Season 1: 98-64; 1st Place; Lost in ALCS
Season 2: 91-71; 1st Place; Lost in DCS
Rip! The torn hamstring of DH Darryl Whitaker was heard by all fans of the Angels, as the two-time AL silver slugger was lost for the season. Even without him, the Angels still have one of the most powerful lineups in the AL. With players like, rightfielder Elmer Adams, first baseman Arthur Boggs, and newly acquired leftfielder Willie Torres, there will be plenty of souvenirs headed to the outfield bleachers. In addition to the sluggers, there are some disciplined hitters who will be filling the bases for those sluggers in the form of second baseman Tony Contreras and veteran free agent pick-up catcher William Jennings. No divine intervention should be necessary for this offense, because the Angels are going to score a lot of runs. However if they do need a boost, bigtime 1B/DH prospect Travis Murphy is waiting for his chance to start knocking them in for the big club.
Led by 18-game winner Haywood Charles, the young rotation of the Angels should be able to provide plenty of solid innings of work. Other key starters looking to take advantage of what should be excellent run support are lefties Bennie Chouinard and Rabbit Tracy and big young righthander Kevin Vitiello.
The primary bullpen duties are performed masterfully by one of the better reliever tandems in the league in veterans Leon Owens and Alex Sanchez. Overall the pitching corp does not have any marquee names, but enough quality to keep this team in every game.
Season 3 Forecast
Despite the loss of Whitaker, the Angels still look like the team to beat in the AL West. Murphy’s call-up seems likely and he will definitely fill the void left by that nasty hamstring and help to hoist another divisional championship pennant.
Season 3 Prediction: 92-70; 1st Place
Season 1: 65-97; 4th Place
Season 2: 79-83; 2nd Place
Unlike the Angels, the Beavers will mostly be relying on small ball in pitcher friendly PGE Park. Led by rightfielder Bobby Dawkins and with help from DH Rico Ayala, new free agent acquisitions centerfielder Patrick Cone and third baseman Bono Mullen, the Beavers should have a good amount of baserunners for their power hitters first baseman Robert Dunham, DH Jarrod Costello, and leftfielder J.J. Roth. This lineup looks to be average for the AL, which means that this team should be able to put up enough runs to compete every night. Unfortunately, what you see now is what they got as there is no immediate help available in the minors.
Good and young starting pitching is starting to seem like the norm in this division as the Beavers have a very talented quintet of young hurlers in righthanders Nelson Stockton and Dick Cook and southpaws Pepper Stearns, Parker Parris, and Josias Rosado. While Rosado and Parris currently have the most experience, it’s unknown who will actually develop into the ace of this group as they all have the talent to provide a lot of quality starts.
The bullpen received a major boost this offseason with the free agent signing of closer Ignacio Benitez. Though Benitez is known to be a bit wild, he is coming off a stellar 41 save season and should be a big upgrade from last season’s closer, now setup man Red Carter. Another bullpen boost was found with one of the best pickups in this year’s Rule 5 draft, Johnny Riggs. Riggs is a crafty righthander who should provide excellent innings of setup for Benitez.
Season 3 Forecast
With an improved lineup and pitching staff, the Beavers definitely look to continue their upswing from the cellar in which they resided two seasons ago. They should force the Angels to watch their backs deep into the season and make a run for the wildcard.
Season 3 Prediction: 86-76; 2nd Place
Season 1: 81-81; 2nd Place
Season 2: 65-97; 4th Place
The Mariners had the worst offense in the league last season on their way into the cellar. The Mariners took a couple of steps in the right direction by signing free agent third baseman Luis Reynoso and acquiring via a trade 1B/DH Karl Turner. Combining these new players with existing rightfielder Brandon Curtis and underperforming shortstop Richard Ishii should help to bolster the offense to closer to average. While they still will not blow out anyone, they have a better chance to be competitive.
A new ace has rolled into town as one of the big winners of this season’s free agent market, Freddy Alston. With Alston’s arrival, Diego Ibarra looks to be a fearsome starter for the #2 slot. Last season he suffered from having horrid run support as he was among the league leaders in ERA and WHIP over his 249 innings pitched, yet finished with a dismal W-L record of 9-18. The future also looks bright for Seattle with one of the best developing young pitchers in the game in big lefty Kordell Becker.
The bullpen took a hit with the loss of Graham Brown in the trade for Turner, leaving James Hutton as the only strong bullpen presence. Fortunately for the Mariners, Hutton is a fitness freak and seems to have the energy to pitch a couple of innings every game.
Season 3 Forecast
While the offense should be a little better, it is just not enough for the high scoring AL. The addition of Alston should provide an additional boost this season, but the Mariners are just not ready to compete for the playoffs.
Season 3 Prediction: 75-87; 3rd Place
Season 1: 73-89; 3rd Place
Season 2: 76-86; 3rd Place
The Athletics have a slightly below average offense comprised of no bigtime contributors but merely a collection of solid ones, most notably those of catcher Patrick Romero, 1B/DH Lariel Sardinha, centerfielder Dick Ligtenberg, DH Ron Simmons, and leftfielder Sean McCallum. With the only acquisition being Philly castoff second baseman Danys Puente and no major prospects waiting in the wings, the Coliseum fans do not have much hope for improvement at the plate.
The starting pitching staff is composed of a rag-tag bunch of youngsters who all look like end of the rotation guys at best. Seemingly the best of this group is big righthander Vic Diaz who can throw an array of four top quality pitches that keep the hitters off balance and looks to repeat his fine 15 win campaign of last season.
The one certainty among the Oakland pitchers is the role of closer as young stud Craig Evans looks like he has a lock on that spot for many seasons to come. Quality setup work comes courtesy of Harry Romero. If it weren’t for the fact that the Oakland Coliseum is a very pitcher friendly ballpark, this staff would have an ERA soaring off the chart.
Season 3 Forecast
With no real improvements made to the team from a year ago, the A’s look to slip a bit and land in the AL West cellar..
Season 3 Prediction: 69-93; 4th Place