Saturday, March 26, 2011

Off Base AL West Preview

Offbase editors Derwood Morris and MTD haven't had much luck previewing things lately-MTD incorrectly predicted Gary Discarcina would come out of retirement to help the Angels win the 2009 World Series and Derwood thought Teen Wolf 3 would be the 2010 summer blockbuster. But here are division previews anyway.

In this episode, I tackle the AL West because I own a J.T. Snow California Angels jersey.

Texas (2010: 90-72)
The Rangers rode Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson to the World Series only to fall to blog favorite Buster Posey, Brian Wilson's beard and the rest of the Giants. But I hear they did receive some pretty sweet little plastic runner-up trophies. Josh Hamilton rightfully won his first MVP despite missing the last month of the regular season. Hamilton should be healthy for some of 2011 along with Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz. They let Vlad Guerrero walk after a resurgent 2010 season but added Adrian Beltre at third base and will slide Michael Young to DH. The loss of Cliff Lee is an obvious blow to the rotation and the "moving Neftali Feliz to starter" experiment ended last week. I still expect the Rangers to repeat atop the West unless injuries wipe out too many wins.

Oakland (81-81)
Oakland relied on their pitching staff for their 2010 "success" and will do so again this year if they hope to top or match a .500 record. PECOTA projects 23-year-old starters Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill to be sub 4.00 ERA guys and they might be a tick better. I'm less enthusiastic about Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden but what do I know. The A's offense is led by... Jose Canseco wants to play baseball again, right? I'm not kidding, I don't know who the A's best hitter is. Is Daric Barton a thing?

Angels (80-82)
Ah, my beloved Halos. You can read my 2011 Angels preview over at Diamond Hoggers but here's a summary...

1. Starting Rotation = Good
2. Outfield Defense = Good
3. Everything Else = Yikes

But I am sponsoring Brandon Wood's Baseball Reference page, so there's that.

I wouldn't be surprised if they can outhit the A's for second place in the division but I think a return to the playoffs is a year away.

Mariners (61-101)
Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young. And I'm spent. Dustin Ackley will spend some time in AAA to start 2011 but shouldn't be there too long. And Michael Pineda looks like a future ace so there is help on the way for the M's. My boy Chone Figgins can't possibly have a worse year than last season unless it turns out that he's actually terrible at baseball. Same thing goes for Justin Smoak. Aside from King Felix, the best thing about the Mariners last season was watching Franklin Gutierrez play center field.

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