Preseason power rankings peg ‘Clips, ‘Choos and ‘Topes

Rnk Offense Power S N W Rnk Pitching Power S N W
1 Chatfield .999 W1 1 Springfield 526.3 S1
2 Applegate .974 N1 2 Applegate 616.4 N1
3 Wisconsin .952 S1 3 Savannah 620.8 S2
4 Margaritaville .951 N2 4 Chatfield 638.4 W1
5 Superior .941 W2 5 Bismarck 681.8 N2
6 Springfield .923 S2 6 Wisconsin 684.3 S3
7 Bushwood .902 W3 7 Margaritaville 696.9 N3
8 Bismarck .901 N3 8 Hickory 703.5 S4
9 Michigan .900 W4 9 Superior 708.1 W2
10 S. Grand Prairie .895 N4 10 Sat. Beach 774.4 S5
11 Savannah .893 S3 11 Iowa 775.6 W3
12 Sat. Beach .859 S4 12 Bushwood 788.2 W4
13 English .854 N5 13 English 820.7 N4
14 Hickory .828 S5 14 S. Grand Prairie 843.5 N5
15 Iowa .784 W5 15 Michigan 875.9 W5

Who will be the towers of power in the new three-division, 15-team I-75 League format in this, our 33rd year?

A careful analysis of Applegate’s exclusive Power Rankings pegs their very own Paperclips as the team to beat in the North, while Springfield’s incredible pitching staff makes it the favorite in the South and Chatfield’s unmatchable offensive attack makes it the team to beat in the West.

The power rankings shown above rank each team overall in the league by both offense and pitching, and then again in those categories within their division.

By way of illustration, Savannah, which has the biggest discrepancy between the two categories, ranks 11th in offense overall and third in the South Division (S3), but sits third overall in pitching and second in the South Division (S2).

The South seems to have a pitching emphasis; the West an offensive emphasis, and the North is pretty evenly distributed.

Remember that six teams make the playoffs: The division champs and the three next-best records. Who do we see making the playoffs in addition to the division champs?

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15-man ‘most efficient draft ever’ blows all other drafts away

Commish Dave Renbarger, right, presents Hickory manager Mike Wilson with the I-75 League Cup for winning the 2011 World Series, prior to the 2012 season draft.

Perhaps we should have gone to this 15-team format years ago.

After years of drafts that dragged on for seven, eight, nine hours — when we had just 9 or 12 managers — the I75 League pulled off its most efficient draft ever to kick off its 33rd year, conducting a 14-round, 15-team draft plus four supplemental rounds for the four entering teams in less than six hours!

With the use of a shared Google doc spreadsheet that made it easy for the four remote-drafting managers to enter picks as well as track picks being made at Draft Central, the draft hummed along efficiently, even breaking for 45 minutes for pizza after the eighth round.

The exciting first round held largely to form from an overall standpoint, with 13 of the 15 players being accurately forecast as first-rounders. Only Mike Moustakas (to Hickory) and Jason Kipnis (to Michigan) strayed from the mock draft prediction.

Two during-the-round trades jumbled the draft picture somewhat. After Michigan predictably took Tigers catcher Alex Avila and Springfield not surprisingly took slugger Alex Gordon, English took first baseman Eric Hosmer, but instantly packaged him with SS Starlin Castro along with picks 4 and 95 to Hickory for SS J.J. Hardy, P Felix Hernandez, the No. 9 pick and No. 103 pick. While teams tried to digest that, Hickory nabbed top pitching prospect Michael Pineda.

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‘We’re not off Poinciana anymore, Toto!’

Before you blindly point your rental car or personal vehicle to Poinciana Blvd. this weekend, be aware this year’s Strat House is in a completely different location from past years. See Dave’s 2/26 e-mail for directions.  Here’s the relative lay of the land with key landmarks for this year’s festivities. (Not shown: Tigertown…)

From Disney, be sure to get onto Formosa Gardens and not Toll Road 429; Formosa Gardens runs parallel to the highway and takes you to Canary Island, which crosses over the highway to the Windsor Palms community.