The 2018 Season is right around the corner, so here are my two cents (for what that’s worth) regarding the season ahead. I hope you enjoy and be curious to hear your thoughts as well.
In analyzing, I took a look first at the All Ivy Teams players from 2017 and who is returning and who is not. I also tried to delve a bit into each teams rosters to understand the make up of the teams. The wild card for me are the incoming freshman as its difficult to truly gauge what their impact will be and any injured players that are returning.
The first point which is fairly obvious is where you finished in the standings pretty much dictated how many players your team had named to the All Ivy League teams. Both Harvard and Princeton, winners of the North and South had a total of 7 players, next up was Dartmouth with 6, Penn and Yale with 5, Brown and Columbia with 4 and Cornell with 2.
The next obvious point is that all of Harvard’s All Ivy League players are returning for the 2018 season. This bodes well for their chances to return to Championship game, but let’s not forget that the North was not decided until the last weekend as both Dartmouth and Yale had a chance to take 1st place in the North division.
Dartmouth has 5 returning from last year including their No 1 pitcher (Ethridge), but they did lose two 1st Team All Ivy Players. Yale has 4 returning players including their No 1 pitcher (Casalino) and only lost one 2nd Team player. Brown has 2 of their 4 players returning including their two pitchers (Orona and Wimmer), giving them a strong presence on the mound.
Princeton lost the most in 3 of the 7 players including both of their 2 top pitchers, one of which was the Ivy Pitcher of the Year. Penn returns 3 but lost their two 1st Team All Ivy players and arguably a pitcher who could have won Pitcher of the Year had they won the south division. Columbia has all of their players returning, 3 of which were freshman last year and their No 1 Pitcher (Canby), Cornel returns their 2 players.
Based on all this here are my thoughts on the 2018 season:
Harvard – is the odds on favorite based preliminarily on the amount of returning talent. They are the most complete team across the lineup and on the mound. That being said, they will still need to earn the title as I do not see them walking away with it. But with another year under their belt the roster looks like the team to beat in 2018.
Yale – I foresee Yale as the surprise in 2018 and battle Harvard for the title, which makes the very first weekend of play real interesting as they will meet in the best of 3 series. This team has been gaining ground over the past few years being right in the mix for the North title last year. Their roster looks well balanced with talent across the board. This could very well be the year they make it happen.
Brown – They will be right in the mix as they are strong in the circle and return many. This mound presence will keep games close allowing them to win tight battles and the 3 game format bodes well for them as well. Their offense and producing runs will be their key
Princeton – Appears to have lost too much on the mound to be real competitive this year. There is no question they will be potent offensively as they return most position players. They will need for one of their pitchers to take a huge step forward in order for them to keep their team in games. To win, they will need to outscore their opponents but we know that Pitching usually wins championships.
Dartmouth – Will need their No 1 to again carry most of the Pitching duties, although this will be difficult throughout the longer Ivy League season. They will need another arm to step up as well as their returning position players to produce offensively. I will admit this team is a tough read, they could finish anywhere from 2nd to 6th in the league, it will all depend on how quickly their young core of 8 Sophomores and 6 Freshman to develop.
Columbia – Last year they were the talk of the Ivy leagues after the first weekend of Ivy play where they surprisingly took all games against Dartmouth and Harvard. They unfortunately were not able to surprise anyone else after this weekend going a combined 3 and 13 to finish out Ivy league play. They have a young core in with a strong sophomore class but will need help from the other classes to have an impact.
Penn – Also appears not to have enough to be a true contender. Offensively they look like they could be potent, but the big question for them as well will be on in the circle. Can their senior hurler step up and be a force on the mound and/or can one of their 3 Freshman pitchers have a large impact? To many questions for Penn to really make any sort of run this year for the Ivy league title this year.
Cornell – Is clearly in another rebuild year. After the retirement of Coach Blood, they have yet to find their identify. It appears that they are several years away from getting back into the thick of things in Ivy League play.
No matter the outcome, it an absolute blessing to us all that we are here discussing all this. Good Luck to all for a fantastic 2018 Season!