Now for the third installment of my predictions we will head out west to the smallest division in major league baseball, the American League West. Last year the Rangers came out of nowhere to win their first division title since 1999. They made a push into the World Series with the help of the acquisition of Cliff Lee. The Angels dominated for a while but have had a steady decline over the past few seasons. Each team is going through some changes in hopes of achieving what the Rangers did last season.
1. Texas Rangers– The defending champs lost maybe the best pitcher in baseball when Cliff Lee decided to go back to Philly. But looking at their lineup and rotation barring major injury like every team no reason to think the wont repeat. They lost Vlad to Baltimore but the rest of their lineup is stacked with guys like Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and new addition Adrian Beltre. Texas is taking a huge risk with Brandon Webb, Webb won at least 14 games from 2005-08 but he only pitched 4 innings in 09 and not at all in 2010. Texas was a first place team without Lee but you wonder how far they can go in the postseason without him.
2. Oakland Athletics– There has been some buzz with the A’s this offseason and I will join it. The pitching staff is young and still somewhat unproven with guys like Dallas Braden (27), Trevor Cahill (22), and Gio Gonzalez (25). The Athletics made some move to improve their lineup but will it be enough. The got David DeJesus who had decent season on a bad team with the Royals. Hideki Matsui will bring his 21 HRs and 84 RBI to Oakland in hopes of producing the same. One name to keep an eye on is Coco Crisp who didn’t really have a chance to showcase his talents last season only playing 75 games.
3. Los Angeles Angels– The Angles lost a huge opportunity when Carl Crawford decided to go Boston. However they did acquire Vernon Wells from Toronto who had a bounce back season last year with 31 home runs. But when i look at the Angels lineup i feel like they don’t have enough fire power to move higher in the division. Also the pitching staff has some question marks as well. Dan Haren pitched well last season in LA with an ERA of 2.87 after him is where im concerned. Ervin Santana won 17 games last season but he has yet to post back to back good seasons. After becoming a name in Tampa Scott Kazmir has only won 11 games in LA in 2 seasons. If the Angels want to contend their pitching has to be better.
4. Seattle Mariners– Quick question, do you think Seattle fans still hate Baltimore for giving them Erik Bedard? Look when Bedard is healthy he is a pretty good pitcher. The problem is he can’t stay healthy, he has only started 30 games in two seasons with Seattle. To put that in perspective his last two seasons in Baltimore he started 33 and 28. There is one constant in the Seattle rotation, King Felix, who won the Cy Young Award last year despite winning only 13 games. When looking at their lineup other than Ichiro not much to get excited about in Seattle.
Missed a preview & prediction blog? Click below!
Andy Snakovsky – 105.7 The Fan Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/AndySnakovsky