The inaugural season of the PBA League included the same eight teams we'll see in 2014, however, last season's rosters were chosen almost entirely by the draft (the only players who were not chosen in the draft were the top eight points leaders, who were named franchise players of their teams).
In 2013, teams consisted of five players plus an alternate, for a total of six on each roster. Another change for this season: fewer players. Each team will consist of five players, and those five players will be placed into competition by another new piece of PBA League competition: the team's general manager.
Following the conclusion of the inaugural season (won by the New York City WTT KingPins), each team was able to negotiate with their own players (whereas salaries were fixed based on draft position last season, they are negotiable this season), retaining some and watching others go. Then, each team filled four spots by the end of the free-agency period, and the fifth and final spot was filled in the one-round draft held at the conclusion of World Series of Bowling V.
Note: if a player doesn't have a salary next to his name, it's because that information is not yet available. All players will be receiving a salary as well as a share of their teams' prize money.
The Strikers, now run by player/manager Norm Duke (the only player/manager in the league), will resemble last year's team more than any other team in the league. Duke retained everyone he could from the previous season aside from Bryon Smith and Mike Wolfe (each team was only allowed to retain a maximum of four players), keeping the core of the team intact.
Because the Strikers retained the maximum of four, they were a non-factor in free agency, instead sitting back and waiting to see who would be available in the draft.
With the sixth pick in the draft, Duke selected Dave Wodka, previously of the L.A. X, to round out the five and solidify the Dallas Strikers roster for 2014.
Dallas Strikers Roster
- Owner: Terrell Owens
- General Manager: Norm Duke
The defending champions lost a huge piece when they couldn't come to terms with Tommy Jones, who left via free agency. Also not returning to the KingPins are Jack Jurek and Kelly Kulick, neither of whom signed on with another team.
General manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard was able to retain Scott Norton and John Szczerbinski and made a pretty substantial addition through free agency in Stuart Williams, formerly of the Atom Splitters.
With the eighth and final pick in the draft, Dorin-Ballard claimed Jake Peters, which was a bit of a surprise to the crowd in attendance (but it was one of those I-approve-of-this surprises, judging by the reaction).
New York City WTT KingPins Roster
- Owner: Billie Jean King
- General Manager: Carolyn Dorin-Ballard
- Pete Weber, $20,000
- Scott Norton, $17,750
- Stuart Williams, $14,750
- John Szczerbinski, $10,500
- Jake Peters
The Philadelphia Hitmen are more different than they're the same from the previous season, and based on the disappointing year they had, they probably needed a bit of a roster shakeup. Only two players return: Bill O'Neill and Mike DeVaney.
Mika Koivuniemi will be a huge loss for the Hitmen, as will Chris Loschetter, both of whom departed through free agency to other teams. Dick Allen and Dino Castillo are also gone from last season, although neither of them were picked up by other teams.
Two big free-agency signings should help soften the blow of those who left, as the Hitmen added Ryan Ciminelli and Dan MacLelland. The Hitmen had the second pick in the draft, and general manager Jason Couch was able to snag who many thought would be the number-one pick in the draft in Josh Blanchard. The new-look Philadelphia Hitmen are preparing to go far this year.
Philadelphia Hitmen Roster
- Owner: Kevin Hart
- General Manager: Jason Couch
- Bill O'Neill, $20,000
- Ryan Ciminelli, $16,000
- Dan MacLelland, $15,000
- Mike DeVaney, $12,000
- Josh Blanchard
4. L.A. X
L.A. X brings back three players from last season. There is one very noticeable exception from that roster, but in turn, a very notable addition. During the re-signing period, Jason Belmonte, Andres Gomez and Parker Bohn III stuck around, but a huge hole needed to be filled when Wes Malott opted to test the free-agent market. Also not returning are Dave Wodka (who was picked in the draft by the Dallas Strikers) and Ildemaro Ruiz, who was neither signed nor drafted by anyone for the 2014 PBA League season.
To fill the hole left by Wes Malott, general manager Andrew Cain lured Mika Koivuniemi away from Philadelphia to solidify the second spot on the roster. In the draft, L.A. X selected E.J. Tackett with the fourth pick, adding one of the most exciting young bowlers on the PBA Tour to the roster.
L.A. X Roster
- Owner: Chris Paul
- General Manager: Andrew Cain
Just two players return from last season's runner-up roster, as Mike Fagan and Mike Scroggins will try to take the title this year with some new teammates. Tom Smallwood and Ronnie Russell both departed and signed with new teams during free agency, while Jesse Buss, Brad Angelo and D.J. Archer (Motown had an extra player on their roster due to Angelo's injury last season) are now all without teams for the 2014 season.
Despite the substantial subtractions from the team, new general manager Del Ballard locked in Chris Loschetter and Ryan Shafer to fill the spots. Then, making the seventh pick in the draft, Ballard didn't try to hide the fact he was picking from Storm and Roto Grip staffers, and fortunately for him there was a substantial member of that staff left: Tom Daugherty, who many thought was a glaring omission from last year's PBA League competition.
Motown Muscle Roster
- Owner: Jerome Bettis
- General Manager: Del Ballard
The Brooklyn Styles expected more out of themselves last season. They had a good run during the events and made it to the stepladder PBA League finals, but ended up finishing fourth overall after losing the opening stepladder match. That didn't sit well with franchise player Sean Rash, as he wants to win every event he enters (obviously), so with a little retooling, Brooklyn plans to come back strong this year.
In one of the most surprising moves of the offseason, Ryan Ciminelli left Brooklyn, eventually signing with Philadelphia. General manager Johnny Petraglia, Jr. used that opportunity to grab Tom Smallwood off the free-agent market, who could turn out to be the steal of free agency. Jason Sterner got a well-deserved promotion to the second spot on the team behind Rash, and Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams, Jr. also returns for another year. Tom Hess, last year's supplemental pick, was not retained and didn't catch on with any other teams.
Brooklyn had the fifth pick in the draft, and Rash (Petraglia couldn't be in attendance to make the pick) selected a very grateful Michael Haugen, Jr., one of the players many feel was snubbed in the inaugural PBA League draft. Not this time, as he rounds out the formidable roster of the Brooklyn Styles.
Brooklyn Styles Roster
The Silver Lake Atom Splitters are the talk of the PBA League after the unexpected and impressive moves they made over the summer. Although their roster looked great on paper last season, it didn't translate very well to the lanes, and they finished a disappointing sixth, missing the finals.
New general manager Mark Baker, along with Chris Barnes, got to work figuring out how to give themselves an advantage. Apparently, raiding other teams was the way to do it. At first, it was a bit shocking to see Silver Lake part ways with Josh Blanchard and Stuart Williams, who both found their ways to other teams. Jon VanHees and Nathan Bohr also left the Atom Splitters but didn't catch on anywhere else.
People started to think something big was going to happen when Dom Barrett, a player who could've landed a number-two spot on most teams, signed on in the fourth position. Shortly thereafter, we learned why: Wes Malott and Tommy Jones were both joining the Atom Splitters.
Those two signings were the catalyst for the rest of the league to get moving, trying to get who they could before someone else snatched them up. Then, in the draft, with the third pick, Mark Baker selected Bryon Smith, formerly of the Dallas Strikers, who was coming off a very impressive showing at the World Series of Bowling.
Silver Lake looked good on paper before and it didn't work out so well. They look a little better on paper this time. How will it work out now?
Silver Lake Atom Splitters Roster
- Owner: Chris Hardwick
- General Manager: Mark Baker
Is it all right to refer to Pittsburgh's first season as disastrous? It tended to look that way, with the Jack Rabbits never able to get much going at all, finishing last and never threatening to make any sort of run. Whatever the reason, it earned them the first pick in the draft, and along with some free-agency moves, the Jack Rabbits are poised to compete - and win - this season.
They'll have to do it without Dan MacLelland, who left via free agency. That's obviously a huge hole to fill as MacLelland was one of Pittsburgh's bright spots last season, but general manager Tim Mack feels good about bringing in Ronnie Russell to replace MacLelland.
Also gone from last year's team are Thomas Larsen and Anthony LaCaze, neither of whom caught on with other teams and will be standing by in case someone needs an injury replacement. Martin Larsen and Patrick Allen both return, and they've both been bowling very well lately and should be able to get this team out of the cellar.
Having the advantage (or disadvantage, depending on your mindset) of the first pick in the draft meant Mack could complement his Pittsburgh roster any way he wanted, and he wanted the experience and reliability of Eugene McCune, another guy many thought was snubbed in the inaugural draft last year. The Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits are built to be versatile, and it'll be interesting to see how much of an impact these changes will have over the course of the season.
Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits Roster
- Owner: LaMarr Woodley
- General Manager: Tim Mack
- Osku Palermaa, $20,000
- Ronnie Russell, $17,000
- Patrick Allen, $13,000
- Martin Larsen, $12,000
- Eugene McCune