Sunday, March 04, 2007

American League Breakdown (Part I)

The best teams for MLB by far will be found in the American League in 2007. With that said, due to the abundance of talent, we are going to be breaking down the AL a little different than the NL, in that it is going to be in 3 installments.

A.L. West:

The Mariners have put together a team that have some thinking they could be the next to go from worst to first. The pick up of Jeff Weaver will be seamless and fits right into the grunge scene. Closer J.J Putz is more than solid, and with names like Beltre, Sexson, Suzuki (a Yankee in 2008), Ibanez, and Guillen will definitely make some noise - but its not going to be enough to take home the division.

Anytime your line up has a consummate pro like Garrett Anderson, and a monster in Vlad Guerrero, you're going to get respect. However, that's all the L.A. Angels are going to get, as they will not be piling up many wins for the 2007 campaign. First the good - the younger Weaver may be one of the more exciting young pitchers and am eager to see what he can do for his Soph season. The bottom line is that Colon is injured and won't be full strength until the middle of season, and at the end of the day, their image made closer, Frankie Rodriguez, I'm not sold on. Yes he puts up numbers, it just seems as though, he doesn't put them up when you need him the most. They may make a late season push, but the Angels will very likely finish at the bottom of the division.

Who if anyone ever picks the Oakland A's to do anything? Yet, more times than not, they seem to find a way to be relevant and be playing in October. I'm not going to be different. I look at their depth chart and see respectable players, but nothing great. Rich Harden is no Zito, Mulder, or Hudson. Swisher, Kotsay, and Bradley are above average. Street is a real deal closer. And Mike Piazza is, well Mike Piazza. I see nothing here that says divisional champ.

The Texas Rangers will be the most interesting team to watch in the AL West in 2007. The offensive lineup is impressive. The three punch combo of Blalock, Young, and Teixeira is enough to get any pitcher in trouble and knocked out. Throw in the wisdom of aged leadership that knows how to get on base in Kenny Loften and you have something that can do some real damage. If, they just had some damn pitching though. The first two starters in Millwood and Padilla is respectable with both producing 15 plus win seasons for the Rangers while making all their starts last year. The remaining projected starters are sub .500 with ERAs above 5 - not good. The Rangers did take a chance on Eric Gagne. Obviously a gamble, but if it pays off it will do so in a big way and if it does, then they have a reliable closer that is second to one (in NY of course). They have Sosa in the system somewhere, but remains to be seen what, if anything he can do without the Clear and the Cream.

Final Prediction: Two quality starters, an awesome closer with something to prove, and a top 3 offensive lineup, will be enough for the Texas Rangers to earn the AL West crown.

6 comments:

Crash said...

Well at least you were right about the Mariners being one of the worst teams in baseball.

Rangers will not win the west. They will find a way to underachieve. It's going to come down to LA and Oak. Rich Harden is filthy and can be lights out. LA doesn't need Colon. Lackey is a #1 guy. If Weaver can make adjustments in his second season he'll put up #'s. Santana finally showed up and Saunders is a decent end of the rotation guy. They also have the best young 2B prospect starting this year (Howie Kendrick). He'll contend for AL ROY.

Mid R. said...

The Angels don't need Colon???

That's a fairly bold statement..

Harden maybe filthy and can be lights out... but he hasn't with any consistentcy..

Speaking of consistency - Pavano and Karstens - put in 4 innings of solid work as they Yanks won again in the highly competitive Grape Fruit league!!!

old professor said...

The Western Division of the American League is irrelevant when it comes to October. There will be a representative from the West only because someone will win the division. Each of those teams are mirror images of each other - terrible.

The Scooter said...

A flawed division. Old Prof is right...its irrelevent who wins the West, but if I had to pick one, I'd say the Angels.

Oakland is not going to get the production at DH from Piazza that they got from The Big Hurt last year, and even though I'm no big fan of Zito, losing him will hurt them.

The Rangers may be an interesting team to watch. They're going to score some runs, especially if Teixiera continues his play from a hot second half last year. The Rangers will live and die on two arms, however. The right arms of Brandon McCarthy and Robinson Tejeda. These two need to win 30 between them for the Rangers to have a shot.

Seattle is just Seattle....I can't take them seriously. Ichiro on a walk year should perform up to his high standards, but the starting pitching is pathetic and JJ Putz while a serviceable closer, is certainly not lights out.

Crash said...

Ask the Yankees if the western division is irrelevant in October. I believe they've been bounced a couple times by western teams in recent years.

old professor said...

Crash,

The bouncing of the Yankees the last few years specifically by Western Division teams is old news. The division has undergone a big change since California helped pack the Yankees bags. The Yankees have failed to advance the last few years because of noticeable flaws in their lineup.

The were outpitched by Detroit last year, out pitched and out played by California. And to be blunt they choked the chicken against Boston ( Torre was out managed and messed with his rotation).

Support the Troops