Baseball picksMarch 23, 2010

MLB Picks 2010 – AL West

AL WEST
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. LOS ANGELES ANGELS
2. SEATTLE
3. TEXAS
4. OAKLAND

L A  ANGELS
MANAGER: MIKE SCIOSCIA
LAST YEAR: 97-65
BIGGEST ADD: HIDEKI MATSUI DH
BIGGEST LOSS: JOHN LACKEY
BEST PROSPECT: CHRIS PETTIT OF

OUTLOOK:
The Angels will undoubtedly miss Chone Figgins who scored 114 runs last year, and John Lackey at the top of the rotation. Perhaps the biggest key to the success or failure of the Angles will be Scott Kazmir. Kazmir is going to have to stay healthy and return to the form he had in Tampa as a top of the rotation pitcher. Weaver, Saunders and Santana are quite capeable of good seasons on a slightly better-than average rotation. The pen should get a boost with the addition of Fernando Rodney. Hideki Matsui is going to drive in a lot of runs for this team, and he will be a pleasamt addition. This team can outhit a lot bad pitching starts as the offense is still potent. Kazmir holds the key to just how far they go.

SEATTLE
MANAGER: DON WAKAMATSU
LAST YEAR: 85-77
BIGGEST ADD: CLIFF LEE
BIGGEST LOSS: ERIK BEDARD
TOP PROSPECT: DUSTIN ACKLEY IF

OUTLOOK:
The Mariners have the best 1-2 punch of any rotation in baseball in Hernandez and Lee. The Mariners have top outfielders in Ichiro and Gutierrez. If the big two at the top of the rotation stay healthy, the M’s are going to win a lot of games. The big question is, how many will they win from Nos. 3-5? The M’s had an above average bullpen, so they need five innings from the bottom three in the rotation. They also have Chone Figgins behind Ichiro, and that is potentially 100 SBs, so the M’s will be able to steal a close game here and there. If Milton Bradley behaves, and just plays he is a solid No. 3 hitter. There are a lot of pieces in place, but the question marks in the bottom of the rotation need to come through. If this team can make the playoffs, they will be very dangerous with Hernandez, and Lee.


TEXAS

MANAGER: RON WASHINGTON
LAST YEAR: 87-75
BIGGEST ADD: RICH HARDEN RHP
BIGEST LOSS: KEVIN MILLWOOD
TOP PROSPECT: NEFTALI FELIZ RHP

OUTLOOK:
Rich Harden finally gives the Rangers a top of the rotation pitcher, bolstering an average staff. Scott Feldman developed into a reliable starter, and needs to duplicate his 17-win season from a year ago. The bullpen can be shaky at times, but for the most part has been slightly above average. The Rangers’ lineup has gradually become weaker, and last year was about average, so this team that used to have a dominant lineup, and no pitching, is now more balanced, but still a pitcher or two, and a hitter or two short. Playoffs unlikely.
OAKLAND
MANAGER: BOB GEREN
LAST YEAR: 75-87
BIGGEST ADD: COCO CRISP OF
BIGGEST LOSS: JACK CUST
TOP PROSPECT: CHRIS CARTER OF/1B

OUTLOOK:
It seems like the A’s develop pitchers, keep them around for awhile then start over again. They find themselves in the throws of a young rotation again, but one with plenty of potential. Anderson, Cahill, and Mazzaro all have some experience now, and just how much they grow this year will be the fate of the A’s. They were an average rotation a year ago, and I expect some growth and improvement here. The bullpen might not have names, but it was well above the league average a year ago, and should be adequate again. Coco Crisp gives them an experienced leadoff hitter, and Rajai Davis is emerging fast as one of the top outfielders in the league defensively. They’ve got lots of speed, but not much pop, which will hurt them a lot of the time. Pitching will keep them in games, but the lineup is a few hitters short and the A’s will struggle once again.

AL WILDCARD WINNER: BOSTON