Monday, March 30, 2009

AL West Preview

There is only one question out there in the AL West? How many games will the LA Angels win the division by?

AL West MVP - Once again, based on "Most Valuable," - this is never easy. I know this sounds crazy, but the Angels could lose anyone and still win the West by 10 games, and yes this includes Vlad. I know Seattle is bad, very bad...but how much worse would this team be if they didn't have Ichiro. The old man still runs, has a cannon that no one runs on - and hits, hits again and then some more. Has averaged 225 hits a year for the past 5 years.

AL West Best Pitcher - I know the kid has never lived up to lofty expectations, but my pick for Best Pitcher and Breakout candidate of the AL West - Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners. It would have been John Lackey, LA Angels - He's the ace of the staff...he has a minor injury to start the year, but it looks like it turns out to be no big deal. But, to miss at least a month and you never know about arm injuries - I just can't give him the nod over Felix.

AL West Best Hitter - Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers. This was a tough choice, there is Ichiro, but just didn't have enough pop. Oakland's huge off season acquisition, Matt Holiday - he is definitely in the discussion. But Hamilton plays in a Stadium called When that hot summer hits down in Arlington - an infield pop up goes yard - and sorry - baseball is all about stats - and so stadiums come into this discussion. The guys numbers last year .304, 32Hr, 130RBI's - and that is only after a season and a half of seeing big league pitching. The guy is only going to get better.

1. LA Angels - The Angels lose Teixeira to who else, the New York Yankees. They lose Francisco Rodriguez to the New York Mets. But come on, does it really matter? They won the division by 21 games. Fine, with those losses, maybe they only win the division by 10-12 games, but all that matter is getting into the "Tournament" as the baseball players say. Lackey will be back in early May and the same with Santana. And they also have Jered Weaver on that staff. They add Bobby Abreu to replace long time staple Garrett Anderson - and that is a huge upgrade on the offensive side of things. You still have Torii Hunter patrolling center...this team will win the division, pulling away in September.
2009 record 88-74

2. Texas Rangers - I know what you're saying the Rangers in 2nd? Why? Well, I'm glad you asked. Well - one word defines this team...RAKE. All this team does is hit. Kinsler, Young, Hamilton, young raker Chris Davis & Rookie of the Year Candidate Nelson Cruz. I think my boss and I could go pitch for them every fifth day and put up double digit wins. The run support these starters are going to get...I'll tell you what, if the Angels starters Lackey and Santana are out for an extended period, and Fuentes isn't a shut the door closer - there is a shot the Rangers could win the AL West and go into the history books. This team would be the 1st team to win a division with an ERA over 5.00.
2009 record 79-83

3. Oakland A's - Billy Beane is the GM that gets the most out of its players and also knows when to let them go. But the trade of Rich Harden was very questionable and even though Joe Blanton was only a middle of the rotation guy - he still could help some of these young, unexperienced arms coming up, but Beane traded Blanton to the World Champion Phillies. But, in the offseason, Beane goes completely out of character and beats the St. Louis Cardinals to the punch and trades for All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday. Explain that. Now what. I'll tell you's not pretty...look for Holliday to be traded at the deadline...and I'm saying the Cardinals are the front runners.
2009 record 76-86

4. Seattle Mariners - This team is Pittsburgh Pirates bad...they lost 100 games last year, but they did sign legendary Mariner Ken Griffey Jr. in the off season, so they will draw well in Seattle, but hell - that is the only thing to do in Seattle. They could put a team of A-ball minor leaguers out there - oh wait, they already do that for the most part anyway. Way too many question marks. This team has Felix Hernandez as a future ace. Brandon Morrow can shut the door. Ichiro, Jose Lopez and Adrien Beltre in the field, but that isn't taking you to a division title. And even if Erik Bedard comes back 100% - this team might still lose 100 games for the 2nd consecutive year.
2009 record 63-99
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