|The question remains: Where will Max Scherzer pitch next season? Where in the Transaction League as well?|
BOSTON RED SOX
Koji Uehara saved 30 games for the A.L. East Division Champs, with a microscopic 0.65 ERA! He was probably the backbone to everything success for their pitching staff (after trading off starting pitchers Jon Lester, John Lackey & Jake Peavy) The funny thing is, his season doesn't even compare to the success of N.L's Javier Lopez (of the Giants). Brandon Workman really stepped up for Boston, jumping from the pen (in which he had a 1.73 ERA) to the rotation, finishing the season at 4-4, with a 2.83 ERA -- definitely out-performing his real-life 2013 version, although the WHIP was in the same neighborhood. The big talk of their second-half would have to be acquiring Joe Kelly, who went a perfect 11-0, 1.81 ERA & .929 WHIP in 89.1 innings -- Hello, can you say Doyle Alexander, anyone?! Alexander went 9-0, 1.53 ERA & 1.008 WHIP in 88.1 innings for 1987 Tigers, after being acquired from Atlanta for, yes... John Smoltz. Felix Doubront had to take a bigger role, and won 19 games, despite a 4.07 ERA. Craig Breslow happened to save 20 games, along with Uehara's 30, posting a 1.44 ERA. Daniel Nava finished 3rd in hitting (.340), with Shane Victorino ranking 6th at .319.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Alex Torres led the A.L. with 43 Saves, posting a 1.56 ERA & 70 K's in 57.2 innings. Alex Cobb carried the staff, after the team traded Price to Detroit -- becoming a 20-game winner for Tampa, while posting a 2.76 ERA & 209 K's (208.1 IP). David Price had a 14-3 record at the time of the trade, with a 2.29 ERA -- while Matt Moore (13-13) & Chris Archer (16-10) had respectable ERA's moving up a spot in the rotation. Jeremy Hellickson, was all wrong, losing 21 games (9 wins) with an awful 6.57 ERA in 196 innings. Evan Longoria led the Rays with 42 HR's, while Wil Myers batted .320, 19 HR & 53 RBI in 88 games (359 AB's). James Loney (.298 BA) & Ben Zobrist (.279) had productive seasons in Tampa's lineup as well.
The Orioles did not accomplish their goals this season, as they miss out on the post-season despite having a pretty-good rotation that held up, with two of the league's biggest HR hitters. Chris "Crush" Davis led the American League with 43 HR's, while Adam Jones had 37 HR's by leading the team with a .290 batting average & 190 hits. Nelson Cruz hit 26 HR's, despite having to serve his PED suspension -- in a limited 397 at-bats (109 games). Manny Machado (.285, 14, 77) broke out for the O's, while J.J. Hardy added 23 bombs, playing short. Wei-Yin Chen (3.61 ERA) led the team with 16 wins, while Darren O'Day picked up 36 Saves, going 1-5 with a 3.76 ERA.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Always the backbreaker for the Jays in recent years: The pitching staff -- Their starting pitchers that posted over 20 starts (J.A. Happ, Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey & Todd Redmond), had ERA's of 4.73 or higher! They did have two starters that did good for them in limited starts, Chad Jenkins (6-4, 2.48 ERA in 80 IP & 12 starts) & Aaron Loup (9-8, 3.07 ERA, 129 K's in 152.2 innings / pitched 64 game & had 13 starts). Sergio Santos was the one bright spot as a closer (on a bad team) with 33 SV's & 1.52 ERA. The Jays never had a problem with offense (for the most part) with Adam Lind being their best overall hitter, batting .279 with 33 HR's & tied for the team-lead with 98 RBI's -- with Jose Bautista, who led the team with 40 HR's. Jose Reyes, once again couldn't stay healthy, but did bat .291 when he did play (97 games, 375 AB's). Dioner Navarro was a beast behind the plate, in limited action -- .329, 16 HR & 49 RBI (.949 OPS) in only 240 at-bats!
NEW YORK YANKEES
The computer must have sensed that Mariano Rivera was going to retire, as it shifted the closing responsibilities over to David Robertson. Robertson led the team with 29 Saves (1.60 ERA), Rivera picked up 9 saves, along with 6 wins & a 2.04 ERA -- both pitchers blown 3 saves each. They were the only two that stood out in a pen full of players from Matt Thornton, Heath Bell, Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, Andrew Bailey & Rich Hill. The rest of the team was no different, Hiroki Kuroda (17-13, 3.00 ERA & 219 K's) shined as a starter among all the rubbish, Ivan Nova faired pretty nicely (9-10, 3.20 ERA & 134 K's). Poor Andy Pettitte finished 14-16, with a 4.73 ERA & C.C. Sabathia did even worse (10-20, 5.99 ERA). Carlos Beltran (.320, 37, 117) & Alfonso Soriano (.281, 34, 111) were the studs on offense, while Derek Jeter (231 AB's) & Alex Rodriguez (140 AB's) both batted under the Mendoza Line (.200 BA) -- with Mark Teixeira not doing much better at .203.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Royals in this "Replay with a Twist" wins the division a year early in 2013 with the 2014 Transactions that were laid out in front of them. The computer unfortunately at times goes with pitching grades or saves totals or both when determining a closer, in this replay, it decided to go with Louis Coleman (instead of Greg Holland) -- which pays off, as Coleman racks up 41 Saves & 72 K's in 49.1 innings, with a small ERA of only 0.73! Holland was no slouch, with 5 Saves & 1.79 ERA as the team's setup man. The bullpen contributed to a 22-11 record & 2.71 ERA (and this is 2013, K.C. can't wait until 2014). The Royals actually used James Shield in 33 innings of relief, in which he went 2-1, 0.82 ERA, with 30 K's -- the starting ace finished the season, 21-9 (tied for most victories), 2.54 ERA (4th), with 221 K's in 265.2 innings that spanned over 46 games, 32 starts, 3 complete games (all shutouts) & 21 quality starts. Other starters Jason Vargas, Bruce Chen, Jeremy Guthrie & Wade Davis all recorded 10+ wins, with ERA's ranging from 3.78 to 4.90. Danny Duffy started & pitched out of the pen, going 6-4, with a 2.80 ERA & 82 K's in 80 innings. Eric Hosmer led K.C. in hitting (.304), while free agent signee Omar Infante's .331 BA (474 AB's) didn't have enough PA's in that category. Hosmer also led team with 17 HR's & 102 RBI, winning the team's triple crown. Jarrod Dyson stole 38 bases in 40 attempts (95%).
Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer appear to be the front-runners for A.L. MVP & Cy Young. Cabrera was in the triple crown mix, but the lineup around him, could not help in the RBI department; Cabrera finished the season, winning the A.L. Batting Title (.377 -- 30 points over 2nd place Mike Trout of Angels), 42 HR's (2nd) & 108 RBI's (9th); Miguel also led league with a 1.112 OPS! Scherzer was as equally impressive, 17-11, 2.23 ERA (2nd) & 315 K's -- to go along with 24 quality starts (tied for league best). The Tigers happened to have the league's top 3 pitchers in ERA, Anibal Sanchez led the league at 1.99, while David Price who split time in Tampa & Detroit -- placed 3rd at 2.47. The Tigers also posted the top 3 strikeout artists in Scherzer, Sanchez (294 K's -- his 10.8 K's per 9 Innings - led league) & Justin Verlander (247 K's). This is the year that Verlander starts to appear to be human, he went 15-20, 3.96 ERA, 3 CG (all shutouts), 18 QS. Rick Porcello (13-10, 4.11 ERA) had his K numbers up a bit, with 163 K's in 175.1 innings. The Tigers' bullpen, usually their weakness, actually outperformed their real-life counterparts, Joba Chamberlain, Al Alburquerque & Bruce Rondon were the only blemishes in a bullpen that was led by Joe Nathan's 34 Saves & 1.48 ERA. Luke Putkonen was posted a surprise 1.56 ERA, with 3 wins & 35 K's in 34.2 innings, while Drew Smyly had a 2.09 ERA, 5 wins & 4 Saves, before getting traded to Tampa.
Torii Hunter hit .301, 16 HR & 86 RBI for the Tigers.
To see the Twins placing 3rd place at season's end is a bit of a surprise, their team doesn't match well with either Chicago or Cleveland -- yet, here they are 74-88, 3rd Place. The team had only one 10-game winner in Ricky Nolasco (10-14), posting a 3.29 ERA & 195 K's (227 IP) -- while Samuel Deduno (9-7, 3.46) & Kevin Correia (8-9, 3.81) did decent for the Twinkies. Glen Perkins served as the team's setup man (instead of closer) with a solid 0.84 ERA & 7 Saves & an outstanding 104 K's in 74.2 innings -- while their closer Caleb Thielbar saved 30, with 4 wins & 1.36 ERA, plus 58 K's in 53 innings of work. Anthony Swarzak was better out of the pen, then as a starter (2.47 ERA, 5 wins in 83.2 relief innings). The Twins had a lot of part-time players playing in their lineups, in fact it's difficult to figure out how many different lineups there was, with so many pieces moving from place to place. Oswaldo Arcia led the team with 20 HR's (400 AB's), Joe Mauer batted .327 with 13 HR's & 63 RBI in 443 at-bats, while Pedro Florimon played stellar defense with 12 HR's, 60 RBI & 26 steals in 434 at-bats.
Corey Kluber went 15-12, with a 3.72 ERA & 231 K's in a breakout year on a last place team. Danny Salazar (8-7) also made a statement, with his 3.40 ERA & remarkable 178 K's in 138.2 innings. Brian Shaw (8-8) pitched mostly out of the pen (6 Saves), but would start 10 games (out of his 70 appearances) -- Shaw posted a 4.10 season ERA (3.32 bullpen ERA). Cody Allen shined as the team's closer (4-0, 21 Saves & 1.33 ERA) -- with 75 K's in 61 IP. Carlos Santana was the team's best overall hitter - .286, 27 HR's & 99 RBI (leading the team in all three categories) -- while Yan Gomes batted .313, 17 HR's & 37 RBI in only 208 at-bats (78 games, half-a-season). The Indians had four players with 20+ steals -- Elliot Johnson was the surprising member of that group, stealing 21 of 23 bases; Jason Kipnis led the team with 31 steals.
The Rangers had a great mix of everything -- Good starting pitching, bullpen, lineup, power & speed. The speed may be the highlight of their season, they had three players with 40+ steals, including two teammates with 50+ in Leonys Martin (55-for-60, who led A.L.) & Alex Rios (51); Elvis Andrus had 42 steals -- The team stole 177 bases, with a 85.1% success steal rate. Adrian Beltre put up a solid season, batting .295, 30 HR's, while leading the A.L. with 129 RBI. Rangers get a chance here, to see what a healthy Prince Fielder could have done for them in the Majors, leading the team with a .313 batting average, plus 26 HR's & 99 RBI. Shin-Soo Choo tied for the team lead in runs scored (101) with teammates Rios & Fielder, while hitting .265, 20 HR, 71 RBI & collecting 24 steals of his own. Yu Darvish led the rotation (17-8, 2.82 ERA) with 244 K's in 207.1 innings, while three other starters Derek Holland (3.21 ERA), Alexi Ogando (3.23 ERA) & Martin Perez (4.71) all collected 15 victories each. The team's bullpen had a combined 63 Saves -- led by Neal Cotts' 42 Saves & teeny-weenie 0.78 ERA over 57.1 innings (70 K's). Tanner Scheppers led the A.L. with 108.2 innings out of the pen, to go along with his 98 K's, 7-4 record, 9 SV & 2.40 ERA -- while Robbie Ross went 4-2, with a 2.02 ERA (3 SV) in 58 innings.
Despite all the changes to their roster for the better -- It did not quite work out like that for Oakland as art imitated life in the Transaction League. Trade acquisition Jon Lester did finish in a tie for the league-lead in victories (21), with K.C.'s Shields -- he went 7-2 with a 2.62 ERA, 4 CG's (1 SHO) in 11 starts for Oakland; Lester finished with a 2.61 ERA (6th) for the entire season. A.J. Griffin did excellent for Oakland, going 14-5, 2.96 ERA with 165 K's -- while Scott Kazmir in his comeback, went 11-18, 3.57 ERA & 213 K's in 217 innings. Dan Otero's 22 Saves led Oakland, while Ryan Cook's 7 Saves came along nicely with his 2.31 ERA -- not to mention other solid bullpen guys such as Sean Doolittle (2.77 ERA) & Luke Gregerson (2.84 ERA). Josh Donaldson put up a monster year, batting .296, 38 HR's (5th) & 126 RBI (2nd) -- Donaldson only trailed Detroit's Cabrera & the Angels' Trout in both Runs Created & Runs Contributed, to help give you an idea of the season he had. Jed Lowrie had a solid under-the-radar season, batting .283, 17 HR, 82 RBI, 99 runs, with 174 hits. Craig Gentry stole 47 bases in 53 attempts (98 games).
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Mike Trout stood on top of the Angels' mountain when it came to their offense, there was a few guys near the bottom of the slope in Albert Pujols, David Freese, Howie Kendrick & Erick Aybar -- but overall, he was certainly on his own. Trout will most likely end up the runner-up to Cabrera in the A.L. MVP for the 2014 Transaction League; Trout finished 2nd in hitting (.347), with 25 HR's, 83 RBI & 207 hits -- adding 124 runs & 36 stolen bases. Pujols outperformed his Majors' version of 2013 stats, with a much-higher batting average of .290 (compared to .258), as his HR (14) and RBI (60) numbers reflected similarities to real-life, in 382 at-bats. Freese also did better than real-life, batting .289, with 7 HR & 60 RBI. J.B Shuck was batting .301 (382 AB's) before being shipped off to Cleveland. The team's top three starting pitchers did a solid job in C.J. Wilson (18-14, 2.97 ERA & 210 K's), Jered Weaver (10-10, 3.07 ERA & 191 K's) & Hector Santiago (16-10, 3.50 ERA & 176 K's) -- It was just a different story for the 4th & 5th slots of the rotation. Dane De La Rosa was the best overall reliever (6 wins, 10 SV, 17 holds) with a 2.14 ERA, while Joe Smith (3.67 ERA) led the team with 26 Saves.
Hisashi Iwakuma was used literally everywhere for the M's pitching staff in the Transaction League, he not only won 13 games (going 13-14), with a 2.59 ERA & 220 K's (278 Innings) -- some of those innings (49.2) were used in the pen, where he tied for the team lead in Saves (11); Iwakuma pitched in 52 games, with 31 starts, 8 complete games & 4 shutouts! Felix Hernandez went 14-15, 2.82 ERA, while leading the team with 244 K's & 9 complete games -- he collected 5 saves. James Paxton was brilliant in 12 starts for Seattle, going 8-1, with a 1.47 ERA & 81 K's in 79.1 innings. After that the starting pitching was in shambles, the bullpen was not great as well, as Yoervis Medina was the other Seattle pitcher to log 11 Saves for them (sporting a 3.02 season ERA, 2.91 bullpen ERA). Robinson Cano (no surprise here) was the team's best hitter, batting .276, 32 HR & 106 RBI, with 101 runs. Kyle Seager (21 HR & 84 RBI) & Justin Smoak (22 HR & 73 RBI) contributed to the lineup as well. Austin Jackson batted only .184 in 183 at-bats for Seattle, after being acquired from Detroit -- he batted .283 in Detroit at time of trade.
It's kind of difficult to win when your team has no stability to its starting rotation. Scott Feldman led the team in wins (12-18 record), but sported a 5.88 ERA in 217.1 innings (1.528 WHIP -- ouch!). In fact, for Houston pitchers with 20+ starts, Brad Peacock posted the lowest of that bunch in ERA, with a 5.31 mark (Peacock led team with 188 K's). Under 20 starts, their best starting pitcher was Brett Oberholtzer -- in which he went 6-6, with a 2.86 ERA & 76 K's, including a shutout in 100.2 innings. Veteran relievers Jesse Crain (31 SV & 1.33 ERA) & Chad Qualls (3 SV, 22 holds & 2.18 ERA) stood out for Houston. Jason Castro, the team's starting catcher, had probably the best overall season, batting .274, 18 HR & 67 RBI (492 at-bats), while Chris Carter led the team in HR's (29) & RBI (99). Jose Altuve's batting average was lower than usual at .241 (still leading the team with 151 hits), while hitting 31 doubles & stealing 32 bases. Castro, by the way, led the team with 42 doubles, not bad for a catcher.