Erie held the top spot in the Western Division of the Eastern League for much of the 2013 season but ended the season one game behind division-winning Harrisburg before getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Senators. Erie's success came despite losing some of its key players to promotion during the season, though the team did get help from a few key promotions as well.
While the SeaWolves didn't have a single 10-game winner the team did have multiple pitchers come close to the mark. Will Startup had a strong season out of the bullpen, posting a 7-1 mark with four saves and a 3.41 earned run average in 33 appearances. The lefty came up big on the road, putting up an undefeated 5-0 record away from Jerry Uht Park.
Matt Crouse was the workhorse for the SeaWolves this season, pitching 145 innings in 24 starts and 31 total outings. The Virginia native finished the season with a 9-10 record and a 4.47 ERA and led the team in strikeouts with 112. He also tied for the team lead in wins and led the team in losses.
A few of Erie's pitchers spent much more limited time with the club before being promoted. Jon Link found instant success with the SeaWolves, putting up a 3-1 record with a 1.13 ERA in five starts before being promoted to Toledo. His experience with the Mud Hens was much more of an adjustment, though, as the starter struggled in many of his starts at the Triple-A level.
Blaine Hardy's success was almost the opposite of Link's. Hardy didn't get a start with Erie but posted a 2-2 record with a 1.63 ERA in 16 relief appearances before being promoted to Toledo. As a starter with the Mud Hens, Hardy put up an impressive 6-1 record and had as strong of a finish to the season as any pitcher within the farm system.
Justin Souza led the team in saves with 19 but was promoted to Toledo during the season for a brief period. In his absence, Melvin Mercedes was promoted from Lakeland and found a decent amount of success and opportunity, tallying 12 saves in 26 appearances.
Tyler Collins had an explosive start to the 2013 season, leading the team in most offensive statistical categories for the first two months of the season. Collins' numbers did gradually decline but the outfielder ended the season leading the team in home runs and runs batted in by a significant margin. Collins had 21 home runs and 79 runs driven in along with a .438 slugging percentage, also a team high.
Daniel Fields also had a strong season for Erie, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 58 runs while stealing 24 bases and hitting for a .284 average. Along with Collins and Fields, Wade Gaynor helped provided the muscle in Erie's lineup. Gaynor hit for 12 home runs in 2013, good for second on the team behind Collins.
Two second baseman spent limited time with Erie before being promoted. Hernan Perez may be the most recognizable name from this year's roster for many Detroit fans as the second baseman was called up from the SeaWolves to the Tigers in August and again in September. Brandon Douglas split time between Erie, Toledo and the disabled list this season but did find a decent amount of success with the SeaWolves.
Erie season could go either direction next season. There is a pretty solid amount of talent in West Michigan and Lakeland, but some of that talent could skip over Erie and go directly to Toledo. If Erie gets players like Devon Travis, though, the SeaWolves could be destined for another very strong season.