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Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 MLB Previews: AL West

On we move to the AL West, which I think will be the most competitive division in the AL. There's the newly stocked out Angels, but the Rangers aren't going anywhere yet, even without Hamilton, and the A's are always good for a surprise run, especially with that pitching staff.

1st Place, Los Angeles Angels

LF Mike Trout
SS Erik Aybar
1B Albert Pujols
LF Josh Hamilton
DH Mark Trumbo
2B Howie Kendrick
C Chris Ianetta
3B Alberto Callaspo
CF Peter Bourjos

RHP Jered Weaver
LHP C.J. Wilson
RHP Tommy Hanson
LHP Jason Vargas
RHP Joe Blanton
SU: Ernesto Frieri
CL: Ryan Madson

The Angels have it all when it comes to that lineup: speed, average, power and consistency. They have the right mixture of youth (Trout, Bourjos, Trumbo) and players in their prime (Pujols, Hamilton, Kendrick) to be serious World Series contenders. Their pitching staff should be a strength too, once Tommy Hanson figures out the AL. The one question I have with them lies in their bullpen. They're banking on the return of Ryan Madson who missed all of 2012, or the young Frieri kid to close out games for them, and they need one of them to succeed. They have enough talent in that lineup though, and enough solid starting pitchers to help overcome the bullpen weakness though, and should win 95 games.

2nd Place, Oakland Athletics (AL Wild Card)

CF Coco Crisp
2B Jemile Weeks
LF Yoenis Cespedes
DH Josh Reddick
SS Jed Lowrie 
1B Brandon Moss
RF Chris Young
3B Scott Sizemore
C John Jaso

LHP Brett Anderson
RHP Jarrod Parker
LHP Tommy Millone
RHP A.J. Griffin
RHP Bartolo Colon
SU: Ryan Cook
CL: Grant Balfour

I just really like the make-up of this young A's squad. They play hard, sound baseball and utilize the solid pitching they get. They don't have a lineup that will overwhelm you, but they have speed and guys that can get on base and cause some havoc. I think a huge key for them will be Jemile Weeks, who showed in his rookie year he can be an All-Star level player when he's right. Cespedes has MVP potential and Josh Reddick is just tapping into his abilities, so this team will only get better. That young staff will also rival any ones in the game, especially if Anderson is on like he was after returning last season. With good health and continued growth, the A's should definitely lock down one of the AL Wild Card spots.

3rd Place, Texas Rangers

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
DH Lance Berkman
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
C A.J. Pierzynski
1B Mitch Moreland
CF Craig Gentry

RHP Yu Darvish
LHP Matt Harrison
LHP Derek Holland
RHP Alexi Ogando
RHP Colby Lewis*
SU: Jason Frasor
CL: Joe Nathan

I'm sorry, but you can't replace Josh Hamilton with Lance Berkman and expect to be the same team you where the last 3 seasons. The team that repped the AL in the 2010 and 2011 World Series needs to rebuild that lineup a little bit, and not try and patch together aging vets like Bekrman and Pierzynski to try and fill the void. I love Darvish as their ace, but the rest of that rotation is under-whelming, and the bullpen is hardly one of the premiere ones in the league. The Rangers are in for a drop off this year, but still have enough offense to stay competitive. It wouldn't surprise me if they finish right around .500.

4th Place, Seattle Mariners

2B Dustin Ackley
3B Kyle Seager
DH Kendrys Morales
LF Michael Morse
C Jesus Montero
1B Justin Smoak
RF Michael Saunders
CF Franklin Gutierrez
SS Brendan Ryan

RHP Felix Hernandez
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
LHP Joe Saunders
RHP Erasmo Ramirez
RHP Jon Garland
SU: Charlie Furbish
CL: Tom Wilhelmsen

I like what the Mariners have done with their lineup, now they just need those number one picks Ackley and Smoak to start playing like the guys they were drafted to be. If that happens, the M's should be able to put runs on the board. It's keeping opposing teams off the board is what will be their biggest challenge. Their rotation after King Felix could be one of the worst in baseball, and their bullpen is stocked with young, unproven guys who will be learning on the go. I know Seattle fans would hate them for it, but I think now is the time to cash in on Hernandez and turn him into 2-3 legit, big time prospects. They probably won't ever win with Felix in his prime and could use a few good young arms to help balance out that pitching staff.

5th Place, Houston Astros

2B Jose Altuve
SS Tyler Green
LF Chris Carter
DH Carlos Pena
1B Brett Wallace
RF Rick Ankiel
3B Matt Dominguez
CF Justin Maxwell
C Jason Castro

RHP Bud Norris
RHP Lucas Harrell
RHP Jordan Lyles
RHP Phillip Humber
LHP Erik Bedard
SU: Wesley Wright
CL: Jose Veras

The newcomers to the AL may very well end up in the cellar of not only the AL West, but the entire American League. Heck, they could be the worst team in baseball. Their lineup is half full of players who'd be AAA'ers on most competitive squads, and their bullpen has more holes than Swiss cheese. Surprisingly, their rotation has some guys with potential (Norris, Lyles, Humber), but this is still a team well within the grasp of 100 losses.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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  • At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Velma said…

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