NPF Power Rankings: Canadian Wild Look Like Contenders
The 2019 National Pro Fastpitch campaign is well underway, and with three full weeks of action in the books, the league's top teams and players are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Now that the NPF's rookies have all reported to their respective squads, rosters have been filled out for the remaining two months of the season.
The Canadian Wild currently look like the league's top contenders for the 2019 Cowles Cup, thanks to a deep pitching staff that features eight arms that have all logged quality innings this season. The past week was highlighted by Team USA's exhibition series with the USSSA Pride and Chicago Bandits in Rosemont, Ill., which saw the NPF come away with two big wins.
See below for this week's NPF power rankings.
1. Canadian Wild (12–3)
It didn't take long for the Wild to make an immediate impact in the NPF during the team's first season in the league. Led by a stellar start from outfielder Jennifer Gilbert, who is currently batting .422 with 12 RBI and eight runs scored, the Wild are in first place in the league's standings. The Canadian squad's pitching staff is anchored by Jenna Caira, who has not allowed a single run in 24.2 innings pitched.
2. USSSA Pride (4–3)
Though the games over the weekend against Team USA were exhibition contests, USSSA's 7–3 win over the U.S. women's national team proved that it is, yet again, a force to be reckoned with. Despite the retirements of key players ahead of this season's start, along with Sierra Romero's campaign-ending ACL injury, the Pride are enjoying big-time contributions from young talent so far this year.
3. Chicago Bandits (5–2)
The Bandits also proved over the weekend that they can hang with, and even take down, Team USA. Chicago bested the American squad, 6–4, on Saturday night. Hannah Flippen showed out against Team USA, blasting two home runs and a double in Chicago's win over the national team.
4. Aussie Peppers (3–1)
Despite having played just four games so far in 2019, the Peppers have only been defeated once this season. The Aussie pitching staff has struck out 34 batters in 29 innings pitched, and has accumulated a collective ERA of 1.21 through four contests.
5. Cleveland Comets (2–7)
Even with their slow start, the Comets have shown flashes of what they are capable of achieving. Cleveland picked up its first win of 2019 on Friday night, defeating the first-place Wild, 4–2, behind a complete-game, seven-strikeout performance from rookie Taylor McQuillin. The Comets added another win on Sunday, defeating the Eagles, 8–2.
6. Beijing Eagles (1–10)
The Eagles have struggled thus far in 2019, dropping 10 of their first 11 games. A bright spot for the Beijing squad has been in the circle with the performance of NPF veteran pitcher Angel Bunner, who owns her team's only win of the season.