The Second Ok Listen Here Sports Minor League Monday looks slightly different this year! Last year, we put every minor league team based out of North Carolina on a power rankings system and judged where they should go in the rankings with a strong recency bias. Teams winning games, hitting in a bunch of runs, and having good days on the mound found themselves at the top of our list, and at the end of the season, the hottest team was crowned our Inaugural Minor League Monday Champion.
This year, we are changing things up ever so slightly. First, we will keep our ten-team format, but we will not be selecting teams strictly from North Carolina. We are leaving it up to you, the reader, to nominate teams to participate in this year's Minor League Monday.
How we crown our champion this year will be different as well! Instead of the hottest team at the end of the season being crowned our champion, we will be assigning points to each team every week. Our first-place team will receive 10 points, second place 9 points, third place 8 points, and so on until we reach tenth place, who will receive 1 point. At the end of the season, whichever team has accumulated the most points will be crowned our champion!
In this year's Minor League Monday, and every year following, we will give automatic bids for the next year's competition to the Top-3 Teams. That being said, we would like to introduce the first three teams selected into the 2022 Ok Listen Here Minor League Monday competition!
First off, we have last year's Minor League Monday Champion and arguably the best Minor League team in the nation, the Durham Bulls. Last year, we saw the Bulls essentially dominate the Minor League Monday competition, hardly ever falling out of the Top-3. The Low-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays ended the 2021 season as Triple-A East Champions and Triple-A Final Stretch Champions. With the highest run differential in Triple-A baseball at +238, the Bulls would finish their 2021 season with a 72-48 regular-season record.
As mentioned before, the Bulls could have made a solid case for being the best Minor League team in the nation last year. Though we do not know seven of the ten teams in this year's competition yet, we fully expect the Bulls to be a strong contender this year.
The second team to automatically have a spot in this year's Minor League Monday is the 2021 #2 team, the Down East Wood Ducks! Last year, the Wood Ducks consistently bounced around the top half of our standings, and had it not been for the Bulls' dominating season, it would have been a no-brainer they would have won it all. In 2021, the Texas Rangers affiliate finished #2 in the Low-A East behind the Charleston RiverDogs with a 72-48 record.
It is hard to predict where we think the Wood Ducks will finish this year since we still have several teams to select. But, with consistency, Down East may find themselves contending for the title at the end of the season!
The third and final team we will introduce this week is the 2021 Minor League Monday fan-favorite, the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Last year, the Grasshoppers found it very difficult to lose a series. As a result, they finished the season with only two series losses. With a record of 74-26, the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate would finish out the 2021 season #2 in the High-A East.
This year, consistency matters a little bit more than just being hot for a week or two. In last year's competition, the Grasshoppers were easily the most consistent team behind the Durham Bulls. Hopefully, the Grasshoppers will be better than last season and turn some of those tied series into winning series. If they can do this, we may see a title thrown their way at the end of the season.
Next Monday, we will announce our next four teams participating in this year's competition. The following Monday, March 21, we will announce the final three teams, and on March 28, we will release our preseason rankings! Comment below to nominate teams you would like to see in this year's Minor League Monday Series!