Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MLB Preview-AL West

Today I take a look at the four team AL West. It might be a bit closer than what you would think...

  1. Seattle Mariners: Seattle might of had the best offseason in Major League Baseball. They first went out and signed 3B Chone Figgins away from the Angels, and not to long later, the acquired P Cliff Lee from Philadelphia, and they acquired OF Milton Bradley from Chicago. They now have an elite 1-2 punch in the rotation with Felix Hernandez. They now have a #2 hitter than can get on base with Ichiro for the cleanup hitters. They now have a cleanup hitter that can drive those guys in. This team just sticks out to me as the favorite here. They seem determined to get to October. So I pick them to get there.
  2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angels might of had the opposite offseason the Mariners had. They lost P John Lackey and 3B Chone Figgins to free agency. How can you let your ace and leadoff hitter walk out the door? Last season they had lots of guys step up and have career years. I don't think they can have those same numbers from the players. They appear to have good pitching and good hitting, which would make them the favorite. But not for me. Those before mentioned players they lost weren't just key players, they were clubhouse leaders. So the Angels need to find their identity before they go anywhere and with the rising power in Seattle, I pick the Angels second.
  3. Texas Rangers: For many years now, the Rangers have had great hitting teams. But their achillies heel in those years was their pitching. And I expect the same this season. They have an emerging ace in Scott Feldman and they took a gamble and signed Rich Harden to be the #2 starter. And even if you can keep Harden on the field, there alot of wild cards behind them. But in their defense they have younger guys, in those rotation spots and in the bullpen, who are still trying to make names for themselves. And they will need to step up against the Mariners and Angels if they want have a chance. Again, this team can hit. But they need to start pitching. It kills me to pick them third, but its hard to see them pitch well in August and September and that kills them in the end.
  4. Oakland Athletics: If you look at the Oakland lineup you see many question marks. Their staff ace Ben Sheets is a big question mark as he comes off elbow surgery in 2009. Their best hitter, Jack Cust, is a career .239 hitter. They do have a young team going into 2010. But their starting pitching is very young and will show some inconsistency as the year progresses. Their hitting does please the eye as well. And it appears OF Coco Crisp will be their team leader, and that raises a red flag with me. On paper the A's are a long ways off from winning. But this is Oakland, and they seem to overachieve every year. So I think this team will finish last, but they won't go down without a fight either.
Tomorrow I dive into the lob-sided AL East. But it might not be the same two teams coming out of that division in my opinion. Check back tomorrow...

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