Thursday, February 25, 2010

DW'S AL West Preview

DW takes a look at the major leagues on paper, division by division during the final days of February. Today we give you the AL West. This should be a tight division with Seattle being one of baseball's offseason champs, the Angels being the long time kings of the West and the Rangers trying to translate the major's best farm system into the major leagues. a quick look at the teams after the jump..


2009 Record: 97-65
Departures: RHP John Lackey, IF Chone Figgins, DH Vlad Guerrero, OF Sarge Jr, LHP Darren (don't call me Sean) Oliver
Arrivals: DH/LF Hideki Matsui, RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Joel Pineiro,
Rotation: RHP Jered Weaver, LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Ervin Santana, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Joel Pineiro

Closer: LHP Brian Fuentes;
Setup guy: RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Scot Shields
Lineup: SS Erick Aybar, RF Bobby Abreu, CF Torii Hunter, 1B Kendry Morales, DH Hideki Matsui, LF Juan Rivera, 2B Howie Kendrick, C Mike Napoli, 3B Brandon Wood


2009 Record: 85-77
Departures: 3B Adrian Beltre, 1B/DH Russell Branyan, RHP Brandon Morrow, C Kenji Johjima, RHP Miguel Batista, RHP Carlos Silva
Arrivals: LHP Cliff Lee, 3B Chone Figgins, OF Milton Bradley, 1B Casey Kotchman, 1B Ryan Garko, OF Eric Byrnes
Rotation: RHP Felix Hernandez, LHP Cliff Lee, RHP Ian Snell, LHP Erik Bedard (DL), LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
Closer: RHP David Aardsma;
Setup guy: RHP Brandon League
Lineup: RF Ichiro Suzuki, 3B Chone Figgins, 2B Jose Lopez, LF Milton Bradley, DH Ken Griffey Jr., 1B Casey Kotchman, CF Franklin Gutierrez, C Rob Johnson, SS Jack Wilson


2009 Record: 75-87
Departures: 2B Adam Kennedy, IF Bobby Crosby,
Arrivals: RHP Ben Sheets, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, OF Coco Crisp, IF Jake Fox, OF Michael Taylor,
Rotation: RHP Ben Sheets, RHP Justin Duchscherer, LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Dallas Braden, RHP Trevor Cahill
Closer: RHP Andrew Bailey
Set-up guy: RHP Brad Ziegler
Lineup: LF Rajai Davis, CF Coco Crisp, C Kurt Suzuki, DH Jack Cust, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, CF Ryan Sweeney, 2B Mark Ellis, 1B Daric Barton, SS Cliff Pennington


2009 record: 87-75
Departures: RHP Kevin Millwood, OF Marlon Byrd, IF Hank Blalock, OF Andruw Jones, IF Omar Vizquel, C Ivan Rodriguez,
Arrivals: RHP Rich Harden, DH Vlad Guerrero, RHP Colby Lewis, LHP Darren (the black) Oliver
Rotation: RHP Scott Feldman, RHP Rich Harden, RHP Tommy Hunter, LHP Derek Holland, RHP Colby Lewis
Closer: RHP Frank Francisco;
Setup guy: LHP C.J. Wilson, RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Darren Oliver
Lineup: CF Julio Borbon, 3B Michael Young, LF Josh Hamilton, DH Vlad Guerrero, 2B Ian Kinsler, RF Nelson Cruz, 1B Chris Davis, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Elvis Andrus

DW Pre-Spring Training, Predicted Order of Finish:

1: Rangers
2: Mariners
3: Angels
4: A's

The Rangers have a shit load of hitting, questionable starting pitching and a potentially strong bullpen. They also have the best minor league system in baseball and may have the ammunition to add arms at the deadline - if/when Harden goes down. If Josh Hamilton can find his '08 form instead of '09, this team will be scary offensively. Starting pitching will be the achillies heel. The M's have maybe the the best 1-2 punch and best defense in the game but will really have to search for runs. DW does not like the Angels off season moves, substituting Lackey, Figgins and Vlad for Matsui, Pineiro and Rodney. The A's need Sheets to put together a good half season so they can swap him for more prospects. They have a lot of talent but are a couple years away. Look for former Phils prospect Michael Taylor - he could be ready to produce right away and is a DW darkhorse for AL rookie of the year.

Next: NL West

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