The Marin Menehunes and Vicious Fishes are a different story. They have made just one playoff appearance between them in three years. The Fishes finished last in 2011, earning just 106 wins, the second lowest mark in league history. Both teams have undergone recent ownership changes but will enter 2013 with some sense of stability.
The key to success for both teams is beating their division rivals, which is easier said than done. The Lower Haighters have amassed 49 series victories over two years, nine more than the next best team in the league, Los Coches Bomba. No team has a better record over the first three years of competition.
The Mirrors aren't far behind. They've amassed a 398-374-56 record, third behind only the Haighters and Los Coches Bomba.
The new owners of the Vicious Fishes and Marin Menehunes enter 2013 a year wiser. The question is, can they take the lessons of 2012 and turn them into division victories?
This page looks at the head-to-head records for each team in the West Division for the first three years. It also looks at the overall record for each team against other teams in the league.
+Albert Pujols , remains on the roster from the original 2010 draft. Ryan Braun was obtained in a trade with HUMA while Cliff Lee came via a trade with Bacon at Mile 11 and CC Sabathia came in a trade with the Cys. Jose Reyes was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft while Giancarlo Stanton came in the ninth round that year.
The Lower Haighters had the most dominating year in league history in 2011. The 169-93-14 mark remains the best single-season record of all time. The team won 15 of its first 16 series and then swept its way to the 2011 league championship. Braun finished third in the league's MVP chase, stealing 33 bases, hitting 33 home runs, and driving in 111 RBI. Pujols added 37 home runs and 99 RBI. The key to the team's pitching wasn't the starters but the bullpen. Jose Valverde saved 49 games while setup men Sean Marshall and David Robertson each had 34 holds.
The 2010 team finished 153-111-12, the second best single-season record in league history, but was upset in the championship finals by Twinkle Toes. It was the only time in league history that the top-rated pitcher and top-rated hitter came from the same team. Pujols won MVP honors with 42 home runs and 118 RBI while Felix Hernandez finished second in the MVP race. Hernandez, who was traded to Bacon at Mile 11 midway through the 2012 season, had 30 quality starts and 232 strikeouts.
The league, and the division, caught up to the Lower Haighters in 2012. The team finished 143-120-13, its worst record. Miraculously, the team won the West Division for the third consecutive year on an 11-1 trouncing of A-Rod's Mirrors in Week 20. While the team still captured third place overall, it was its lowest finish in three years. Bruan was still strong, finishing third in the MVP race with 41 home runs and 30 stolen bases but Pujols failed to deliver first round value, falling to 29th in the final player rankings.
The questions facing the Lower Haighters are many entering 2013. Does Pujols continue to fade? Can Cliff Lee replace Felix Hernandez in the rotation? Is this the year the West Division finally catches the Lower Haighters?
Still, there is reason for optimism heading into 2013. The team has the best closer in the game, Craig Kimbrel. He's coming off a 2012 season where he saved 42 games and struck out 116 batters. The starting rotation is anchored by Cole Hamels and Stephen Strasburg. With Strasburg expected to pitch 200+ innings this year, the Mirrors should close the season strong. Offensively, the team is led by second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who had 15 homers and 20 stolen bases in 2012.
The Mirrors have been runner-up in the West Division every season, but had to hold off a spirited charge by the Vicious Fishes in 2010, finishing just a half-game ahead. That team finished 133-127-16 and was led by Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez finished the season ranked 22nd overall with 25 quality starts and 214 strikeouts. Brett Gardner was the team's best offensive player, stealing 47 bases and scoring 97 runs. The Mirrors finished seventh overall and initiated a playoff rivalry with the Jersey Boys which has spanned all three seasons.
In 2011, the Mirrors kept Jimenez, Hamels, Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, and reliever Daniel Bard but it was the diminutive second baseman, Pedroia, that led the team. He scored 102 runs, stole 26 bases, hit 21 homers, and finished the season ranked 15th overall after being picked in the sixth round, 90th overall. Hamels again led the pitching staff with 24 quality starts and 194 strikeouts as the team finished with a 131-124-21 record. The Mirrors again met the Jersey Boys in the consolation semifinals, with the Jersey Boys squeaking by to finish sixth, while the Mirrors finished eighth.
The Mirrors have never had a losing season and have a three-year record of 398-374-56. That's the third best record in the league. There's no reason to expect the team will decline in 2013, but will they finally catch their nemesis, the Lower Haighters?
Gravely, playing her first year of fantasy baseball, took over the Sasqatch Sluggers in 2012 and promptly rebranded the team the Marin Menehunes. It was a change for the better as they finished 131-129-16, a franchise record, and missed the playoffs by a half-game.
The success was built on some shrewd free-agent acquisitions by Gravely. She added Kris Medlen on Aug. 5 and he responded with 10 quality starts, 81 strikeouts, a 0.92 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. From the time Medlen was added to the roster until the end of the season he was the highest ranked player in the league. Another pitcher, Max Scherzer, was added on May 12. He had 16 quality starts and 183 strikeouts from that point forward.
The team drafted outfielder Josh Willingham in the 13th round and he blasted 35 homers and finished the season ranked 38th overall.
This was a far cry from the 2011 Sasquatch Sluggers that finished 116-137-23, worst mark in franchise history and the eighth worst mark in league history. That team was undermined by owner apathy, as the Sluggers made four personnel moves the entire season. Kila Ka'aihue was drafted and left to rot on the bench, despite having just 82 at bats on the season.
The 2010 team finished 120-145-11 but was more active in the free-agent market. Tim Lincecum, drafted first by the team, had 22 quality starts and 231 strikeouts. David Ortiz led the offense with 32 home runs and 102 RBI but the Sluggers were never competitive as they failed to find a closer or consistent setup men in the bullpen.
The Menehunes will enter the 2013 season full of optimism and, for the first time, will be a legitimate threat to make the playoffs.
Now, for the first time in team history, it will be under the same ownership for two consecutive years. Owner Nikhil Dinesh ran his first fantasy baseball franchise in 2012, guiding the team to a 119-142-15 record. While the team finished in the West Division cellar, 23 games out of first place, it did improve from 2011. Dinesh kept pitcher David Price and slugger Prince Fielder and both returned first round value. Price finished the 2012 season ranked 10th overall after tossing 25 quality starts and striking out 105 batters. Fielder had a .410 OBP and hit 29 home runs to rank 13th overall. The team drafted pitcher Chris Sale in the 17th round and he delivered 19 quality starts and 192 strikeouts, finishing the season ranked 42nd. The team certainly has pieces to build around in 2013.
The 2011 season was a different story. The Fishes earned the Wooden Spoon, finishing with a 106-150-20 record, the third worst single-season record in league history. Owner Dan Perez kept Paul Konerko, Price, Fielder, Nelson Cruz and Hiroki Kuroda. Fielder was the only player to deliver first round value, blasting 38 homers while knocking in 120 runs. He finished the season ranked 13th overall. The team was active in April, making 17 transactions, but it didn't make a transaction after June 1.
Vanessa Hodge was the team's most successful owner, guiding the Fishes to a 126-121-29 record in 2010 and the team's first and only playoff appearance. While the Fishes didn't win a playoff series, they did finish eighth in the league. The team developed its reputation as a powerful offense under Hodge, as Konerko and Fielder combined to hit 71 homers. Konerko ended the season ranked 15th in the final MVP race.