Sportsmanship & Ability: Marc Charbonneau, Panthers
Tier 1 Rookie of the Year: Michael Llanes, Panthers
Tier 1 Manager of the Year: Tim Gautam, Panthers
Tier 1 Playoff MVP: Jason Oviedo, Panthers
50/50 Winner: Steve Smith, Panthers
Door Prize #1: Kevin Benjamin, Panthers
Door Prize #2: Gary Drisdelle, Panthers
Door Prize #3: Justin Carpenter, Panthers
Door Prize #4: Allan Martinez, Panthers
Door Prize #5: Harrison Carmichael, Panthers
Door Prize #6: Joe Stone, Panthers
Door Prize #7: JC Caron, Panthers
Door Prize #8: Jordan Gonzalez, Panthers
Door Prize #9: Keith Bray, Panthers
Sorry for ruining the surprise. Enjoy the 2016 season, if you still can.