Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The AL West is a world for holy beings. It shall continue in 2009.
1. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have been the king of the West for a long time and should still be considered the favorites in 2009. But this season they will be challenged much more heavily than in years past and the reason for this is the health of their starting rotation. Last year they were able to overcome the Lackey and Escobar injuries with massive performances by Santana and Saunders. This year Santana is on the shelf with Lackey and Escobar, so picks up the pace?
Key Player: Jered Weaver, Someone needs to hold up the fort while Lackey, Santana and Escobar. Weaver has the most potentialof the starters in the rotation but his stats have gotten progressively worse season after season after season. His ERA and Winning Percentage have gone in the wrong direction every year since his rookie season. The Angels can ill afford one of their experienced pitchers regressing even more when they will be relying so heavily on youth to fill the hole left by their injuries.
Player to Eye: Kendry Morales, No more Teixeira or Casey Kotcman means it's finally time for Kenry Morales to get his shot at first base. The Cuban defect has absolutely raked in the minors never posting below a .300 average in any level. He hit .341 in both 07 and 08 in the minors. That has yet to translate in the majors to production or playing time. 2009 is his opportunity, what will he do.
Record Prediction: 84-78
Bats, Bats, Bats, Bats and ugh pitching. It's the Rangers modus operandi. With Millwood, Padilla, Benson, McCarthy and Harrison there could be a lot of long afternoons in the Texas Sun. But really who needs pitching in Texas when you can enjoy 13-10 games?
Key Player: Ian Kinsler, you really have no hope with any of the Rangers pitchers so naturally their key player is either Kinsler or Hamilton. Both are absolute studs and showed to be premium players in 2009. I'm going with Kinsler as the key player because Hamilton's RBI numbers are much a product of Kinsler staying healhty and getting on base. Kinsler missed 40+ games last year and has yet to compile over 130 games in his three seasons, if his health collapses again so will the Rangers' chances.
Player to Eye: Chris Davis, The rookie burst on the scene last year with power power power. He's a Rangers prospect, what did you expect. If you extrapalate his stats out to a full season, he's .285, 34 hr, 110 rbi, 102 runs. That's a beastly season.
Record Prediction: 81-81
3. Oakland Athletics
The A's are being exhalted by many for their potential to take home the AL West and well, I'm not quite seeing it. Why am I skepticle? Well tell me what big pitcher they have? With Duscherererer on the DL to start the year their rotation is Braden, Gallagher, Eveland, and two rookies in Cahill and Anderson. That's a division winning rotation?
Key Player: Matt Holliday, What shall the splits say in 2009? Matt Holliday in Coors was Manny Ramirez. Matt Holliday outside Coors was more Raul Ibanez. What will he do with an entire year outside of the friendly friendly mountain air? The A's really could use those Manny Ramirez numbers.
Player to Eye: Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson, The season is one week away and the A's are eying up two rookies to put in their rotation. The two are listed as the A's #1 and #2 prospects, their time is now. Do both stick? Do both fall back in the minors? What do they do?
Record Prediction: 80-82
4. Seattle Mariners
I vastly overestimated the Mariners last year after the acquiring of Erik Bedard. So this year let me vastly underestimate them. They can be my MLB equivalent of Tampa Bay Bucs predictions, from one side of the spectrum to the other.
Key Player: Erik Bedard, King Felix is great but he needs a partner in crime and the Mariners needs that partner to be Bedard. He has shown Cy Young type stuff and is in a contract year so the Mariners certainly hope he comes through. The health isssues throw up about 5 red flags to make you take a step back and question just how much he'll be able to contribute.
Player to Eye: Brandon Morrow, Brandon Morrow went from just another young starting pitcher with potential to potentially amongst the leagues most dominant closers. He is yelling Papelbon at you. He has the stuff to start but the arm health just isn't cooperating. He's going to be the closer for good this year, adjust accordingly.
Record Prediction: 72-90
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