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With two expansion teams this year, the first six picks in the PBA League Draft will be more important than ever.
The addition of the Las Vegas High Rollers and Brew City Ballers mean those two teams enter the draft with zero players on their roster.
When the 2020 PBA League Draft happens May 17 live on FloBowling at 7 p.m. Eastern, both teams will have a chance to chart the future for their franchise.
Because they are expansion teams, Las Vegas and Brew City will have a chance to get the six best available players in the draft. Las Vegas will have picks one, four and five, while Brew City will get the second, third and sixth picks in the draft.
Here’s FloBowling Senior Editor Lucas Wiseman’s rankings of the six best players available:
1. Sean Rash
Rash is widely considered the best available player in the draft after asking Brooklyn Styles manager Johnny Petraglia to drop him from the team in the offseason. No one in the draft pool has more titles than Rash (15) nor has had more success in recent years. Although being the best available player may not mean Rash is the first pick in the draft. In a team environment, individual talent isn’t always what matters most.
2. Francois Lavoie
After a dreadful early part of the season last year, Lavoie wasn’t even eligible to be drafted in 2019 and was left on the outside looking in on the PBA League. But a win at the 2019 U.S. Open late last year and a solid performance in the first half of 2020 has positioned Lavoie as a coveted player in the draft. He’s finished among the top 10 in three of the four major thus far in 2020.
3. Dick Allen
It’s no secret Allen loves Bayside Bowl, where the PBA League takes place. He’s won a title there and even bowled anchor at times for L.A. X last season despite being on a team with Jason Belmonte. That being said, Allen thrives in the PBA League environment and has as much experience in the league as any other player in the daft. There’s no doubt that Allen goes in one of the first six picks.
4. Ryan Ciminelli
After winning the Elias Cup last season, Portland Lumberjacks manager Tim Mack was forced with the impossible decision of who to drop from his roster. He elected to keep Wes Malott, Kyle Troup and Kris Prather while dropping Ciminelli and Mitch Hupe. It was a brutal decision for Mack but Portland’s loss will be either Las Vegas or Brew City’s gain. Astonishingly, Ciminelli struck nearly 70 percent of the time in his five years on Portland and will continue that success but likely for another team.
5. AJ Johnson
Although it seems on paper the top four best available players are pretty clear cut, after that it gets much murkier. And although Johnson has never won a PBA Tour title, his attitude and charisma are an absolute perfect fit for the PBA League environment. Johnson thrives off the crowd and the team environment although admittedly almost too much at times. He would be a perfect fit under the calm demeanor of Las Vegas manager Amleto Monacceli and could be a cornerstone of the team in the future.
6. Andrew Anderson
Two years ago everyone expected Anderson to be picked for the PBA League - everyone except the eight managers doing the drafting. That left a chip on Anderson’s shoulder, and he promptly went out and became the 2018 PBA Player of the Year. Although he has struggled mightily at times since winning POY honors, Anderson is the type of player either Las Vegas or Brew City could draft and keep on the team for years to come.