Put it in the books. The regular season of the first year of the Boys of Summer APBA League (BBW, based on 2012 season) is now over.
Fortunately for my Urbana Locomotives, there’s more work to be done. Finishing at 104-58, we took first place in the National League East Division, quite handily, I may add. We were only team with a winning record in the NL East and were 25 games up on the second place team.
How did we do it? Tough pitching and some key hitting. Position-by-position, here’s a wrap-up of our team’s success.
One of the biggest surprises was backstop Carlos Ruiz. He ended the season with a tasty .362 batting season while hitting 24 homers. Not only that, he always seemed to hit in the clutch. J.P. Arencibia was an adequate backup for Ruiz early on but we brought on sure-handed Yorvit Torrealba as a call-up. Yorvit proved he could do more than catch with his hands as he drove home eight runs in one game. We may need him to keep that hitting frame of mind in the playoffs. Ruiz was injured in the very last game of the season and will be out for nine days (I literally gasped when that happened). Depending on how long the wild card series takes, Torrealba will need to step up.
At first, Garrett Jones was a key player especially early on in the season. He took the Player of the Week in the first month. Overall, he had a solid season batting .246 but hitting 22 homers and driving home 71 runs. Backup Mitch “not Keith’s son” Moreland was a viable defensive replacement but didn’t provide much offense (.198). At second, Aaron Hill drove in 103 runs and scored 100. Batting mostly in the second spot, Hill still managed to provide plenty of pop (29-12-27) while hitting .277. Jimmy Rollins put together speed (22 SB) and a little power (19 HR) while lending a good glove at short. His backup, Zack Cozart, was no slouch with the leather either.
To say third baseman Adrian Beltre had a good season is putting it mildly. His stats for the season were quite phenomenal. In 152 games and 608 at-bats, he batted .349 with 38 homeruns. He drove home 135 runs and scored 101. He banged 212 hits, 40 of them doubles. I lost count of how many times he was awarded the BoS Player of the Week. He was just THAT good.
Alex Rios played a solid left field and while his batting average wasn’t great (.246), his power (28-7-28) more than made up for that. He drove in 87 runs. I always think of Nori Aoki as the outfielder that I should have picked in the Illowa APBA League. He wasn’t the perfect leadoff man (.339 OBP) but he hit .270 and scored 91 runs while stealing 24 bases. Right fielder Nick Markakis is a personal favorite of mine and he didn’t disappoint. In limited play, he batted .275 with 18 homers with 51 rbis. Nate McLouth provided an excellent defensive replacement while stealing 12 bases in 13 tries.
Tyler Colvin and Justin Maxwell both got their chances in the field but many times they were relegated to the DH role. Colvin did a fine job hitting .280 and homered 23 times while driving in 72 and scoring 72. Maxwell (.220) had less success.
Super sub alert: Austin Kearns went 6 for 11 with a double and a homer for the year.
As much as Adrian Beltre was a factor for our offense, David Price was for our pitching. Like Beltre, our first round pick made the headlines on the league website on a regular basis. Price went 23-4 with a 2.35 ERA topping the league in both categories. He completed 12 games and struck out 227 in 226 innings.
Hiroki Kuroda wasn’t as flashy as Price but he got the job done. With a 3.13 ERA, Kuroda finished with a 21-11 record. And while Cole Hamels didn’t win 20 games (19-11), he struck out 231 in just over 226 innings. Jeremy Hellickson (3.38) was a victim of lack of offensive support with an 8-14 record. On the other hand, Mike Fiers (3.58 ERA) went 10-3 and even had a six game winning streak. I just can’t explain Colby Lewis though. In 15 starts and 5 relief appearances, he went 11-1 with a 2.01 ERA and three shutouts. Not bad for a 9Z pitcher.
We used a host of relievers during the year but not many racked up too many innings with the exception of Ryan Cook (3.54, 5-3, 7 saves) and Wilton Lopez (4.66, 3-2, 1). Jonathon Papelbon was our main go-to guy and he really did the job. In 32 2/3 innings, he only gave up 2 earned runs for a 0.55 ERA. Not only that, he ended the season with 23 consecutive saves.
Not-so Super sub alert: Late season call-up Zach Britton appeared in just inning in one game for the season and gave up seven runs. That gives him an ERA of 63.00 for the year. Sorry Zach!
For complete stats for our Urbana Locomotives, here is the link to the hitting stats and here are the pitching stats.
Time for the player awards. I really didn’t have to think about this too much. Both players obviously stood out and made a difference for our team.
Urbana Locomotives Player of the Year – Adrian Beltre
.349, 152 G, 608 AB, 101 R, 212 H, 40 2B, 38 HR, 135 rbis, .605 SLG, .384 OBP
Urbana Locomotives Pitcher of the Year – David Price
23 wins, 4 losses, 2.35 ERA, 30 starts, 12 CG, 6 SHO, 226 IP, 227 K, 68 BB
Our toughest opponent for the year was Bill Gillam’s South Shore Fighting Imps. We got swept by them 6-0 earlier in the season. I’m just glad they weren’t in our league or we would have played them a lot more. At 110-52, they were the only team in the Boys of Summer APBA League to win more than the Urbana Locomotives. We just may see them again in the World Series if both of us are lucky. On the flipside, we decimated division-mates Traverse City Panthers 20-2.
Playoffs are next! Both Bill and I wait the first round out since as the top winners, we get a bye. While we wait, Locomotive trainers will be nursing Carlos Ruiz back to health. Meanwhile, the Fairgrove Tigers and Boston Bravos fight it out in the AL while the Portland Microbrewers and Seattle Rainiers battle in the NL. Good luck to all!
Finally, many thanks to Commissioner Shawn Baier for everything he did. He handled all the first-year issues so well.