AL West Predictions

March 3, 2008 at 10:35 am 17 comments

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The AL West looks like a split division. Two teams will battle for 1st and two teams will battle to stay out of last. I find it hard pressed to see any team other than the Angels winning this division. This is the closest division winner to a sure thing.

[TABLE=69]

Strengths
1) Pitching – The Angels rotation could go 6 deep. Led by Cy Young hopeful John Lackey, this rotation will eat innings and allow their already stellar bullpen to be even better.

Weaknesses:
1) Power – Vladimir Guerrero may be the only player to approach 30 homers. Hunter will make a run but this ballpark is a little bigger than the Baggy Dome. The decision to keep Brandon Wood out of the starting lineup will also hurt the power potential on this team.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Casey Kotchman has a sweet stroke, a good eye, and a starting job.

[TABLE=70]

Strengths
1) Bench – I love the Mariners’ bench. They have Clement who can catch and play first and will hit and take walks. Bloomquist can play anywhere. Reed is a legit hitter that has battled injuries and is back and should be a solid 4th ot 5th OF. Balentein in a good young rookie that has a ton of power and should be good in platoon situations.

Weaknesses:
1) Offense – This team lacks a real offensive punch. Sexson is their biggest homer threat and he may be traded. Ichiro is about the only one that is a sure thing to hit .300. I can’t think of a guy who will draw close to 100 walks.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Erik Bedard is the most likely to have a breakout season. You can argue that he already broke out but I think he will jump ahead of his 2007 performance this year and contend for the Cy Young award.

[TABLE=71]

Strengths
1) Getting on base – The Oakland A’s may very well lead the league in walks in 2008. They have a guy in almost every lineup spot that will draw walks at above league average.

Weaknesses:
1) Power – The A’s may get guys on but they lack a power hitter to knock them home. Jack Cust is the most likely to reach 30 homers but he may not drive in a ton of runs due to his lack of batting average.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Travis Buck is healthy, young, patient, and a good bet to lead the team in average and possibly extra base hits. He has the tools to be a .300/.370/.470 guy right now.

[TABLE=72]

Strengths
1) Minor Leagues – The Rangers have a top 5 minor league system that is ready to have players contribute to the majors by September and hopefully full-time by 2009.

Weaknesses:
1) Pitching – The pitching is weak, it lacks an ace, or even a #2 guy, it walks too many hitters, and C.J. Wilson hasn’t helped with his comments towards his teammates.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Josh Hamilton was an incredible story. We should all know it by now. He is a baseball player. He is easily a 4-tool and possibly a 5-tool player that isn’t hype anymore. If he stays healthy he should easily produce a .300/.380/.550, 30+ homer season.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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NL East Predictions AL Central Predictions

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Denver Browns Baseball  |  March 3, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    the Angels are going to be sick this year….MUCH LOVE D-BROWNS

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 3, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I agree. The only thing that scares me is the aginf OF and the lack of power. I think they will coast into the playoffs with the Mariners giving a slight scare.

    Reply
  • 3. Erik  |  March 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Ok here is probably the perfect forum to say what I feel about the Angels who have a very good rotation and a very good offense. They are definitely the team to beat in the AL West… The only team that could possibly challenge them for the crown this year is the Mariners (even with Bavasi the village idiot as their GM).

    The Angels have a legit starting rotation to challenge anyone in the league let alone their division. Their offense which didn’t hit much in the playoffs made some good moves. Adding Torii Hunter is an offensive improvement over Garry Matthews Jr. And a slight defensive improvement. However the key to the Angels this year will be a health issue of Vlad Guerrero.

    The Mariners… boy they got extremely lucky last year and Bavasi is a horrible GM. Their best player is still Ichiro who is a GOD in Seattle. If Hargrove had stayed Ichiro would have left (FACT). The Mariners bolstered their rotation giving up Adam Jones and others for Eric Bedard… They have had steady catching from Jojima who actually learned how to hit in the States, but they should have kept Brousard and traded Sexson yes I know their main power threat…(I think he would be a good fit in SF, but that is probably me. Anyway Bavasi manages to give contract after contract to Willie Bloomquist so what does that tell ya about him as a GM.

    Texas made a nice move in signing Jason Jennings and made a great trade in getting josh hamilton but the main problem with the Ballpark in Arlington is that it is a hitters paradise and a pitchers nightmare. Look how Padilla and Millwood have fared there.
    Oakland well it is a rebuilding year yet again and boy they will be a great team if this was AAA. I expect them to be the Marlins West but who knows they could surprise.

    Reply
  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 3, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Good analysis Erik, as usual. I have to agree with just about everything you said. No arguments here.

    Reply
  • 5. 19  |  March 4, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Great stuff, as usual, Jonathan.

    Reply
  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 4, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Thanks a lot man! I appreciate it. I’ll have the Central up soon and Mike McGinnis will have his NL Central up later today.

    Reply
  • 7. Erik  |  March 4, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks Jonathan… what did you not agree with what I wrote?

    Reply
  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Keeping Broussard and playing him over Sexson. That ballpark is awful for Broussard in my opinion.

    Reply
  • 9. Erik  |  March 4, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Reason for Broussard… he is better defensively… Sexson is fine defensively if it is thrown right at him you throw the ball low or to either side and he is very spastic.

    Reply
  • 10. MikeMcGinnis  |  March 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    good read jonathan let’s face it though they need to do something to that ballpark down in texas if they ever want to put a decnt pitching staff together. i’ve been down there between the heat, the dimensions and being in the AL it’s like a death sentence for pitchers down there. even when rick helling won 20 games for them back in 1998 he had a 4.41 ERA

    Reply
  • 11. MikeMcGinnis  |  March 4, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    i think the a’s will be the second worst team in the AL this year.their starting pitching is shaky at best and their offense is one of the worst in the AL. barton and buck are the only guys worth watching if you ask me

    Reply
  • 12. Erik  |  March 5, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Oh yeah Mike you think that is bad back in 2004 on Texas Ryan Drese was Texas’ era champ with a 4.20 era won 14 games and Kenny Rogers was 18-9 with a 4.79 era… Oh how they miss Arlington Stadium… well at least Texas Ranger pitching… maybe they will bring back Nolan Ryan.

    The Oakland A’s will be the best AAA team in the Major Leagues. They are the Marlins West. but who is the first worst team in the AL?

    Reply
  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 5, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    The worst team in the AL will show up in my AL East report!

    Reply
  • 14. Brooke  |  March 5, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Ok, sorry about my post about the AL Central. Just saw this. I think that the Mariners will be on top; however, or at least take the Wildcard. Go M’s!

    Reply
  • 15. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 5, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I think the M’s will contend but I have them just missing the playoffs. Don’t worry though, most of our writers have them making it, I’m the oddball!

    Reply
  • 16. Brooke  |  March 6, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    I’m praying that the M’s make it along with the Yankees and I’ll be one happy camper.

    Reply
  • 17. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 7, 2008 at 8:07 am

    You must hate me! I have both teams just missing the playoffs.

    Reply

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