Through 15 weeks (with 11 remaining), the BEML is a dead heat — the Barracudas, Dirty Dogs, Team Phil Chu and Craydawgs are in an unprecedented four-way mosh pit for first, with Mayhem just three points back. Team Dave and Grove St. Villagers are in a battle to stay out of the basement:
The Fish lead the league in HRs and Steals, with strong showings in Runs, RBI, ERA and WHIP. BEML All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt (.308/16/61/8) and Edwin Encarnacion (.277/26/70/2) have powered the offense, and a couple of key free agent moves — Charlie Blackmon (.281/7/30/10) and Gregory Polanco (.266/3/13/6 in 113 ABs) — have not disappointed. The Cudas are also keeping the pond well stocked with keepers, including Brandon Moss (.258/18/50/1) and Brian Dozier (.242/13/38/12). On the mound, the Scaly Ones hit the lottery with All-Star Johnny Cueto at the minimum salary (9 Wins, 115 Ks, 2.31/0.93). Free agent acquisition and closer Sean Doolittle (10 Saves, 2.61/0.48) has bolstered the back of the pen and has helped put the Toothy Predators in line for a 5th BEML title in 2014.
The Dirty Dogs made a big move in Week 15, rising six points to grab a share of first place. The Hounds of Dirt bring it filthy from the mound, as they lead the league in Strikeouts and Saves. but also feature the second highest scoring offense (behind Mayhem). The Dogs are benefiting greatly from their efforts to build up for 2014, as several cheap keepers have helped the Dogs rise to the top of the BEML; All-Star Billy Hamilton (.288/5/37/36), Hunter Pence (.296/10/25/6) and fiery All-Star Carlos Gomez (.307/14/47/17) are getting shiz done. All-Star Ian Kinsler is not joking around at 2B (.302/11/50/10). On the hill, the Dogs strike out more than a batter an inning, and are led by keepers Jon Lester (8 Wins, 116 Ks, 2.03/1.02), Aroldis Chapman (20 Saves, 2.20/0.77) and David Robertson (23 Saves, 2.76/1.01). Yu Darvish (8 Wins, 142 Ks, 2.97/1.21) and trade acquisition (via the Cudas) Stephen Strasburg (7 Wins, 149 Ks, 3.46/1.22) pump gas all day long. A recent injury to Joey Votto cannot help, but reigning Bonds MVP winner Miggy Cabrera (.302/14/73/0) has not yet shown us his best. All told, this could be the Year of the Dirty Dog.
Defending champions the Craydawgs may be rising with the fortunes of Andrew McCutchen (.322/17/61/14)and Adrian Beltre (.337/13/51/1), who are heating up as summer goes along. The Crays lead the league in BA, but contend strongly across all categories. The Dawgs have suffered devastating injuries to Matt Wieters and trade acquisition (via Team Dave) Masahiro Tanaka, but have backfilled with some key free agent acquisitions in Michael Brantley (.348/6/23/2 in 135 ABs), Ian Kennedy (2 Wins, 3.92/1.33), and–over the All-Star Break–closer Cody Allen and starter Garrett Richards. The Dawgs are led on the mound by The Big Dawgs: All-Stars Adam Wainwright (12 Wins, 115 Ks, 1.83/0.91) and Chris Sale (8 Wins, 102 Ks, 2/08/0.84) and Max Scherzer (11 Wins, 146 Ks, 3.35/1.17). The Dawgs hope that recent trade acquisitions Albert Pujols (via Team Dave) and Ryan Braun (via Villagers)–each of whom has previously won titles with the Dawgs–can help bring Title Nine to New Jersey.
Team Phil Chu has held at least a share of the lead in every week except Week 9 (Mayhem). The Chu is the top pitching team in the league and is currently poised to shatter the all-time BEML record for ERA (2.94; current record is 3.02, set by the 2005 Barracudas) and WHIP (1.08; current record is 1.11 by the 2011 Snowmen). Chu’s success begins with reigning Maddux Award winner and All-Star Clayton Kershaw, who is well on his way to a second consecutive Maddux Award despite being injured for the first month of the season (11 Wins, 126 Ks, 1.78/0.83). Jose Fernandez and King Felix were aces until being injured and traded (to Team Dave), respectively. Free agent closer acquisitions Mark Melancon and Zach Britton made Craig Kimbrel available for trade (to Mayhem, for the remarkable All-Star Mike Trout). TPC has been involved in the trades of 26 players this year and has yet to miss a beat in their drive for a 5th BEML championship in 2014. At the dish, Victor Martinez (.322/20/51/2) and Justin Morneau (.331/12/57/0) have been resurgent, and young Todd Frazier has rounded into form (.287/16/50/13) at third base. Catcher Devin Mesoraco has been a livesaver off the free agent wire, hitting .274/12/28/0 in just 146 ABs.
In fifth place but only three points off the lead, Mayhem have dominated at the plate, leading the BEML in Runs and RBI. All-Star Mike Trout (.310/22/73/10) may be the league’s best hitter–and was thriving in Mayhem’s system–but was recently traded to Chu for elite closer Craig Kimbrel (29 Saves, 1.91/0.88) and starter Jeff Samardzija. Still, there’s plenty of offense left to go around, including Giancarlo Stanton (.288/20/57/8) and Troy Tulowitzki (.349/21/51/1). Free agent pickup Dee Gordon has helped on the basepaths (.269/1/15/24).
Team Dave has recently taken the lead over the Grove St. Villagers in an epic showdown to remain out of the basement. TD features the BEML’s worst offense and is last in BA, Runs, RBI and Steals, despite the heroics of blue chip slugger (and BEML All-Star) Jose Abreu (.290/28/71/1). Jose Altuve (.381/0/5/17 in 105 AB) has ignited TD since coming over in trade from the Villagers, but TD was really hurt by a season-ending injury to Prince Fielder. TD remains competitive on the hill, leading the league in Wins and recently acquiring Maddux Award contender and BEML All-Star King Felix from Chu (11 Wins, 154 Ks, 2.12/0.91).
The Grove St. Villagers are the mirror image of Team Dave, with a sub-par pitching staff and decent offense to date. The Village Denizens are last in every pitching category except Saves (second to last). Much more was expected of James Shields (3.93/1.33) and Justin Verlander (4.80/1.49), and Cliff Lee has been hurt for much of the year. On offense, rookie George Springer has been a bright spot (.231/19/47/5), but the Village has been disappointed in the performances of Everth Cabrera (.259/1/5/4), Martin Prado (.261/2/21/1) and many others. Still, the Villagers are well-positioned to battle their way out of the basement over the final couple of months.