The team changed general managers and was renamed but Buster Hugs remained the team to beat in the East Division.
Andy Berlind took over for Sunni York as the team’s GM and renamed the Twinkle Toes franchise to Buster Hugs. Catcher Buster Posey, pitcher Madison Bumgarner and closer Kenley Jansen remained the heart of the team. In 2016, they led the franchise to its fourth division title.
Buster Hugs is one of two teams (along with Los Coches Bomba) to win two league championships. Those two titles came courtesy of Posey and Bumgarner, who have formed the nucleus of the team since 2011. York, a San Francisco Giants season ticket holder, always had her eye on San Francisco’s farm system. In the league’s inaugural 2010 season, York plucked Posey off the free agent wire in late May after he was dropped by the Jersey Boys (now Land Shark). In 2011, the Toes drafted Bumgarner in the ninth round and he’s been the team’s ace since.
The Toes claimed the division crown with a 138-117-21 record, finishing eight games ahead of the Jersey Boys. Posey was added to the roster in late May but tallied 67 runs in just 406 at-bats. It was outfielder Shin-soo Choo who carried the team prior to Posey’s arrival. Choo finished as the team’s MVP. In 550 at-bats, he led the team with a .401 OBP, 81 runs scored, 22 home runs, 90 RBI and 22 stolen bases. Mat Latos was the team’s ace, earning 21 quality starts in 184.2 innings pitched. Latos finished 2010 with 189 strikeouts, a 2.92 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Mike Adams anchored the bullpen, pitching 66.2 innings, earning 38 holds, with a 1.76 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
After that initial championship, the Toes went into a funk that saw them miss the playoffs for three straight seasons.
The Toes kept Posey, Choo, third baseman Evan Longoria, Adams and David Wright but couldn’t repeat the magic. They finished third in the newly renamed East Division with a 125-134-17 record. York added two more youngsters – Bumgarner and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt – but ultimately kept just Bumgarner.
With Posey sidelined by a gruesome leg injury, it was Kinsler that stepped up as the team MVP. In 620 at-bats, the veteran second baseman scored a team-high 121 runs, 32 home runs, and 30 stolen bases. Adams improved on his sensational 2010 season to become the team’s most valuable pitcher. He tossed 73.2 innings earning 34 holds/saves with a 1.47 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. Ian Kennedy emerged as the ace of the starting staff, logging a team-high 222 innings with 24 quality starts, 198 strikeouts, a 2.88 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
The Toes protected Longoria, Kinsler, Posey, Bumgarner and Adams in the keeper draft and grabbed Kennedy with their first pick in the March player draft. It wasn’t enough. The team finished last in the East Division with a 115-141-20 record and they were 15th overall. It is the worst record in the team’s history.
Longoria suffered a partially torn hamstring in April, precipitating the team’s slide, but Posey emerged as the team MVP. he drove in a team-high 103 runs in 530 at-bats. Posey also led the team with a .408 OBP and 24 home runs. Bumgarner (208.1 IP, 19 QS, 191 Ks, 3.37 ERA and 1.11 WHIP) was the staff ace while (33 Saves/Holds, 2.39 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), who was added as a free agent in late March, became the team’s top reliever.
The personnel decision that York might still regret from the 2012 season is the release of Josh Donaldson. He was added to the team in late March but cut in April to make room for catcher Hector Sanchez.
The Toes finished with a 132-149-18 record, 15 games behind the Eephus Monkeys in the East Division pennant race. They kept Kinsler, Longoria, Bumgarner, Posey and journeyman pitcher Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong had a solid 2012 season but finished ’13 with just 103.2 innings pitched and a 5.73 ERA.
Bumgarner (201.1 IP, 22 QS, 8.9 K/9, 2.77 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) continued to blossom and earned the team’s MVP honors. Reliever Trevor Rosenthal and starter Jarrod Parker were obtained in an August trade with High Cheese for second baseman Matt Carpenter. Rosenthal (75.1 IP, 27 Net Saves/Hold, 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 12.9 K/9) was the team’s best relief pitcher while Kinsler led the offense. In 545 at-bats, Kinsler had a .344 OBP, 85 runs scored and 72 RBI. He hit into just five double plays and struck out 59 times.
The Toes won their second league title with a victory over High Cheese in the championship series. They captured the East Division crown with a 151-117-18 record, second best in the league.
Shortstop Jose Reyes, Bumgarner, Kinsler, Posey and Longoria were the team’s keepers while first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Ian Kennedy were added in the draft. But it was undrafted free agent relief pitcher Andrew Miller who emerged as the team’s MVP. York acquired Miller in June and caught fire, finishing the season with 62.1 innings pitched, 22 net saves/holds, a 2.02 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 14.87 K/9. Bumgarner (217.1 IP, 21 QS, 2.98 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 9.07 K/9) was again the team’s ace. Reyes lit a fire under the offense, finishing with 610 at-bats, 28 net stolen bases, a .328 OBP, 94 runs scored, 51 RBI. Reyes ground into just four double plays all year and struck out 73 times.
The Toes earned their third East Division title. They finished with a 136-114-4 record, two games ahead of the Eephus Monkeys. The postseason wasn’t kind, as they were beaten by the Mirrors in the first round and failed to win a playoff series.
The roster had a familiar look. Posey, Gonzalez, Kinsler, Bumgarner and pitcher Tanner Roark were protected in the keeper draft. Bumgarner (218.1 IP, 22 QS, 2.93 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9.65 K/9) earned his second team MVP honors while Posey (623 PA, .849 OPS, 95 RBI, 74 R, and 52 Ks) led the offense. Kenley Jansen anchored the bullpen with 35 Net Saves/Holds, a 2.41 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 13.76 K/9.
Buster Hugs won the East Division by 5.5 games over Land Shark to claim their fourth division title. It was a second half surge that saw the team lose just two series over the last 11 weeks that wrapped up the title.
Buster Hugs went 7-2-1 against East Division foes and had some of the league’s most lopsided victories, including a 10-2 win over Home Run 101 in Week 3, a 12-0 victory over Let’s Play 2 in Week 12, and a pair of big wins over Stadium Mustard (10-1 in Week 14 and 10-2 in Week 19).
Posey, Bumgarner and Jansen were all protected by Berlind in the keeper draft and returned keeper value at season’s end. Veteran slugger David Ortiz (7th round pick) and infielder Jean Segura (14th round) also finished the season ranked in the Top 80.
Bumgarner (226.2 IP, 25 QS, 2.74 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9.97 K/9) and Jansen (68.2 IP, 41 NSVH, 1.83 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 13.63 K/9) led the pitching staff. Bumgarner earned team MVP honors for the third time, finishing the season ranked 8th in the final player rankings. Jansen was right behind at 9th. Bumgarner led the team in innings pitched and quality starts while Jansen was the team leader in net saves/holds, K/9, WHIP, and ERA.
Ortiz (626 PA, 1.021 OPS, 79 Runs, 127 RBI, 2 NSB, 86 Ks) led the team in OPS and RBI and was ranked 18th in the final player rankings. Segura (694 PA, .867 OPS, 102 Runs, 64 RBI, 23 NSB, 101 Ks) ranked 26th and led the team in plate appearances, net stolen bases and runs scored. Posey (614 PA, .796 OPS, 82 Runs, 80 RBI, 5 NSB, 68 Ks) ranked 72nd and finished as the league’s highest ranked catcher and the only player at his position to earn keeper status.
Berlind was one of the league’s most active general managers, using all 40 allowed player transactions by Aug. 21. Berlind added pitcher Junior Guerra on May 22 and he finished the season ranked 176th.