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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Which Division Won the Fantasy Battle?

On Monday, we’re going to start our Team Previews (more on those at the bottom), which for us is when the 2014 season really begins. But how can we put a bow on the 2013 season? Well, since we break up those previews week-by-week by division, why don’t we just see which division was the best in 2013? Sounds good to me.

Rosters were comprised of 1 Catcher, 1 First Baseman, 1 Second Baseman, 1 Shortstop, 1 Third Baseman, 5 Outfielders, 2 Utility Guys, 5 Starting Pitchers, and 2 Closers. I used standard roto scoring. So, since there are six divisions, the best division in each category received 6 points, while the worst received 1. Also, the standard categories of Runs, HR, RBI, SB, and Batting Average were used for offense, while Strikeouts, Wins, Saves, ERA, and WHIP were used for pitching.

Players were chosen based on the team/division they played for in 2013. So, for the sake of this discussion, Robinson Cano is still a member of the New York Yankees and in the American League East. If a player split his time between teams in different divisions (ie: Alex Rios), he wasn’t eligible. It didn’t come up, but a player like Edinson Volquez who played on two different teams in the same division (San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers), would have been fine. Since 2013 teams and divisions were used, I also used 2013’s position eligibility.

Enough hearing about the labor pains, let’s see this baby!

 
AL East
AL Central
AL West
NL East
NL Central
NL West
Total333634.53335.538
Runs1042 (5)997 (4)955 (3)911 (2)1087 (6)882 (1)
HR283 (6)219 (1)242 (4)239 (3)231 (2)269 (5)
RBI1046 (6)960 (5)907 (2)870 (1)916 (3)940 (4)
SB163 (4)137 (3)204 (5.5)133 (2)204 (5.5)125 (1)
AVG.286 (3).288 (4).278 (1).285 (2).293 (5).299 (6)
Offense241715.51021.517
K865 (1)1239 (6)1111 (3)1114 (4)1119 (5)1080 (2)
W70 (1)77 (3)78 (4)75 (2)82 (6)81 (5)
SV65 (2)83 (5)81 (4)84 (6)54 (1)66 (3)
ERA2.90 (2)2.89 (3)2.88 (4)2.67 (5)2.99 (1)2.64 (6)
WHIP1.093 (3)1.101 (2)1.092 (4)1.018 (6)1.136 (1)1.065 (5)
Pitching 91919231421
So, in 2013, here’s how the six divisions ranked in a fantasy battle.
Rank
Division
Points
1.National League West38
2.American League Central 36
3.National League Central35.5
4.American League West34.5
T-5.American League East33
T-5National League East33

Okay, now, how did I arrive at these numbers?

 

– OFFENSE –

American League East: Offense

Pos.
Player
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
Totals6687191310422831046163.286
CMike Napoli4981297923921.259
1BChris Davis584167103531384.286
2BRobinson Cano60519081271077.314
3BEdwin Encarnacion53014490361047.272
SSBen Zobrist61216877127111.275
OFJacoby Ellsbury5771729295352.298
OFAdam Jones6531861003310814.285
OFShane Victorino47714082156121.294
OFJose Bautista4521178228732.259
OFBrett Gardner5391478185224.273
UT David Ortiz51816084301033.309
UTDustin Pedroia6411939198417.301
Notes: This division will likely have a very different look in 2014. Mike Napoli won’t have catcher eligibility to start the year and probably won’t pick it up, while the same is true for Edwin Encarnacion. The loss of Robinson Cano will hurt, but Dustin Pedroia isn’t exactly a slouch at 2B, Evan Longoria would have been the next up for the 3B position, and Brian McCann will be catching. Definitely a hitter’s division, and I wouldn’t look for that to change.

American League Central: Offense

Pos.
Player
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
Totals71032043997219960137.288
CVictor Martinez6051826814830.301
1BEric Hosmer62318886177911.302
2BJason Kipnis56416086178430.284
3BMiguel Cabrera555193103441373.348
SSAlexei Ramirez6371816864830.284
OFTorii Hunter6061849017843.304
OFAlex Gordon63316890208111.265
OFAlejandro De Aza60716084176220.264
OFMichael Brantley55615866107317.284
OFAustin Jackson5521509912498.272
UTPrince Fielder62417482251061.279
UTCarlos Santana5411457520743.268
Notes: Pretty strong in RBI production and while Miguel Cabrera helps that, it’s not as dramatic as you’d probably think. Overall, though, a little light on the power for an AL division, although they measure up just fine in most other offensive categories. Victor Martinez will lose eligibility at catcher, but with Carlos Santana and Salvador Perez waiting and Joe Mauer playing a full season’s worth of games with catcher eligibility without having to actually catch, I’m not expecting a big drop.

American League West: Offense

Pos.
Player
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
Totals64741801955242907204.278
CJason Castro4351206318562.276
1BMark Trumbo62014585341005.234
2BJose Altuve6261776455235.283
3BAdrian Beltre6311998830921.315
SSElvis Andrus6201689146742.271
OFMike Trout589190109279733.323
OFCoco Crisp51313493226621.261
OFLeonys Martin4571196684936.260
OFBrandon Moss4461147330874.256
OFNelson Cruz4131104927765.266
UTJosh Donaldson5791748924935.301
UTIan Kinsler54515185137215.277
Notes: Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols stepping their games up wouldn’t exactly hurt this division’s cause in 2014, neither will the acquisition of Prince Fielder by the Texas Rangers.

National League East: Offense

Pos.
Player
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
Totals61891761911239870133.285
CBrian McCann356914320570.256
1BFreddie Freeman55117689231091.319
2BDaniel Murphy65818892137823.286
3BDavid Wright43013263185817.307
SSIan Desmond60016877208021.280
OFJayson Werth46214784258210.318
OFJustin Upton5581479427708.263
OFDominic Brown4961356527838.272
OFBryce Harper42411671205811.274
OFDenard Span6101707544720.279
UTRyan Zimmerman5681568426796.275
UTChase Utley4761357318698.284
Notes: This division is clearly based in pitching, as they didn’t rank in the top half of a single offensive category. Still, there’s a lot of youth in this group in guys like Bryce HarperFreddie Freeman, Dominic Brown, and even Justin Upton. They’ll have a void to fill at catcher with McCann moving to the AL East.

National League Central: Offense

Pos.
Player
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
Totals680419941087231916204.293
CYadier Molina5051616812803.319
1BJoey Votto58117710124736.305
2BBrandon Phillips60615880181035.261
3BMatt Carpenter62619912611783.318
SSJean Segura58817374124944.294
OFAndrew McCutchen58318597218427.317
OFCarlos Gomez53615280247340.284
OFMatt Holliday52015610322946.300
OFShin-Soo Choo569162107215420.285
OFStarling Marte51014383123541.280
UTJay Bruce62616489301097.262
UTCarlos Beltran5541647924842.296
Notes: Stacked division. How stacked? When I was checking the rankings and putting the team together, I missed Andrew McCutchen the first time, and the outfield was still loaded. Of course, I double-checked and as you can see, Cutch is there (Allen Craig got the boot, in case anyone was wondering). The likely loss of Shin-Soo Choo and definite loss of Carlos Beltran may do some damage but remember, Ryan Braun will be back for a full year in 2014, and we’re expecting good things.

National League West: Offense

Pos.
Player
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
Totals58741756882269940125.299
CWilin Rosario4491316321794.292
1BPaul Goldschmidt6021821033612515.302
2BMartin Prado6091727014823.282
3BHanley Ramirez30410562205710.345
SSTroy Tulowitzki4461397225821.312
OFHunter Pence62917891279922.283
OFMichael Cuddyer48916274208410.331
OFCarlos Gonzalez39111872267021.302
OFWill Venable48112964225322.268
OFYasiel Puig38212266194211.319
UTAdrian Gonzalez58317169221001.293
UTBrandon Belt5091477617675.289
Notes: Kind of the opposite as the AL Central. A division with a good batting average, as well as strong HR and RBI totals should score more runs. Unfortunately, you notice a lot of guys like Hanley RamirezYasiel PuigTroy TulowitzkiCarlos Gonzalez, and Michael Cuddyer that put up great numbers, but missed substantial time. These guys getting a full year, plus stars like Buster Posey and Matt Kemp doing what they’re capable of in 2014 will help this division’s standing.

 

 — PITCHING –

American League East: Pitching

Role
Player
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-SV
ERA
WHIP
Totals984.1839-23731786570-652.901.093
SPClay Buchholz108.175-36219612-01.741.025
SPChris Tillman206.1184-688517916-03.711.221
SPDavid Price186.2178-276915110-03.331.098
SPAlex Cobb143.1120-454413411-02.761.151
SPHiroki Kuroda201.1191-437415011-03.311.162
CLKoji Uehara74.133-991014-211.090.565
CLMariano Rivera6458-915546-442.111.047
Notes: It’s such a tough division for pitchers, it’s not a huge surprise that the best seasons came from the guys who were either relievers, or missed significant time like Alex Cobb and Clay Buchholz. Lastly, farewell Sandman. You will be missed.

American League Central: Pitching

Role
Player
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-SV
ERA
WHIP
Totals1162946-333373123977-832.891.101
SPMax Scherzer214.1152-566924021-02.900.970
SPChris Sale214.1184-467322611-03.071.073
SPAnibal Sanchez182156-545220214-02.571.154
SPJames Shields228.2215-688019613-03.151.238
SPJustin Masterson193156-767419514-03.451.202
CLGreg Holland6740-1891032-471.210.866
CLGlen Perkins62.243-1516772-362.300.926
Notes: Some may expect some regression in 2014 from guys like Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. I’m not sure I completely buy that, but even if it happens, I’m expecting a resurgent season from Justin Verlander. This isn’t a great division top-to-bottom, but it’s very strong at the top, especially with the Detroit Tigers pitchers.

American League West: Pitching

Role
Player
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W
SV
ERA
WHIP
Totals1151.1957369111178812.881.092
SPYu Darvish209.2145-80662771302.831.073
SPHisashi Iwakuma219.2179-42651851402.661.006
SPFelix Hernandez204.1185-46692161203.041.131
SPBartolo Colon190.1193-29561171802.651.166
SPA.J. Griffin200171-54851711403.831.125
CLJoe Nathan64.236-2210736431.390.897
CLGrant Balfour62.248-2718721382.591.197
Notes: The closers will be different next year, with Joe Nathan and Grant Balfour both out of the division. Still, you’d have to figure that the acquisition of Jim Johnson by the Oakland Athletics will help matters. Also, the division’s pitching would look a little better if some of the Los Angeles Angels begin pitching like their contacts say they should.

National League East: Pitching

Role
Player
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-SV
ERA
WHIP
Totals1128.1900-249335111475-842.671.018
SPCliff Lee222.2193-327122214-02.871.010
SPJose Fernandez172.2111-584218712-02.190.979
SPMatt Harvey178.1135-31451919-02.270.931
SPJordan Zimmermann213.1192-407716119-03.251.088
SPMike Minor204.2177-467318113-03.211.091
CLCraig Kimbrel6739-209984-501.210.881
CLSteve Cishek69.253-2218744-342.331.077
Notes: No Stephen Strasburg? No Gio Gonzalez? No Cole Hamels? No Kris Medlen? No problem, no problem, and no problem. This division is absolutely loaded with pitching and while the loss of Matt Harvey will hinder that in 2014, there are plenty of guys in reserve to keep the pitching in this division as strong as ever.

National League Central: Pitching

Role
Player
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-SV
ERA
WHIP
Totals1130.1984-304376111982-542.991.136
SPAdam Wainwright241.2223-357921919-02.941.068
SPMat Latos210.2197-587418714-03.161.210
SPHomer Bailey209181-548119911-03.491.124
SPShelby Miller173.1152-575916915-03.061.206
SPFrancisco Liriano161134-635416316-03.021.224
CLAroldis Chapman63.237181124-382.541.037
CLMark Melancon716011703-161.390.958
Notes: Big winners from this division. It helps that nobody came from either of the bottom-two finishing teams. It’s not a huge surprise that ERA and WHIP took a hit, as this is a tough division to pitch in. The names to watch here are Shelby Miller and Homer Bailey, along with youngsters like Gerrit Cole.

National League West: Pitching

Role
Player
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-SV
ERA
WHIP
Totals1152.1934-293338108081-662.641.065
SPClayton Kershaw236164-524823216-01.830.915
SPMadison Bumgarner201.1146-626219913-02.771.033
SPZack Greinke177.2152-465214815-02.631.114
SPPatrick Corbin208.1189-547917814-03.411.166
SPHyun-jin Ryu192182-496415414-03.001.203
CLKenley Jansen76.248-18161114-281.880.861
CLSergio Romo60.153-1217585-382.541.077
Notes: Clearly the pitching of this division put them over the top. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game and doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. If Patrick Corbin continues to develop of guys like Matt Cain get back to their old selves, this division is only going to get better.

 

How did I come to these players? 

The highest ranked player on ESPN’s 2013 Player Rater at each position got the nod. If someone qualified at multiple positions, I put him at the position with the weaker second option. For example, Matt Carpenter would have been the NL Central’s 1B, 2B, and 3B. Carpenter was more valuable keeping Pedro Alvarez off the team at third base, as Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips had a higher score.

Last Note:

Just a few quick notes to preview the previews before we’re done:

  1. The projections you see in the previews belong to the writer. They’re not a group effort, and they may not be even close to what you see in the Draft Kit in February, which is collaborative.
  2. We start in the American League, doing one division per week, moving East to West. Once the AL is done, we do the same thing in the National League.
  3. Each division will be posted in reverse finishing order from 2013’s final standings. So, the team from Monday will be the last place team, while the Friday team will be the division champs.
  4. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that we’re leading off tomorrow with the Toronto Blue Jays. Tuesday will be the Baltimore Orioles, followed by the New York Yankees Wednesday (the O’s and Yanks for 3rd/4th place, we flipped a coin), the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, and the Boston Red Sox on Monday.

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