This year we are changing up the mid-season report. Our rumours, social media and stats committee have upped the content all year with the power rankings and more details analysis week over week, so rather than a midseason report on each team, we took a shot at something new. This year we have so many players having career seasons and outplaying their draft status. Our BSL Rumours Committee has come up with the All-Draft Team, the best picks from each round (plus the best Assistant GM and best GM) based on their performance thus far this season. Each players stats are put side-by-side to the stats of their draft-round counterparts to get a real sense of why these guys are worthy of recognition. Eleven of our BSL Writers voted and contributed to this piece, with four Ayyubids, four Ottomans, a pair of Mughals, and a single Mamluk and Nasrid rounding out the twelve players selected. Without further ado, here's your BSL Midseason All-Draft Team.
Round 1 (drafted 5th overall): Taha Iqbal - Ottomans
2018 Stats: 0.676 Hits: 25 RBIs:18 || Round 1 Player Avg: 0.586 Avg Hits: 19.3
A ring, gold glove, playoff MVP and four all-star selections. Think about it. With an awards collections rivalling that of Queen Elizabeth, Taha ‘Theatre’ Iqbal (because he puts on a SHOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW) has never needed to make his presence known to the softball world. He’s just existed. More impressive than the diCAPRIOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-like resume though, is his performance this season. In a first round full of keeper-calibre players, he shines the brightest. Taha ‘The Therapist’ Iqbal (because he puts on clinics OR because he should see one for his suppressed rage issues...that ‘LET’S GOOOO’ is legitimately terrifying) sits in the top ten of the entire league in every important stat. What do you want in a perfect player? Speed? Got it. IQ? Yup. Bat? Check. Voice that will scare your unborn children? 100%. Like his favourite actor, he instills Darr in his opponents, is a Baazigar with the bat and a Don of BSL. He gives his teammates hope when they’re down, saying Main Hoon Na.
You couldn’t ask for anything more and I for one cannot wait to see what else he does the rest of the season…LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO!
[written by Shahzad Ahmed]
Round 2 (drafted 15th overall): Ahmad Ammad - Ayyubids
2018 Stats: 0.636 Hits:21 HRs: 12 RBIs: 26 || Round 2 Avg: 0.583 Avg Hits: 16.3
If you ever wondered why they call Ahmad Ammad "Crazy," playing with or against him explains it pretty quickly. Though we can't say for certain where the nickname came from, his intensity and obsession over being the player in this League gives us an idea of the guy's mindset. Crazy hit nine home runs last year in royal blue, a number that far underestimates the punch he packed, as he often was handcuffed from going yard with his power-laden teammates maxing out the home run rule by the time his third at-bat came along. Now in a lineup where he has the green light to touch ‘em all every time he steps up, he's been smacking the ball over the centre field fence with no regard for human life. However, lost in all that
bicep circumference power is the fact that he’s a really, really good softball player. Crazy can go oppo. Crazy is a brick wall in the infield. Crazy's got a cannon for an arm and knows when and how to use it. Crazy is a smart and hard baserunner. And most of all, Crazy now understands the game and plays it like he's been doing it for years. Add all that to his insane drive, maniacal dedication and unparalleled work ethic? Crazy.
And to think, you actually wondered why they call him that.
[written by Hashim Ghazi]
Round 3 (drafted 18th overall): Umair Sheikh - Ayyubids
2018 Stats: 0.741 Hits: 20 Doubles: 10 || Round 3 Avg: 0.500 Avg Hits: 15.8
The man you love to play with, but hate to play against. The Ayyubids snatched up Umair Sheikh in the 3rd round, hoping that he would form part of the team's renaissance and lead them to BSL glory again. While humble is a word seldom attributed to Umair, who reminds this writer he is the “fastest guy in the league” and “will hit a homerun each time he strides towards the plate” (both complete falsehoods), on draft-day he played down his talents and quietly questioned whether he was picked too high. Five weeks into the season, the man has been Sheik'n & Bakin' and the Ayyubids have got themselves a steal. The only thing more jaw-dropping than his BSL picture and his dances moves are his batting stats. He finds himself with a league leading OBP, a top-3 batting average and in the top-10 for both Slugging and Extra Base Hits. His presence is also instrumental to the Ayyubid's success – with Umair on the field, the Ayyubids boasted a league-leading record of 7-1. In his absence? The team has gone 0-2.
If Umair can continue his current success, the faint whisper of BSL MVP may begin to become a chant – a chant that may be predominantly led by the man himself.
[written by Hassan Chaudhary]
Round 4 (drafted 26th overall): W K - Mamluks
2018 Stats: 0.692 Hits:18 RBIs: 16 || Round 4 Avg: 0.493 Avg Hits: 14.0
W K. W[redacted] "The Tank" K[redacted]. W[redacted] "The Dream" K[redacted]. Call him whatever you want...but this man is mashing. Drafted in the 4th round, W K is turning out to be an absolute steal. Coming off an MVP playoff performance, he has picked right up from where he left off, putting up an impressive .692 average that puts him at fourth in the league. In addition, many of those hits, 8 to be exact, are for extra bases, with five of them leaving the yard. Given his propensity for hitting the ball with such regularity and power, W K sits at 5th in slugging percentage as well. Add all this up and you have an absolute dynamo at the plate. However, he deserves a tremendous amount of credit for his play behind the plate as catcher, and for his work in the outfield as well. He has made every play when called upon, and been an absolute stellar teammate as well. He’s not only one to be his best at the plate, but also motivate others to raise their performance and believe in themselves. And I say that from experience!
Perhaps he should be called W[redacted] "The Steal" K[redacted]!
[written by Aamir Husainy]
Round 5 (drafted 37th overall): Mohsin Zubair - Ottomans
2018 Stats: 0.556 Hits: 20 || Round 5 Avg: 0.446 Avg Hits: 12.4
With the 37th pick overall in the 5th round of this years draft, the Ottomans chose outfielder Mohsin Zubair. I’ll be honest here – neither myself nor Hashim knew much about Mohsin outside of his stats and our pre-draft player rankings (we had him ranked way higher than 37 on our board). In fact, I don’t think I had even said a word to either Mohsin or his brother Hassan during their time in the league (mainly because I never knew which twin I was talking to). What we thought we were getting was a mild-mannered, serviceable outfielder with a decent bat who we could slot in the middle of the order. But what we got is one of the top lead-off hitters in the League who has yet to make an error in the field and has a cannon of an arm. Mohsin is batting 120 points higher than his lifetime average this year, and is already two hits away from matching his career high. His knowledge and insight into the game has also been a pleasant surprise, as I have been able to talk strategy with him, and receive valuable advice that has added to the Ottoman brain trust. We have so much trust in him, in fact, that Mohsin has replaced me in the field as our go-to LCF, allowing myself to move to right. And the best part? You can still see the potential for even more growth, as Mohsin is continually working on his swing and overall game.
I’m sure I speak for all the Ottomans in saying that we are lucky to have Mohsin as a teammate.
[written by Rehan Ahmad]
Round 6 (drafted 47th overall): Mohamed Kala - Ayyubids
2018 Stats: 0.618 Hits: 21 || Round 6 Avg: 0.423 Avg Hits: 13.4
Mohamed Kala, or Kala, as they call him, has outperformed his spot in the draft – a repeated trend year over year. Mo always exceeds expectations and continually moves higher and higher up the draft board, filling teams who passed on him with regret. Clockwork. This year in particular, Kala has been special on both sides of the ball. His acrobatic diving catches in the outfield may be a thing of the past (due to his position change this year), but he has been nothing short of stellar in manning first base for the Ayyubids. He has been a key component to our ranking as the team with the least errors not only by cleaning up when balls are hit to him, but by making his infielders look good with stretches, digs, and tip-toe snags at the bag. Kala has also been instrumental in mentoring the “not so consistent,” and has shown leadership worthy of a GM spot down the line – an opportunity we’ll see in the flesh this weekend at the midsummer tournament!
The Ayyubids will be making a serious run at the title this year, and having a strong “glue guy” in Kala greatly benefits the team from one through twelve.
[written by Jibran Khan]
Round 7 (drafted 50th overall): Faheem Kotwal - Ayyubids
2018 Stats: 0.567 Hits: 17 || Round 7 Avg: 0.352 Avg Hits: 9.3
After a disappointing and career-worst season with the Ayyubids last year, Faheem Kotwal has turned it around to gain the honors of being a part of this year’s all-draft team. The Ayyubids have four players on that team this year and we can assume that they are doing something no other team is doing – practice. Faheem is an example of that paying off, as he can be seen hitting 200ft effortlessly. It’s not just that for Faheem; management brought him back knowing he has the potential to surprise even after a disastrous 2017. Batting a career average of .357 before this season, he certainly measured beyond his draft value by going .567 thus far, and the value isn’t just from the batter’s box. Kotwal has been reading the ball like his good ole 2014 days when he picked up a gold glove for his defensive efforts. In fact, Faheem hadn’t hit a homerun since Week 1 of BSL Season 1, and finally got himself another one this year to add to his successful campaign. Although his injuries have played a part in his decline, his athletic history always hinted that he could be the trusty player he’s been this season.
It looks as if he will help his team battle for first place this year, and participate in his first playoffs weekend since Year 1 – when everyone made the playoffs.
[written by Zain Khilji]
Round 8 (drafted 61st overall): Riyad Ramjaun - Mughals
2018 Stats: 0.480 Hits: 12 || Round 8 Avg: 0.362 Avg Hits: 9.4
As the only Merchant brother to have not played with Riyad Ramjaun, I was excited to land him at this stage of the draft after hearing so much about what he brings to the table. Every team needs a utility guy that can play multiple positions and not get phased by being moved around. Not only does Ramjaun fill that need as the defensive infield utility role for the Mughals, but he does it very well. Riyad is also having a career year with the bat, hitting a cool 0.480 at the break. As one of a couple of players on this list that play in BSL Nights, the extra reps have clearly helped RR take his game to the next level. While his stats are impressive, it's the intangibles and positive attitude that sets Ramjaun apart. He is a student of the game that is always looking for ways to improve his game and help out his teammates. Riyad is everything you want in a teammate – he plays well, he plays hard, he plays with class, and he plays to win.
An unfortunate injury has set him back in the last few weeks but expect Riyad to come back ready for the home stretch and help the Mughals secure the role of spoiler in the playoffs.
[written by Zahid Merchant]
Round 9 (drafted 67th overall): Asim Gauhar - Nasrids
2018 Stats: 0.440 Hits: 11 || Round 9 Avg: 0.310 Avg Hits: 8.3
Asim Gauhar might just be one of the most low-key personalities in the league. His game this season has been anything but. After he inexplicably fell to the 9th round of the draft due to a below average performance last year, the Nasrids management ensured he wouldn't slip past them at pick #67. He's hit greater than .500 ball for the majority of the season and after just eight games, he has nearly equaled his career high for hits in a season. He also has been a steady glove at first base for the Spaniards. Playing in another weekday Barbican league has surely helped his cause. What's funny though, and I'm sure this is not lost on him, is that this isn't the first time he's putting up strong numbers. He has proven time and time again that he can post big numbers but GMs don't seem to be doing their homework. His teammates know his value lies beyond the numbers though. He holds himself to a high standard of character, and his calm and relaxed persona is something I personally try to emulate in the heat of the competition (even though I generally fail miserably). The icing on the cake though (besides his hilarity in the dugout and the team groupchat)? You'll never hear him complain. His approach will always be the same whether he bats 1 or 12, or whether he plays first or catcher. That alone makes him valued way above a second-last round pick.
Look for Asim to continue his strong play for the remainder of the season insha'Allah.
[written by Ibrahim Sardar]
Round 10 (drafted 76th overall): Zia Ali - Ottomans
2018 Stats: 0.435 Hits: 10 || Round 10 Avg: 0.301 Avg Hits: 5.4
See ball, hit ball. It's that simple for Zia Ali. A guy that's way too hard on himself has simplified his approach to the game this season and it's paying major dividends. Over his four years in the League, he has shown can be a run producer, but it was far too inconsistent. So rather than going to the lab and cooking up some brand new elaborate recipe on how to approach the plate, he kept it simple - see ball, hit ball. The result? Zia is hitting the stitches off the yellow despite being a last round pick, outperforming players drafted fifty picks ahead of him. It's not only that he's hitting the ball well, it's also that he knows which pitches he hits well. If you ask the Ottomans, it's his patience at the plate that impresses the most. Zia has four walks on the season to go with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs. He has the plate discipline to wait for a pitch he likes to come his way, and when it doesn't, he can trot to first and rely on teammates to bring him in. No self-induced pressure. No overburdening expectations. No need to overthink. Just see ball, hit ball.
Steal of the draft and I refuse to be told otherwise. Also, he now shows up on time, which is very much welcomed.
[written by Hashim Ghazi]
Assistant GM: Rehan Ahmad - Ottomans
2018 Stats: 0.767 Hits: 23 RBIs: 33 || AGM Avg: 0.621 Avg Hits: 20.5
Before the start of every BSL season, Rehan Ahmad walks up dejected to his friends and makes a confession: "Guys, I think I'm going to be garbage this year. I traveled all year, hung around with my buds (Steven Stamkos, Auston Matthews, Ronaldinho, and Salt Bae, to name a few), I’m another year older, and I have gained weight – guys, I’m telling you this is the year. This is the year I am going to lose it." If you’re a common man, you’ll start rejoicing and think “wow, he’ll probably just hit 10 homeruns this year instead of 15 he usually does – I think there will be better parity in the league now.” Right? WRONG. You’ll soon realize that you were duped and feel a kick to your nether regions when Rehan ‘The Great Kabuki’ Ahmad nun chucks three homeruns against you. While an All Star spot is virtually locked down, Ahmad is making an unprecedented run for season MVP, the triple crown, gold glove and the best offensive player awards. For the season, he’s leading the league in RBIs and his OBP+ of 2.688 is remarkably .300 points better than the second best. In addition to his mind-boggling offensive stats, he’s also top-3 in walks and has been walked on more than 20% of his at-bats. Damnit, no wonder his OBP is through the roof every year. So, what is one thing that Ahmad can’t do on a softball field? Lift the BSL Trophy – there, we said it!
While BSL Bugle Squad was specifically instructed not to awaken the steroid-infused sleeping lion, this reporter turned out to be an insider and might have given ‘Captain BSL’ enough motivation to turn from The Great Kabuki to Ric Flair – WOOOOO!
[written by Taha Iqbal]
GM: Zahid Merchant - Mughals
2018 Stats: 0.590 Hits: 23 || GM Avg: 0.521 Avg Hits: 13.8
Zahid Merchant, aka Ziggy, has once again proven through the first half of this year why he is considered over year the top GM year-over-year. With both his batting prowess and pitching, he’s one of the few duel threats in the league. This year has been no different, as he is tied for 3rd in the league with 23 hits and sports a strong .590 batting average. Additionally, he is tied for 2nd among qualified pitchers in strikeouts and also sports an ERA under 10. Rumour has it he’s been practicing his curve ball so much on the side of his house that he’s replaced the neighbours windows a number of times already. This year has been more of a struggle for his Mughals with attendance and batting issues leading to a fringe playoff-position. It’s only a matter of time until he figures out what’s been plaguing the Mughals this year to turn that ship around, as he’s done in the past. What you can always rely on is Ziggy’s consistency in all facets of the game, including his leadership. He has worked with his team and has taken their game to the next level by coaching them in all facets. You can always hear his war cry when he’s looking to pump up his team no matter what the situation – even if it means rooting on the opponent with his head scratching “Gooooooo Mamluks…I mean…Mughals…Go.”
He is one of the best teammates and a GM who will consistently push you to be better and work with you to get you there.
[written by Riyad Ramjaun]