13 years is a long time

The Mountain Air Season Review

By Greg Nims


We entered the 2014 season after our 13th straight year ending in a loss. I felt we were putting good teams together, going to the playoffs in 5 of the last 8 seasons, with 78 wins being our fewest, but we still hadn't have everything come together. What could we do this year to get over the hump?

The Draft

The 2013 St. Louis Pilgrims won 93 games on the strength of a league-leading 236 homers. But I didn't want to focus so much on one skill, and just wanted to stay true to my scouting valuation of each player.

We drew the fourth pick, in a draft with three great players and one great pitcher. I didn't really want to take Kershaw #4, so I made the trade with Matt. Mauer/Carpenter wasn't a great start to the draft, but it set the tone for defense and OBP. We kept taking position players, and took our 10th player with the 68th pick of the draft.

We started our staff by taking Cotts P*24hxy+0 85i and Benoit P*19gxy+0 100i to anchor the bullpen, then took PriceD PL11yzz+2 and Latos P13y+0 as our best starters. Not an impressive start, but we kept adding pitchers, focusing on relief innings.

Best picks: Andrelton Simmons in the 21st anchored our defense, started 157 games, and played a ton of innings. I took Donnie Murphy thinking he'd pinch hit for Simmons more often, but I ended up rarely taking Simmons out. He had power, hit decent enough, and was a SAO with speed. His E22 wasn't impressive, but just good enough to be able to H&R with him, and his 16 speed allowed him to score. He finished fourth on my team with 59 runs and tied for third with 57 RBI.

Matt Holliday was a 9th round pick that probably slid due to his five 24s and weak defense. After a little early season waffling, he ended up leading off the rest of the season, posting a 263/356/443 line. His 356 OBP was 4th in the league, his slugging rated 9th, and he finished 5th in runs created and runs contributed. He finished 9th in runs scored, despite being pinch ran for plenty. Little complaints around his production.

Allen Craig wasn't a pick, but acquired from Chris via trade in the 5th round. I had flip flopped a great deal between Freeman and Craig in the 4th, and it was crushing when Chris took Craig. His OF2/1B4 was a huge flexibility need, and he posted a 292/363/385 line. Somehow, despite batting primarily 3rd behind OBP machines Carpenter and Holliday, he only had 35 RBI and 43 runs scored.

Cotts and Benoit provided the top end that we needed for our bullpen, and came at a reasonable price in the 10th/11th rounds.

The Season

We started out relatively slow, sitting at 13-12. Then we started getting the rollz and winning the one-run games, getting to 19-16 by the free agent draft, where we didn't make any moves, then hitting a huge hot streak to get to 30-20. That gave us a 4 game lead in the Hauser Bridesmaids Division, and we kept playing good ball, sitting around .600 for most of the rest of the season. The rest of the division struggled, and by the season midpoint, we had a 11 game lead.

After that, it was a case of playing our game and trying to stay healthy. Gregg had been my main competition for the Presidents' Cup, but he hit a rough patch later in the season, allowing me to take the Cup going away.

We had a great league finish, with an incredible three-way tie for the final playoff spots, with Ken and Keith in the mix right up until the very end. I was matched with Jim in the semis, with Gregg and Chris facing off in the other semi.