Monday, March 24, 2014

Season 26 Previews: AL WEST

Oakland Athletics (AL)
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LAST YEARS RECORD: 105-57, Division Champions

LAST YEARS PREVIEW: This is the same dangerous team, but can they finally make it back to the World Series? Prediction: 103-59

OUT: Willie Boyle, Vance Cora, Quinton Brand, Will Lange, Elvis Raymond, Esteban Iglesias, Sid Cameron

IN: Cesar Toca, Earl LeMathieu, Ivan Megias, Hipolito Matos, Jeurys Valdes,

Despite dominating the regular season year after year, the Athletics only have their Division Titles to hold up. Mikebr wants a ring. Period. To make that happen he pulled off several trades, released some dead weight, and promoted from within.
Guys to watch out for this year are defending MVP Luis Baez and his sidekick Anibal Maduro. The pitching staff features four of the best pitchers in the AL: Richard Cameron, Lawrence Rosales, Endy Miller, and new addition Ivan Megias who holds a CY and seven all-star appearances. Losing Elvis Raymond could be a mistake considering his value out of the pen.
Overall, the moves bring in new faces without really changing the production that much.I still think the offense scores 750-800 runs. The defense and pitching should hold their runs allowed below 600 easily barring any major injuries.

PREDICTION: 96-66, 1st Place


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The team was overhauled from top to bottom. “We will be relying on a number of guys this season who are in the minors and/or have no major league experience.” The Angels seem very optimistic, and as always sweetnss will be looking to add a piece or two. PREDICTION: 77-85

OUT: Paxton Banks, Benji Limon, Alex Cabrera
IN: Bill Thompson, Sam Long, Ebenezer Lloyd, Miguel Colombe, JP Cabrera


The Angels finished pretty much where I thought they would. The offense was one of the best, scoring an outstanding 830 runs. However, the pitching staff was underwhelming by allowing 789. It was smart of sweet to keep his offensive core group together, since they ripped the cover off the ball. I’m not sure how much of a difference the overpriced JP Cabrera will help the Halos coming over from Charlotte. Rodney Magee is the guy to keep an eye on, and should be considered and MVP contender.

The starting pitching staff remains largely intact, minus Paxton Banks. Albert Maradona and Joe Maloney posted excellent numbers and fit nicely as a one and two. It’s unclear if Sam Long will move into the rotation. The bullpen is MUCH stronger, and could help the Angels win those close games (they were 19-28 in one run games). Ebenezer “Scrooge” Lloyd, Tony Campbell, and Fernando Carrasco should be able to get them through the 7th-9th.

My overall assessment of this team is that sweet has gotten his team a step closer to the playoffs this year. He took a good look at his glaring weaknesses and addressed those without messing up the chemistry. I think the offense will be just a little better (they had a low babip last year), and the pitching staff is looking good. Runs scored should be between 830-870, with the runs allowed improving to 740-770 range.


Portland Beavers (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: It looks like The Beavers has plateaued. I don’t see them moving forward, but no one is there to push them back either.  Prediction: 73-89

OUT: Andres Tatis, Greg Hewson, Paulie Winn.
IN: none


The Beavers started the offseason on a positive note, dumping unproductive players. But that is where the momentum stopped. At this point I don’t see any young guys coming up, and Dakar hasn’t let me know any of his plans this year.
The offense was subpar, and is now a year older. Patrick Kipling, once a dominating force, is starting to feel the effects of his 12 major league seasons. Portland didn’t have a good pitching staff outside of starter Hunter Young and reliever Louis Thomas.
Overall, this team seems to be ready to stall in the 70 win range for a second year, and is projected to drop into the 60’s. The offense will take a step back and score between 610-630 runs. The pitching staff won’t improve either allowing 770-740 runs. Not a fun year in the city of weird.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Two 100+ loss seasons puts you in the hot seat. Things are warming up in Seattle, and not in a good way.

Very little has been done to fix the problem. One free agent signing doesn’t make this team better. And once again, the Mariners are looking at 100+ losses. Prediction: 52-110

OUT: Erik Cosby, Ruben Valdes, Ed Curtis, Ricky Page
IN: Erick Linton, Douglas Hodges, Warren Hume, Phil Tracy, Sammy Redondo

At some point, Seattle has to start improving. Right????
The offense was anemic (603), and the pitching staff improved from horrifying to simply awful. Still…it’s an improvement. I’ve been saying for awhile now that The M’s are a terrifyingly bad defensive team. They proved it again last year. Cliff Fox, Russ Byrne, Mendy Williams, and Gary Richardson requested a meeting to talk about the lack of defense. All attempts were rebuffed. All of those pitchers had average to very good FIP (fielding independent pitching). But it’s obvious they don’t get any help from their fielders that averaged over an error a game, and turned only 127 double plays (about one every three games). Pitchers HATE that stuff.
So, what’s new now that it’s three years of 100 losses in a row??? The only offense they did have, Erik Cosby, was traded for another overpriced veteran pitcher in Erik Linton. Warren Hume was overpaid to be the #4 starter. Sammy Redondo was picked up, but God only knows if Sug will try to play him at SS. And Phil Tracey was paid huge bucks to close (when the team probably won’t see many close situations.
In the meantime, the defense still sucks and the offense is WEAKER than last year. Ugh. To answer the initial question…no…things will not be improving. They are going from BAD to WORSE. Runs scored should be 510-550, runs allowed 850-800.

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