Monday, March 8, 2010

Baseball Preview part IV

AL West

Order of finish

Angels     97-65
Rangers   87-75
Mariners  85-77
A's          75-87

I can’t sit here and tell you that I am very confident in my predictions. I am probably the least confident in this division prediction among the previous 3 and probably the AL Central and East too when I release those. The A’s are without question the most depleted with talent, but the other 3 are pretty even since the Angles arguably lost their best player – John Lackey. They don’t really have a true number one starter on this roster (similar to the Yankees when Wang was their number one starter) Saunders is not a true number one. This levels the playing field with the Mariners and Rangers especially since the Mariners have improved their rotation by trading for Cliff Lee. The Rangers still have the most potent lineup in the division and can rival the lineups of the Yankees and Sox.

The Mariners are the sexy pick with a lot of so-called experts picking them. They have a dangerous 1-2 punch with Lee and Hernandez and it wouldn’t be shocking if one of them was the All-Star starter for the AL. Each team has a certain quality to win this division. The Angles are the veterans of the group and are the champs until someone knocks them off. The Mariners have the rotation and the Rangers the runs. Which will prevail? I think the Angels disappoint big time this year, just because their roster has depleted so much. They lost their run maker in Figgins, but who can doubt Mike Scocia? The Mariners will need production again from Russell Branyan and that is somewhat scary because they can’t just beat everyone 2-1 or 3-2. That is why I give the nod to the Rangers. Their staff is ok enough to keep them around 90 wins this season and their lineup is deadly and can put up 10 on a lot of teams. But, I think this division is going to be a very fun division race to watch this year.

Key player for each team

Rangers – Hamilton OF - Had a subpar season, if he can knock out 40+, this team wins the division.

Mariners – Figgins 3B – We know what Felix, Lee and Ichiro can do. Can the newcomer be a leader that this team has lacked?

Angels – Matsui  DH– The shy, humble Matsui goes to a new part of the country – will he feel at home? If not this lineup can sputter.

A’s - Eric Chavez  3B - Who? what happened to Eric Chavez?  He needs to answer that question.

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