Monday, April 14, 2008

Season Predictions: AL West

I predicted the LA Angels of Anaheim to win their division for 3 very simple reasons.  They have the best bullpen, the best hitting and arguably the best pitching in their division.  A lot of people argue that the Mariners will win this division but I say they were just a fluke last year.  I'm not nearly as interested in the reasons the Angels will win their division but of the reasons the Mariners are a fluke and the reason they'll finish in 3rd place.

First, You can't win in the AL with Jose Vidro(a natural 2nd basemen) as your DH.  Richie Sexson can't hit anymore and neither can Johjima or Beltre.  This means that out of the two most important positions to have power(DH,1B) they have little to none, especially compared to the Angels who have Vlad.  Their pitching staff is admirable and is led by Erik Bedard(who I think was a fluke last year) and Felix Hernandez(the 21 year old sensation).  Other than that they have Miguel Batista who's old and mediocre, Carlos Silva who last year had a career year and Jarrod Washburn another mediocre pitcher.  They have a decent bullpen headed by JJ Putz(pronounced puts) and Brandon Morrow.  Other than that they're fairly thin.

The real team I'd like to talk about in this post is the Oakland A's, my predicted surprise team.  Even though Billy Beane is "rebuilding" he can't help it but to field a good team every year.  What's a good team according to Billy?  A team that competes for a playoff spot.  I think with the Tigers doing atrociously so far this season the only competition the A's will have for the Wild Card and the Division are the Angels, Mariners, Rays and Yankees(maybe even the Royals).  Why are the A's so good?  Because Billy Beane trades away his players at peak value for cheaper blue chip prospects, lots and lots of prospects.  Now they have a more potent lineup than the Mariners with a middle of the order of Daric Barton, a crazy power hitter that can get on base and Jack Cust, another guy with extreme power that walks a ton.  New additions like Jack Hannahan will also contribute.  This guy is a typical Billy guy, a guy that is 27 and was seeing 4.2 pitches per at-bat and has a knack for gettting on-base and is a pretty good fielder but can't hit for power, doesn't have a good arm, isn't fast and most importantly isn't athletic.  This guy although not athletic, knows how to play the game of baseball.  So far he's walking in 13% of his pa's, a ridiculous number and should improve over time in the MLB.  Oakland also has a great core of young talent that will be around for another few years before being traded and repeating this process again.

The Rest of the Division Goes as Follows:
1. LA Angels
2. Oakland A's(my surprise team)
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers