2014 was a year to remember for fantasy baseball. Originally expected to be a Mike Trout/Miguel Cabrera-dominated season, the Davids beat the Goliaths in many key areas.
Batting Average: Jose Altuve slumped early in April, and when we say slumped, we mean that he hit .276 in the month of April. The diminutive second basemen for the Houston Astros was really a team player, getting on base for his teammates all the time. He took home the batting title. He was so strong in contact, he even had a jump swing to protect a runner. Altuve also nabbed 56 stolen bases, which helped his cause in being a valuable player from a traditionally weak 2B spot. Furthermore, Miggy Cabrera finished with "pedestrian"-by his standards- stats, with a BA of .313, 101 runs, 109 RBIs, and 25 HRs. This statline was boosted in September despite playing a stress fracture in his ankle. Yikes. Get well soon, Miggy. Mike Trout had 36HRs and plenty of counting numbers, but his batting average was .287, good, not great. It's scary to think that this guy has years and years of baseball ahead of him, and that he can get so much better. Nelson Cruz had a bounceback year, and led the league in Homers, with Chris Carter and Giancarlo Stanton closely following. His teammate, Chris Davis, had a terrible year, got suspended, and then saved some people as a Good Samaritan in a car accident.
Jose Abreu justified his displacement of Adam Dunn/Paul Konerko with a fantastic rookie campaign, batting .317, with 36 HRs and plenty of Rs and RBIs. It was a Miggy-esque year for him.
Among the pitchers, Clayton Kershaw had a golden year, going 21-3 with a sterling 1.77ERA and 0.86 WHIP, despite an ugly outing with 6 ER given up in just 1.2 IP. A surprise name in the top group of pitchers? Corey Kluber. We knew he could strike out some guys, but he also tacked on a 2.44ERA and 1.09WHIP to go with his 269Ks. Only David Price surpassed his K total. Jake Arrieta had a strong year for the Cubs after leaving the Orioles. In fact, the Cubs had a pretty solid rotation this year with Samardzija, Jason Hammel, Travis Wood, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada all turning in respectable seasons while they were with the Cubs. Samardzija and Hammel were dealt, as were other notable pitchers like Price and Lester. Though the movement of the aforementioned two didn't mess up AL-only leagues, the Cubs trade with the A's did. Both the A's and Tigers were acquiring players left and right, with even Yoenis Cespedes getting kicked to the Green Monster.
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While there were plenty of surprises, there were some classic, predicable situations.
Bedrock pitchers like Adam Wainwright were reliable as ever. Players like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez saw early ends to their seasons. Car-Go Figure. Stephen Strasburg had an up and down season, but finished strong with a string of scoreless outings.
Sonny Gray, Chris Archer, Yordano Ventura and a couple other darling prospects finally had a chance to show their stuff longterm and did pretty well with it.
There were also out-of-left-field prospects like Jake DeGrom and Colin McHugh that found their way into the fantasy world.
Yes, it was a season to remember in Major League Baseball.