Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First to Third: Divisional Previews - AL West

With the National League previews wrapped up, it's time to direct our attention to the American League and the previews start in the AL West where the Angels stranglehold on the division is loosening up.

Fresh Meat - The Texas Rangers moved five-time All-Star Michael Young to third base to make room for prospect Elvis Andrus. Andrus (pictured) is one of the top hitting prospects in a pitching rich Texas system but has never played higher than AA ball. Andrus isn't going to ever be the hitter than Young is but Andrus is phenomenal defensively. The Rangers see him as a future lead-off hitter because of his speed and his decent on-base percentage but he'll have to prove he can handle the bat at a high level in order to stay in the bigs.

Dearly Deported - The Angels lost the most this off-season, none more important than Mark Teixeira. Although he only spent about half the season with the team, the Angels, specifically Vlad Guerrero, will miss his bat in the middle of the order and the Anaheim infielders will miss his glove.

How They'll Finish:
  1. A's - If there's one person that knows how to build a winner it's Billy Beane. He pulled the trigger on the Matt Holliday trade when given the green light by ownership to win now and that's just what the A's will do. Their young pitching is solid and their lineup will score plenty of runs.
  2. Angels - No team will fall farther than the Angels in 2009 as Baseball Prospectus' infamously accurate PECOTA prediction has the Angels going from 100 wins in 2008 to 84 in 2009. Bobby Abreu is a great addition, but the Angels are on the decline as their hitters get older and John Lackey gets ready to become a free agent at the end of the season.
  3. Rangers - Texas will make things interesting in the AL West and will be a force once their superb young pitchers are ready for the majors. I think Texas is a year away from the playoffs but have an exciting future.
  4. Mariners - In a few years, this will be Seattle's division. New GM Jack Zduriencik will have the Mariners in the World Series within five years but for now he has to fix the mess he inherited from his predecessor.





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13 comments:

Funbags Fernandez said...

Teixeira got deported? Where, back to Portugal?

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