Tag:A's
Posted on: February 12, 2012 1:19 pm
 

AL West Preview

So its been a while again since my first post of the series but after some intense calculations i have finished all of my projections so they should be more frequent now. Now we take a look at what I think is the second worst division in baseball; the AL West. While they have 2 very good teams at the top, the backend of the division is pretty bad and the addition of the Astros next year is not going to help. It should be a dog fight for the division between the Rangers and Angels but there is little chance the other teams get involved in the race. Lets take a deeper look at the teams this season.

1. TEXAS RANGERS

C- Mike Napoli
1B- Mitch Moreland
2B- Ian Kinsler
SS- Elvis Andrus
3B- Adrian Beltre
LF- David Murphey
CF- Josh Hamilton
RF- Nelson Cruz
DH- Michael Young

Pitching-

1. Colby Lewis
2. Yu Darvish
3. Derek Holland
4. Matt Harrison
5. Neftali Feliz

CL- Joe Nathan
SU- Mike Adams
SU- Alexi Ogando

While the starting pitching might not be as star studded as the Angels they have better overall depth. The offense is basically unchanged from last year but is still one of the best in the league. All in all the Rangers are a very balanced team that should be fairly consistent and be in World Series contention yet again.

2. LOS ANGELES ANGELS

C- Chris Iannetta
1B- Albert Pujols
2B- Howie Kendrick
SS- Erick Aybar
3B- Alberto Callaspo
LF- Vernon Wells
CF- Peter Bourjos
RF- Torii Hunter
DH- Mark Trumbo

Pitching-

1. Jered Weaver
2. Dan Haren
3. C.J. Wilson
4. Ervin Santan
5.  Jerome Williams

CL- Jordan Walden
SU- Scott Downs
SU- LaTroy Hawkins

Probably the Media favorites to win the division but Im still skeptical. While they added one of the best hitters of all time the offense still seems questionable as its filled with declining veterans. The top of the rotation should be one of the best in baseball outside of the Philadelphia but after the front 4 there is a significant dropoff in talent. I think the Angels have the potential to be a better team than the Rangers but there is also a lot more risk. I bit last year on predicting great things for the Red Sox who were the big Free Agent spending team that year but Im trying to learn from my mistakes by avoiding the Angels this year. I think they finish in second but they could win the wildcard.

3. SEATTLE Mariners

C- Miguel Olivo/Jesus Montero
1B- Justin Smoak
2B- Dustin Ackley
SS- Brendan Ryan
3B- Kyle Seager
LF- Mike Carp
CF- Franklin Gutierrez
RF- Ichiro Suzuki
DH- Jesus Montero/Casper Wells

Pitching-

1. Felix Hernandez
2. Jason Vargas
3. Hisashi Iwakuma
4. Blake Beaven
5. Hector Noesi/Kevin Millwood

CL- Brandon League
SU- Shawn Kelly
SU- Tom Wilhelmsen

Im actually very intrigued by the Mariners this year as they have several young players who could be pretty good. An offensive core of Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley might be interesting to watch. The pitching staff also has some interesting arms and the always dominate King Felix at the top of the rotation. I dont think they will be that good this year but they could be a fun team to watch over the summer. They should be solidly ahead of the A's for 3rd place though.

4. OAKLAND Athletics

C- Kurt Suzuki
1B- Brandon Allen
2B- Jemile Weeks
SS- Cliff Pennington
3B- Scott Sizemore
LF- Seth Smith
CF- Coco Crisp
RF- Josh Reddick
DH- Kila Ka'aihue

Pitching-

1. Brandon McCarthy
2. Bartolo Colon
3. Brad Peacock
4. Jarrod Parker
5. Tommy Millone/Dallas Braden

CL- Fautino De Los Santons
SU- Joey Devine
SU- Grant Balfour

Another team that I am very interested to watch this summer. They have gone for the complete rebuild and now we get a chance to watch some good prospects try and come into their own. The rotation is very sketchy although Parker and Peacock have some nice potential and when Brett Anderson comes back from injury he could help. The offense is going to be abismal but guys like Brandon Allen, Jemile Weeks and Josh Reddick should be interesting to watch. They should be pretty bad but like the Mariners they should be fun to watch.


All in all this should be a fairly exciting divison to watch but in terms of proven talent, outside of the top 2 teams there is not much there. The division could be better than i think they are but we will have to wait and see. Now look out for My NL Central Preview later this week.          
        
Posted on: February 15, 2010 9:35 am
 

My Official AL West Preview

Well this has been the Angels division the past decade, but is there a changing of the guard in 2010. Many people believe the Marniers may be able to take the Angels and take over as the class of the division. The Marniers made the most changes, and it is obvious that the Angels have lost some talent, Texas is about the same except they lost the best hitting coach in the buisness, and Oakland is getting better. This is a division on the rise, but who will win it this year? Continue reading to find out my opinions on the AL west this year.

1. L.A. Angels
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Texas Rangers
4. Oakland Athletics




1. L.A. Angels

Departed- Jose Arredondo, Kelvim Escobar, Chone Figgins, Vladimir Gurerrero, John Lackey, Gary Matthews Jr., Darren Oliver
Aquired- Hideki Matsui, Joel Piniero, Fernando Rodney, Brian Stokes

Most people question wether this team will be able to mantain the level of play that they have performed for the past decade after losing the core of those teams. While i believe this is a less talented Angels team than we have seen in previous years i dont believe they are going to lose this division to the Mariners. While the rotation may not have a bonafied ace they are solid from top to bottom (If Joe Saunders is your worst starter thats saying something.). I do think that Jered Weaver could become the ace of this rotation, and Scott Kazmir was once Tampa Bay's ace. So im not even sure that i agree that they dont have an ace. I think any one of thier starters could become the ace of this staff, they are just going to have to prove it. The bullpen is somewhat rough, i am curious who will close (Brian Fuentes, or Fernando Rodney?) and neither one is a great closer. Outside of those 2 guys only Scot Shields strikes me as a great arm. They will have to go to their farm system to fill out their bullpen. The infield has some question marks, the biggest being how will Brandon Wood perform? Kendry Morales is solid at first and Aybar and Kendrick are solid up the middle. Macier Izturis will be their utility man, but they dont have a ton of bench depth behind him. Mike Napoli will start at catcher and has good power, Jeff Mathis is an okay backup. The outfield is solid offensivly but not to good deffensivly. Bobby Abreu continues to hit and run well, but his deffense coninues to slide. Torii Hunter is still a great offensive threat although injury prone, but his defense is starting to go. Juan Rivera had a great season, replacing Garrett Anderson after his departure. With the trade of Gary Matthews Jr., the Angels are thin on the bench for the outfield with Reggie Willits as their 4th outfielder. So they Angels will have to rely on their farm system to give them some depth there. The biggest channge is replacing the great Vladimir Guerrero at DH with Hideki Matsui AKA Godzilla. Guerrero had his least productive season of his career which meant the Angels were willing to let him go, but im not sure they improved here. They traded one injury prone veteran who cant play the field for another. Overall the Angels have lost some talent, but they still have enough talent on the offensive side and their rotation is good enough top to bottome to win this division, but it will be close.

2. Seattle Mariners

Departed- Miguel Batista, Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, Kenji Johjima, Brandon Morrow, Carlos Silva
Aquired- Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins, Ryan Garko, Cliff Lee, Eric Byrnes, Brandon League

The Marniers improved from a 100 loss team to a contender in 2009, and now they hope to win the division. They have made headlines this offseason with the additions of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley. They may have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, with King Felix at the top of the rotation. He was the 2nd best pitcher in the AL last year behind Grienke, and is still only 24 years old. And the great thing is that the Marniers locked him up long term in the offseason. Behind him they added 2008 CY Young winner Cliff Lee who should benifit greatly from the Marniers outstanding defense and spacious field. Ryan Rowland Smith has potential and they are hoping for a healthy season from Erik Bedard. The biggest question mark to me is Ian Snell, he has a lot of talent and looked promising several years ago in Pittsburgh if he can have a good year it would go a long way to helping this team win the division. The bullpen is one of the weak links on this team, i think David Aardsma played out of his mind last year and i doubt a repeat performance. Brandon League is a solid arm, and i think his aquisition was an attempt to improve the bullpen. We will have to see if any of their young pitchers step up, because you can never really predict how a reliever is going to pitch accuratley. The infield is very strong deffensivly but offensivly they are mediocre. At first they have former Angel, Brave, and Red Sox Casey Kotchman, while he plays outstanding defense his offense has hovered around the .270-10-50 line. At third they have former Angel Chone Figgins, who again plays good defense and he also hits for average and has great speed. Figgins will likely hit 2nd behind perenial all-star Ichiro Suzuki. Up the middle is really the Mariners main power threat in Jose Lopez (his ceiling is about 25 HR though), and at short the great glove of Jack Wilson. So the Marniers basicaly have a wall on the left side of the infield. Rob Johnson will likely start at catcher and good be solid, but he will battle for playing time with Adam Moore. The outfield is pretty good to, with Ichiro in right he provides awesome defense and is guaranteed to collect 200 hits and 20+ stolen bases. In CF Frankilin Gutierez is also an elite defender who can cover a lot of ground, plus he has good offensive game (He has 20-20 potential). The only weak link defensivly in the outfield is Milton Bradley in LF, he makes a lot of dumb mistakes but he is not a horrible defender. He needs to rebound from a bad year offensivly in Chicago. Ken Griffey Jr. will likely DH most of the time with Bradely, and Ryan Garko also getting some time there. The mariners have speed, pitching and defense but their lack of power is what will hold them back from winning the division.

3. Texas Rangers

Departed- Marlon Byrd, Andruw Jones, Kevin Millwood, Ivan Rodriguez, Hank Blalock, Omar Vizquel
Aquired- Khalil Greene, Vladimir Guerrero, Rich Harden, Colby Lewis, Darren Oliver, Clay Rapada, Chris Ray

Texas is stuck in the 3 spot again this season, and its not a reflection on their talent, but on the talent of the division. Texas main problem is their lack of a solid pitching staff. They were much improved last season, but they slumped offensivly. But the rotation has a different look to it in 2010, Kevin Millwood is gone and Rich Harden is in. Harden is extremely injury prone and is a lock for 2 stints on the DL, but when healthy he is a force. Behind him there isnt a ton, Scott Feldman and Brandon McCarthy are solid middle of the rotation guys. Tommy Hunter was pitching well last season, and he could break out in 2010. While they have some solid young guys coming up, i dont see them contending with the staff they have. The bullpen is decent with Frank Francisco at closer, and Chris Ray the likely set up man. The main guy to look at in 2010 is Neftali Feliz, he could start but if hes in the pen he could be awesome. By the end of the season he may be the primary set up man. The infield is solid with slugger Chris Davis at first, he will need to improve his discipline, but he has 30 HR power. Michael Young will man 3rd and provide solid offense as he has in the past. Up the middle looks pretty good with all-star Ian Kinsler at 2nd, he hits for power and has good speed (a 30-30 season is possible). He is partnered with Elvis Andrus at short, he may not have power but he plays good defense and has great speed. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will likely split time with Taylor Teagarden although neither player has lived up to their potential. The outfield is weaker with the loss of Marlon Byrd, but if Josh Hamilton is healthy in CF it would help greatly. Nelson Cruz also is great in RF, and the Rangers hope David Murphey can play well in LF. The Rangers biggest addition in 2010 is definatly Vlad, he should have a great year that might garner comeback player of the year consideration because he loves the ballpark in Arlington and he has put up great numbers there. He should continue adding to his hall of fame credentials this season. The Rangers are solidly in 3rd place and i dont see them getting out of this spot due to the excellent managment and resources of the Mariners and Angels.

4. Oakland Athletics

Departed- Nomar Garciaparra, Bobby Crosby, Adam Kennedy, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Jeff Gray, Scott Hairston, Aaron Miles, Brett Wallace, Willy Taveras
Aquired- Coco Crisp, Jake Fox, Gabe Gross, Adam Rosales, Ben Sheets, Michael Taylor

Oakland seems like they are going to be stuck in last place a little while longer. They have improved talent wise from the 2009 club, we will have to wait and see if that translates to wins. The rotation is interesting and will at least be better than the Rangers. Ben Sheets is the headliner of this staff, will he be able to return to form this season after missing all of 09'. When healthy Sheets is a great pitcher and was the ace for Milwaukee for years. Justin Ducsherer is another starter returning from injury who the A's will rely to give them veteran leadership in the rotation. They also have 3 youngsters who will try to improve upon their 09' seasons Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahlil and Brett Anderson. Looking at each of thier stats and after watching them last year i really like Brett Anderson and i think he may be the breakout pitcher on this staff. If all 3 of these guys can play to thier potential Oakland could make a move to 3rd but they would need some offensive help to. The bullpen is lead by 09' AL rookie of the year closer Andrew Bailey. The A's may actualy have the best pen in the division when you look at each player. Mike Wuertz will likely be the setup man and Brad Ziegler, Joey Devine, and Craig Breslow make up a solid bullpen. The infield is okay, there arnt any superstars but some solid talent. Kevin Kouzmanoff will likely start at 3rd ending the age of Eric Chavez, and Jake Fox will figt to play first with Daric Barton (my guess is that Fox will win the job). Fox has some sick power but he is very similar to Jack Cust and will strikeout a good amount and does not play good defense. The middle infield will be made up of Mark Ellis at 2nd, and Cliff Pennington at short. Pennington is probably the weaklink in the infield. Kurt Suzuki will start at catcher, he has been a solid major leaguer and continues to improve (Im a nig fan of Kurt Suzuki). They also have some infield depth with Adam Rosalses from the Reds, and Eric Patterson (former Cubs prospect). The outfield has speed, with Rajai Davis in LF, and Coco Crisp in CF. They should combine for over 70 SB, and will make up the top of the batting order. And sweet fielding Ryan Sweeny will start in RF. Jack Cust will return as the DH and will split some time with Fox there. Fox, Cust, and Kouzmanoff are really the only power hitters on the team, so they may have a hard time driving in runs. If they get good production from Fox, and Kouzmanoff they may be able to sneak up on the Rangers but that would have to be paired with some great pitching.   



Posted on: January 1, 2010 10:40 pm
 

MLB- Past Decade In Review

Now that another decade has come and gone i figured it was time to take a look at how each baseball franchise has faired over this past decade. This morning i went on to baseball-reference.com and poured over statistics for several hours and compiled a list ranking every franchise in order of their success this decade. The top 4-5 are pretty obvious, but the lower rankings were tougher and are partially my opinion.

1. New York Yankees - No real suprise here, they started and ended the decade with World Series titles. Appearing in the playoffs every year except 2008, they have been the dominant franchise over the past 10 years.

2. Boston Red Sox - These 2 teams from the AL East have really dominated baseball this decade, the Red Sox finally broke their curse and went on to win 2 World Series titles. They have created a steady foundation to be competitive for the next decade also.

3. St. Louis Cardinals - They have been the dominant franchise of the NL, making 7 post-season apperances and win a World Series title. The Cardinals dominance has been highlighted mainly by the emergence of one of the greatest baseball players of a generation in Albert Pujols.

4. Los Angeles Angels - It has become a common occurence to see the Angels in the post-season. They won the first World Series title in 2002, and have accended to the top as one of the dominant franchises in the league.

5. Atlanta Braves - Although the Braves are considered the team of the 90's they have still been very succesfull in the 00's. They made 6 post season appearences and have recently begun to get back to their formula of dominant pitching. Look for them to see even more success in the coming decade.

6. Chicago White Sox - The White Sox also broke their curse in this decade, winning their first World Series title since 1917 in 2005. They made 3 post-season appearences and have thrived under the leadership of manager Ozzie Guillen.

7. Philadelphia Phillies- They slowly built themselves up over the corse of the decade to the point that now they have back to back World Series appereances one of which they won. They have created a model of success that many teams are going to try and repeat.

8. Oakland Athletics- They started off the decade with 4 straigth post-season apperances and made another in 2006. They have struggled lately, but they have one of the best GM's in baseball in Billy Beane.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers- They have had a winning record every year except the 2005 season, and have made the post-season 4 times. Most recently, under the guidance of Joe Torre they have made it to the NLCS in back to back years with a youthfull roster that should dominate for years to come.

10. Minnesota Twins- They have only had 2 losing seasons over the course of the decade and have appeared in the playoffs 5 times. They have been in constant competition with the White Sox through out the decade.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks- Only 3 years old when the decade began the Diamondback franchise has seen it ups and downs throughout its short life. They started off the decade very well, winning the World Series in 2001 with the dominant dou of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They have eratic the second half of the decade though.

12. Houston Astros- Since the NL Central was first formed the Astros and Cardinals have been the main competitors for the division (Although the Cubs have taken their place as of late). They were great the first half of the decade, culminating in an NL Pennant in 2005, but have faded in the second half.

13. San Francisco Giants- The Giants were another team that started the decade strong earning the NL Pennant in 2002. But struggled mightly in the second half, failing to win more than 76 games from 2004-2008. But with the arrival of stars such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Pablo Sandoval they showed promise in 2009.

14. Florida Marlins - They havnt been flashy, only making the post-season once, but they made it count winning the franchises 2nd World Series title in 2003. They have managed to stay competitve through out the decade with a small fanbase and budget.

15. Chicago Cubs- Another decade has gone, and the curse still remains. THe first half of the decade they were erratic, although in 2003 they came within a game of winning the NL Pennant. Most of their success came in the last 3 years of the decade, with 2 post season apperances and 3 straight winning season the Cubs may break the curse in the next decade.

16. Seattle Mariners- The first four years were great, with 2 post season appearances and a 116 win season in 2001. But they also had 3 season with fewer than 70 wins. They have looked better near the end of the decade although Ichiro is starting to slow down ( Only in speed, he still collects 200 hits a season).

17. New York Mets- They started the decade off with the Subway series (Although they lost to the Yankees). But since then they have only made 1 post-season apperances. The latter half of the decade has been defined by end of the season collapse, and the team self destructed in 2009. The future is uncertain for the Mets.

18. Cleveland Indians- The late 90's were good for the Indians, but the 00's were not as good. They only made 2 post-season apperances, although they did have four seasons of 90 or more wins. 07 showed promise winning 96 games and making it to the NLCS but their record worsened in 08, and 09.

19. Colorado Rockies- The young franchise struggled for most of the decade. Until in 2007 they won the NL Pennant, losing to the Red Sox in the World Series. They had a down year in 08', but made the playoffs again in 09'. The next decade holds a lot of promise for the Rockies.

20. San Diego Padres- They have struggled for most of the decade, with only 4 winning seasons from 2004-2007 during that span they managed to make the post-season twice and never made it past the NLDS.

21. Detroit Tigers- The first half of the decade the Tigers were awfull, in 2003 they posted their worst record going 43-119. But in 2006 they came out of no where to win the AL Pennant, and have posted winning records 3 out of the last 4 years, although only 1 post-season appearance.

22. Toronto Blue Jays- The Blue Jays could go higher on this list if it werent for the fact that they did not make the post-season at all this past decade. They havnt been bad, but they have played in a very tough division with the Yankees and Red Sox the top 2 teams of the decade. They have posted a winning record 5 times in the decade.

23. Texas Rangers- The Rangers have been a mediocre team most of the decade, never losing more than 91 games in a season in the decade. They have only had 2 winning seasons and did not make the post-season at all this decade.

24. Millwaukee Brewers- The Brewers have been succesfull recently, but the earlier part of the decade they were awfull, posting their worst season in 2002 going 56-106. But in 2008 they made the playoffs for the first time since 1982 and the Franchise looks poised to be a contender in the next decade.

25. Tampa Bay Rays- I guess the name change from Devil Rays to Rays turned the franchise around (LOL). Up until 2008 they had never won more than 70 games in a season. They sure turned around fast going from having 10 straight losing seasons (from 98-07) to winning the AL Pennant. They were not as good in 09 but still had a winning record.

26. Cincinnati Reds- They started the decade off with a winning season, but have failed to have one since. While they have not been awfull they havent done much right either. There are some signs of hope for the next decade though.

27. Washington Nationals- Im including the Expos in this analysis. They have had 3 winning seasons, but they did not make the post-season at all in this decade. They had 2 consecutive 100 loss seasons to end the decade and they are still a while away for contention in the next decade.

28. Kansas City Royals- Although they have the worst record of the decade i still rate them higher than the other 2 because they haeg had a winning record as recently as 2003. The other 2 franchises are on record long losing streaks.

29. Baltimore Orioles- Their last winning record was in 97' and they have failed to win win more than 78 games in the decade. Their are signs of life and they have the potential to break out of thier drout in the next decade.

30. Pittsburgh Pirates- It is well known that the Pirates are on a streak of 17 consecutive losing seasons. This past decade they were especially bad winning more than 72 games only once (75 in 2003). They are in a complete rebuilding process and it may take a while to break that streak.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com