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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

AL West Preview

1st Place, Los Angeles Angels
Lineup:
CF Gary Mathews Jr.

3B Chone Figgens
RF Vladimir Guerrero
LF Garret Anderson

DH Shea Hillenbrand
1B Casey Kotchman
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Orlando Cabrera
C Mike Napoli

Rotation:
RHP John Lackey
RHP Jered Weaver
RHP Ervin Santana
RHP Kelvim Escobar
RHP Bartolo Colon
Closer: Francisco Rodriguez

The Angels offense lost one of their best run producers in Juan Rivera, but they do have a surplus of young hitters, so one of them are bound to step up and fill his void. Getting a solid rebound season from Bartolo Colon would give a deep rotation even more strength. Their bullpen is just as strong as it's been in the last 10 years. I wouldn't be surprised to see John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver all breakout with 18-20 win seasons.

2nd Place, Oakland Athletics
Lineup:
C Jason Kendal
CF Mark Kotsay
RF Milton Bradley
LF Nick Swisher
3B Eric Chavez
DH Mike Piazza
1B Dan Johnson
SS Bobby Crosby

2B Mark Ellis

Rotation:
RHP Rich Harden
RHP Dan Haren
RHP Estaben Loaiza
RHP Joe Blanton
RHP Kirk Sarloos
Closer: Huston Street

The A's took a major hit this offseason losing their leader and staff ace Barry Zito, but if Rich Harden is healthy, he should take over and do just fine as the staff leader. The swap of Pizza for Frank Thomas at the DH position is basically a wash. I believe Piazza will return to his 30 home run form without the burden of catching everyday. Eric Chavez has to find his stroke this year if the A's want to challenge the Angels.

3rd Place, Texas Rangers
Lineup:
CF Kenny Lofton

DH Frank Catalanatto
SS Michael Young
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Hank Blalock
2B Ian Kinsler
LF Brad Wilkerson
C Gerald Laird
RF Nelson Cruz

Rotation:
RHP Kevin Millwood
RHP Vicente Padilla
RHP Brandon McCarthy
RHP Robinson Tejada
RHP Josh Rupe
Closer: Eric Gagne

I like top of Texas' rotation with Millwood and Padilla, but they are still relying on unproven starters to make up 3/5 of their starting rotation. Their bullpen should be a strength if Gagne is healthy. I like the addition of Kenny Lofton to the top of the lineup. Micheal Young and Ian Kinsler should make up an incredible double play combo (offensively and defensively) for years to come. Hank Blalock needs to get his average up for this offense to be hitting on all cylinders.

4th Place, Seattle Mariners
Lineup:
CF Ichiro Suzuki

DH Jose Vidro
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Raul Ibanez

1B Richie Sexson
RF Jose Guillen
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yunienski Betancourt

Rotation:
RHP Felix Hernandez
LHP Jarod Washburn
RHP Miguel Batista
LHP Horacio Ramirez
RHP Cha Seung Baek

Felix Hernandez took a step back after busting onto the scene with dominance in '05. He has to rebound and become the leader of an otherwise mediocre staff. I like the makings of the Mariners bullpen. J.J. Putz should finally let Mariner fans forget about Kazuhiro Sasaki. The lineup should be good enough to compete, but there starting rotation will keep them form competing with the A's and Angels.
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2 Comments:

  • At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the Marlins are going to make the playoffs. They won't finish behind atlanta

     
  • At 8:47 PM, Anonymous DZ said…

    Felix took a step forward today Eight shutout innings with 12 K's.

     

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