It's official, the first player from the historic Griffleball League based out of Griffith Indiana has registered for Leroy's 2018 season. Jackson Buzea hopes to make his LWA debut on May 9 in a decision that will change the whole landscape of Leroy in 2018, so let's get to know him.
Although he will be considered a rookie heading into the season, he already has made a name for himself in the national scene and his home league of GBL. He has pitched in both 2016 & 2017 Regionals and Nationals. A career 3.53 E.R.A. and a 3-2 record in 17 innings pitched, including a 2.8 K/BB ratio. He has 83 plate appearances in his 2 years which include 2 homers and a 0.578 on base percentage. He also has 10 games under his belt in the field proving what a crucial part to the GBL team he has been the last two years.
His pride and join is the Taka Drivers, 2017 GBL Champions. He formed the team in 2015 and led them to a 13-7 season, only to lose the opening round. Fast forward 2 seasons later and Taka knocked out the Gashouse Gorillas in a 7 game series for the ages. Gashouse had won 5 straight World Series up to that point and it was a huge hurdle for Jackson and team manager Ryan Voges. Jackson's numbers were impressive from both the mound and the plate. A 6-1 Record to go with a 32-3 K-BB ratio, as well as a 1.56 ERA in 32 innings pitched, the most for the Taka Drivers. His batting numbers included a 15 Homer, 37 RBI, 0.425 batting average.
Everyone knows GBL has a extremely different style of play that some don't even consider to be "Wiffle" due to the fact they don't use the official Wiffle Balls. With that being said Leroy's rules force players to be 3-Way players. Everybody on the team is in the batting lineup, every player must pitch at least one inning in a game, and must field an inning. This set up will play great into a guy like Buzea who enjoys being a part of all aspects of the game.
The Leroy landscape was changed dramatically last season with the influx of ORWBL players, forcing the league to add a team early in the season as well as expand to 11 teams for the 2018 season. It also forced expanded rosters to be introduced in the upcoming year. New players must join the free agent pool to start the year similar to a minor league system. When team's need a sub, free agents will be called into up and play for the squad that day. Once a player like Jackson has 4 games (2 weeks played) under his belt he will go through waivers with any of the 11 teams being able to sign him based on salary implications. New to this season is expanded rosters, on June 1 teams may add a 5th rosters spot. On July 1, teams may add a 6th as they finalize the roster going into the playoffs. So the question to watch is not if he will land on a team this season, but when and to who.
One of the greatest things to watch is a player get introduced to organized wiffleball and watch the progress through the years as he improves year to year. The only problem is sometimes he can be a slow process and it may take a year or more for that player to finally get accumulated to all 3 facets of the game. Players like Buzea are instant game changers, they have innings and plate appearances under their belt. We got a glimpse of that last year when players like Shane Anderson and Alex Friedman led a team to the semi finals. Jackson will be a story all year as he looks to grab rookie of the year, keep an eye on him.
For anyone else interested in joining the league who did not play in the 2017 season we would love to have you join! The first couple weeks in May will be up for grabs with many roster spots being open with player in college. Head to Leroywiffle.com and click 2018 Registration, from there we will get in contact with you on the new season. Opening day is May 9! Don't miss the action this year!!
Be sure to check out the tab that says "Teams" as well. You get information and updates on every team when you click the team logo. Also toward the bottom of the Team Page is a button that says Free Agents, this leads you to a page that gives all the latest rumors, news, and current players who could be signed in the 2018 season.