Published DateLACONIA — Sitting atop the Eastern Division of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Muskrats this week were ranked the fourth best summer collegiate team in the nation by Perfect Game USA, the premier scouting service in the country.
"We have never cracked the top 30 before," said Noah Crane, general manager of the Muskrats. "We're the only team in the league in the top 10 and we're ranked ahead of many teams in the Cape Cod League, the most prestigious of all the summer leagues," he observed. Crane said that the NECLB has established itself as one of the three best summer leagues in the country, behind the Cape Cod League and alongside the Northwoods League.
The rankings are based on the won-loss record of the team, strength of competition in the league and the quality of the roster, measured by the depth and caliber of players with the potential to play professional baseball. Crane said that the rankings of teams and assessments of players by Perfect Game USA command wide respect among those scouting talent for major league organizations.
"I always thought we would have a very good team," Crane said. "I believe this is really going to be a special season. We've played well without several players who will start or play a lot when they get here."
One is Ryan McBroom, a first baseman from the University of West Virginia who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals. Crane is also looking forward to Travis Watkins, a catcher who this spring started every game for East Carolina University as a freshman, and George Iskenderian, a middle infielder from the University of South Carolina.
After having a strong hitting team undone by weak pitching last season, Crane said that this year he made a concerted effort to find 16 strong, talent arms. "Our starting pitchers have gone deep into the game and kept us in a position to win," he said, "and we have guys in the bullpen who can get strikeouts in difficult situations."
"It's still early," Crane said, "we're looking to improve and keep or better that ranking."