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  • Writer's pictureJAL

Ranking Every Rookie Class, Top to Bottom

JAL 14 projected rooke class

Aaron Gehring (Fog)

Asher VanHoof (Waves)

Austin Elf (Waves)

Colton Titus (Bambinos)

Kyle King (Storm)

Macee Utecht (underdogs)

Marcus Deyo (Express)

McKinley Franklin (Bison)

Taylor Yeo (Mafia)

We've got high hopes for the rookie class of JAL 14. It will take time though to see just how they'll go down in the history books. In anticipation, let's take a look at all the rookie classes from the past with rankings from best to worst one's.

*Note: There were no rookies in JAL 3, 7 & 8

#1 - JAL 12

Kyle Godinho (2 seasons) 1x MVP, 2x All-Star, 1x Pitching Crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 8-2

Nate Williamson (2 seasons) 1x MVP, 2x All-Star, 1x Pitching Crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 6-2

Tyler Traver (2 seasons) 1x All-Star, 1x Batting Crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 6-2

Brad Williamson: (2 seasons) 1x All-Star, 1x Champion --- career record: 8-2

Lane Traver (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Anthony Nusbaum (1 season) --- career record: 2-2

Nickolas Proudfit (1 season) --- career record: 1-1

Jeff Hamilton (1 season) --- career record: 1-1

Here's why this rookie class is already the best of all time despite having come into the league just 2 seasons ago.... They've already got 2 future Hall of Famer's! Both Kyle and Nate have already won MVP's and titles, which means even if they didn't make to HOF points for automatic induction, they would likely still get in one day through the honorary process.

The best part is how young this class is for everything they've collectively already accomplished. All 8 players except Lane Traver have been on a team that has made it to the Conference Finals, and only Lane has a career losing record. For goodness sake, half the class of JAL 12 already has a title to their name.

Perhaps the best explanation for the success of the JAL 12 class is to look at who gave these players their start. The Express, Rapids, Bambinos and Lynx have been the show runners in the modern JAL..... Just look at the WWCD Cup history. A lot of these players successes should be credited to the managers of those franchises who have helped by surrounded them with talent.

#2 - JAL 1

Brock Johnson (9 seasons) 2x MVP, 8x All-Star, 5x Pitching Crown, 2x Fielding Crown, 1x Batting Crown, 5x Champion --- career record: 26-10

Ty Johnson (9 seasons) 2x MVP, 8x All-star, 3x Pitching Crown, 3x batting Crown, 3x Fielding Crown, 3x Champion --- career record: 19-16

Cale Johnson (13 seasons) 4x MVP, 10x All-Star, 3x Batting Crown, 1x Pitching Crown, 4x Champion --- career record: 34-19

Kevin Johnson (10 seasons) 4x All-Star, 1x Batting Crown, 2x Champion --- career record: 19-20

Taite Kleine (6 seasons) 3x All-Star, 1x Batting Crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 17-7

Tierney Uhlenkott (8 seasons) 1x All-Star --- career record: 9-23

Rick Woodruff (2 seasons) --- career record: 1-5

Karley Eaton (1 season) --- career record: 3-1

Erika Halverson (4 seasons) --- career record: 3-9

Jillian Woodruff (2 seasons) --- career record: 0-3

Cathy Woodruff (2 seasons) --- career record: 0-4

Bob Woodruff (2 seasons) --- career record: 0-2

Top to bottom is the founding rookie class of JAL 1 great? No not at all. Are the top tier players of this class racking up the same amount of accomplishments in today's game as they did in the early goings of the league? Absolutely not. They are still playing and doing well for themselves though, and there is something to be said for the numbers they've got.

Think about when some of those numbers will be passed next? It could be a LONG, LONG time.

#3 - JAL 5

Darren Ayoub (5 seasons) 3x All-Star, 3x Fielding Crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 9-10

Bryce DesArmo (4 seasons) 1x MVP, 2x All-Star, 2x Fielding Crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 9-8

Stephen Todd (6 seasons) 2x Fielding Crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 14-12

DEFENSE!!! The rookie class of JAL 5 invented defense in this league. Combined they have 7/13 of the total all-time Fielding Crowns. Even in today's game, 9 seasons later, they are still regarded as the top 3 fielders in the league. It's hard to argue against the phrase "defense wins championships" in the JAL too when you consider each of these guys has a plate to their name...

In no other class do 100% of the players have a plate, and frankly, it's probably fair to assume no other class ever will again.

#4 - JAL 10

Michael Sullivan (2 seasons) 2x All-Star, 1x Batting Crown --- career record: 5-4

Jacob Rahn (4 seasons) 1x MVP, 1x All-Star, 1x Batting Crown --- career record: 7-8

Shawn Godinho (3 seasons) 1x All-Star, 1x Champion --- career record: 6-6

James French (4 seasons) 1x All-Star --- career record: 2-11

Mikel Skreen (3 seasons) --- career record: 2-8

Mason Klingberg (2 seasons) --- career record: 1-5

Josh Wall (3 seasons) --- career record: 1-8

If it wasn't for the top 3 players in the JAL 10 class, this group would be one of the worst. When you really look at some of these names though it's hard to figure out why they haven't done more. The problem seems to be that none have been consistent enough for their numbers to really start stacking up. All 7 of these guys are pretty good athletes for the most part, so why not more success collectively...?

#5 - JAL 9

Jordan Halverson (5 seasons) 1x MVP, 5x All-Star, 2x Pitching crown, 1x Champion --- career record: 12-10

Dustin Hamilton (2 seasons) 1x All-Star, 1x Batting Crown --- career record: 4-2

A small class, but a talented one. Jordan will likely qualify for the HOF class of 2017 this May, he only needs one more point to make it in. As for Dustin, if he could just live up to his potential he could be a real force in this league. We saw flashes of it in his rookie season, but he just hasn't been able to put it all together. Being on the underdogs for his whole career probably hasn't been a big help for him though. When he comes back from Europe and returns to the JAL (hopefully in a season or two) we'll see who he signs with for a fresh start.

#6 - JAL 13

Tyler Hudson (1 season) 1x All-Star, 1x Fielding Crown --- career record: 4-1

Joey Kiyohara (1 season) --- career record: 4-1

Alyssa Hudson (1 season) --- career record: 3-0

Aaron Diester (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Sean Guthrie (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Jaden Jantzer (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Michael McElroy (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Kaleb Carroll (1 season) --- career record: 3-0

Drew Scheffelmaier (1 season) --- career record: 2-2

Kalyn Paque (1 season) --- career record: 2-2

Lucas Myers (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Parker Williamson (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Colby Gaston (1 season) --- career record: 4-1

There's still a lot to be excited about from the most recent rookie class. On the flip side, however, there's a lot to be worried about. Already 5/13 of them have been cut by the team they were on and one was traded....

When almost half this class has already been deemed basically "not worth investing in" after just one season it doesn't look too good. Lucas Myers, Tyler Hudson and Colby Gaston could emerge as stars though with more experience, they showed potential in JAL 13. The biggest factors as to whether or not this class will be good though may end up coming down to how the 4 Wrecking Crew players in it end up being....

#7 - JAL 11

Adam Clark (2 seasons) 1x All-Star --- career record: 4-3

Ty Franklin (3 seasons) --- career record: 1-8

Luke Rahn (1 season) --- career record: 2-2

Adam Clark is obviously the best in this small group. His career is still very young and could end up having a pretty nice stat line before it's all said and done, especially if he gets himself removed from the underdogs franchise after JAL 13 like he's planning to do.

Why Luke Rahn hasn't been able to get signed since JAL 11 is a mystery....He hit the ball above average and is a low maintenance and reliable player.

#8 - JAL 4

James Manthe (2 seasons) --- career record: 3-4

Parker Gourde (1 season) --- career record: 2-1

Auna Dolan (3 seasons) --- career record: 1-8

This group was the first rookie class of the franchise era. Aside from that they really didn't do much. All three could do just fine in today's game still though, especially Manthe, but none are currently on a team anymore.

#9 - JAL 2

Kyle Koopman (3 seasons) 1x All-Star, 1x Champion --- career record: 7-3

This wasn't really a class, it was just a single player. Why Kyle Koopman doesn't sign himself to the team he now owns (Anaheim Storm) is a great question. He would make a positive difference.

#10 - JAL 6

Alex Allen (1 season) --- career record: 1-2

Erin Allen (1 season) --- career record: 0-3

Sarah Allen (1 season) --- career record: 1-1

The JAL 6 rookies were a family affair. Of them, Alex Allen was the best. He is, and could forever remain, the only player to hit a home run on his first career at bat.

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