By Nick Gerhardt
There’s no surprise who will start off the 2019 season at the top of the Class A rankings after St. Louis Park claimed its first title since 2008 when the Pirates beat Lyon’s Pub 2-1 in the championship game.
The Warriors impressed plenty by thwarting Minnetonka 2-1 in the game to reach the championship last season. Our pollsters still felt Lyon’s Pub and the Millers were too tough to pick one over the other. They begin the year both ranked No. 2.
The St. Paul Capitals fell to St. Louis Park in the winner’s bracket and Minnetonka in the loser’s bracket of the Class A state tournament last season. The Capitals will try for a longer run this season and enter the 2019 rankings at No. 4.
The St. Anthony Hogs, who bounced the might Millers, who were seeking a fourth consecutive state title, begin the 2019 campaign ranked No. 5 with Stockmen’s Irish, who bowed out in the semifinals of the winner’s bracket.
Take a look at the rest of the top 10 and strap in for another great season.
Paul Melchior — Minneapolis Mudcats
1. St. Louis Park - With their prodigious offense, the Bucs are the reigning champs of Class A, and the de-facto pre-season No. 1. Expect plenty of double-digit run totals in 2019.
2. Minnetonka - Sigh. What needs to be said? The Millers are the New York Yankees of Class A baseball. Tip o’ the cap to them.
3. Lyon’s Pub Warriors - Robby Schildgen leads a classy bunch of solid players on an evenly balanced squad. Last year’s state runners up will be tough again, and will vie for the Minneapolis city trophy.
4. St. Anthony Hogs - Adding to an already potent batting order, Los Cerdos added St. Anthony native son, Tim Duffy, to the lineup. The Hogs are a town team in the old sense, and went deep in the tourney last summer. Wiggins’ squad has added several youngsters to the mix for 2019. Could be their year.
5. St. Paul Capitals - Losing catcher Matt Halloran is a setback, but the Caps have connections. Expect them to be right back in the mix in 2019.
6. Stockmen’s Irish - Another strong club from the Skyline. The Irish will make another run toward Haddox come August.
7. Minneapolis Angels - With multiple AARP members at their core, Asmus’ Angels are a medical miracle. They are anchored by one of the best pitching staffs in amateur baseball. The boys in orange will be near the top of the PNASH again.
8. Minneapolis Cobras - The snakes are a bit of a wildcard this season with the departure of a couple key arms. They may have to resort to offensive shootouts to stay ahead of the pack, but they know how to win.
9. Rosetown A’s - A solid veteran squad from the St. Paul League should start where they left off in 2018. Perhaps only needing to walk up the hill for a post-game brew is their secret.
10. St. Paul Mudhens - When the entire flock is on the pond, this young squad is dangerous. Look for them to surge late in the summer.
Others to watch: Tri-City Shark, Kelley Fuels Diesel, Baseball365, Edina
Rick Tossey — St. Paul Capitals
1. St Louis Park - Defending champs.
2. Lyon’s Pub - Awesome tournament run last year.
3. Minnetonka Millers - Likely the lowest they will be ranked.
4. St. Paul Capitals - Five straight St. Paul league titles
5. Stockmen’s Irish - Very balanced team with high end pitching
6. Rosetown A’s - Great core of players and a lefty ace.
7. St. Paul Mudhens - Young team that made some solid offseason additions.
8. St. Anthony Hogs - My sleeper team for 2019.
9. Minneapolis Cobras - Always a solid hitting team
10. Kelley Fuels Diesel - Veteran lineup, very dangerous if they add pitching.
Matt Paulsen — St. Louis Park
1. St. Louis Park Pirates – It looks like last year’s state champs have pretty much the exact same lineup. So by the transitive property of end of season/beginning of season rankings they are numero uno.
2. Lyon’s Pub – The Pub proved to everyone last year that they were the real deal. They cruised through the always tough P-Nash. Eliminated Tonka in the semifinal and played a great championship game. Maybe this is the year that this team nabs its first title.
3. Minnetonka Millers – It is pretty rare that the Millers don’t finish in the top two teams. If I know Hoy, he has picked up some guy who was playing in the California Penal league who hucks 98 and they have their eyes on another title.
4. St. Paul Capitals – The Caps made a deep run last year again. I would be pretty surprised if they don’t come out mashing again.
5. St. Anthony Hogs – The Hogs were my Dark horse last year and I predicted that they make a deep run. They promptly surprised everyone but me when they beat Tonka in the first round. Well, maybe not everyone but for sure I wasn’t surprised, these guys are good.
6. Stockmen’s Irish – A nice showing in the postseason last year and this team seems to get better every year. If they don’t lose too many guys to college leagues they will be good.
7. Tri-City Shark – I very rarely see the Shark play but they were pretty impressive in the tourney last year.
8. Minneapolis Cobras – Mason has taken these animals into the next generation of mashers. They will miss JE (Urseth) but I have a sneaking suspicion that they will trounce a lot of teams.
9. Kelley Fuels Diesel – A lot of good teams can fit into the 9 and 10 spot, I am going with KF Diesel.
10. Edina Buckshot – Gave Tonka a tough run in the playoffs and were good every time I saw them.
Class A Rankings
1.St. Louis Park (30)
2. Lyon’s Pub (25)
2. Minnetonka (25)
4. St. Paul Capitals (20)
5. St. Anthony Hogs (16)
5. Stockmen’s Irish (16)
7. Minneapolis Cobras (8)
8. Rosetown A’s (7)
9. St. Paul Mudhens (5)
10. Minneapolis Angels (4)
10. Tri-City Shark (4)
Others receiving votes: Kelley Fuels Diesel, Edina Buckshot, Baseball 365