Last season we found a rare franchise atop this division at seasons end. The franchise in LA won just their second division title and made the playoffs for just the third time in team history. The most successful franchise in this division, the team formerly in Vancouver came in second again. Cheyenne couldn't defend their division title and dropped back to third place. St Louis under new ownership struggled, but improved upon previous ownerships win total. This division has seen it's share of owners come and go, but it looks like that may be settling down now. The days of replacing multiple owners a season for the West have now become just replacing one owner the past couple seasons. Maybe these teams will start getting some good direction so that they can compete for playoff spots in the near future.
Los Angeles Regulators
Season 15 record- 88-74(AL West Champs)
5 year record- 378-432
Offense- Average-9th(.264), OBP-6th(.336), Slg-13th(.415), Runs-11th(766), HR-12th(200), SB-5th(141)
Defense- Fielding %-10th(.982), Plus Plays-7th(61), Minus Plays-2nd(25)
Pitching- ERA-5th(3.98), OAV-5th(.250), SO-4th(1091), Saves-7th(44/62)
Key Additions-3B Rafael Cervantes(tr-Sea), SP Jose Bravo(tr-Sea), SP Benji Crespo(tr-Sea)
Key Losses-3B Freddy Cuddyer(FA), SP Edgar Santana(tr-Sea)
Last season this team was taken over by new ownership and won their first division title since season 10. They improved the win total by 24 games over the previous season as well. This was the one team that really messed up my predictions in the AL as they were the only division winner I didn't predict. When I asked the owner to describe how he feels about winning the division after I predicted incorrectly he replied, "If at first you don't succeed then maybe you just suck." Last season the team was about average to a little below offensively. The loss of Cuddyer hurts, but the addition of NL MVP Cervantes eases that loss. The team has some good hitters in the lineup, but they lack power as Fleming is the only real threat of hitting the long ball. They have quite a bit of speed though and should be able to steal plenty of bases. The defense was just below average but had good range. I think the team will still be below average defensively, but they do have a really good fielding shortstop. They really lack a centerfielder. The pitching last season was one of the best in the AL. They brought in a couple new starting pitchers that should help make them even better. I really like the rotation and the bullpen is pretty good as well. This team is going to be tough to beat for the division this season. I think they can win over 90 games and they only thing really holding them back is defense.
Season 15 record- 80-82
5 year record- 423-387
Offense- Average-8th(.266), OBP-8th(.329), Slg-5th(.455), Runs-6th(823), HR-2nd(263), SB-7th(109)
Defense- Fielding %-7th(.984), Plus Plays-14th(42), Minus Plays-15th(62)
Pitching- ERA-8th(4.69), OAV-9th(.269), SO-7th(1061), Saves-2nd(47/67)
Key Losses-SP Bud Donnels(FA), 3B Dave Thompson(tr-Far)
This team was taken over by new ownership in the off season and relocated to Anaheim from Vancouver. It will be interesting to see the direction that the new ownership decides to go with this group. Just a few seasons ago this team was making it 3 straight division titles(all with different owners). They won 80 games last season and didn't really challenge for the division title. The offense was average with plenty of homerun power and a little speed as well. The team is pretty much built the same this season. They won't hit for high average, but can change a game with the long ball. They should also steal some bases but don't have the speed to change games with it. The defense was really below average last season. They lack a true shortstop, but the addition of Apollo Willis in centerfield will help. I think this team is better defensively but the shortstop position will hold them back from being a good defense. The pitching was just average last season. They didn't really address this in the off season and I think they may be a bit below average this season. The rotation is not terrible, but not good either. The bullpen isn't a strength either. This team, while not bad, isn't really good enough to take the division title. I don't think they can win the division this season, but they could win 80 games again.
Season 15 record- 75-87
5 year record- 395-415
Offense- Average-13th(.259), OBP-13th(.325), Slg-14th(.400), Runs-13th(756), HR-15th(176), SB-12th(79)
Defense- Fielding %-8th(.983), Plus Plays-11th(48), Minus Plays-9th(32)
Pitching- ERA-10th(4.90), OAV-8th(.268), SO-11th(1018), Saves-6th(45/53)
Key Additions-C Antonio Zhang(FA), RF Rob Lee(FA)
Key Losses-SS Donne Wells(FA), RP Omar Sanchez(FA)
These guys took a step backwards last season after winning the division in season 14. They needed something in the off season to give the team a spark to try to get back in the race again. I believe they at the very least tried to do that with the additions of Zhang and Lee. Those are 2 pretty good signings. Last season this team was pretty bad offensively. I don't see how they can repeat that sorry performance this season. They have some good hitters in their lineup this season. They really lack power throughout the lineup though and they won't change games with homeruns. They don't really have much stolen base threat outside of Matt Palmer and the team won't be able to use that to win them ball games. The defense was average last season. They have some players that can field good, but they aren't great. They look to me like an above average group with the glove. The team was also average at pitching last season. They have a few good pitchers on the staff, but besides that it's a weakness for this team. Cheyenne has improved the team in the off season, but I don't think it was enough to get this team into the post season. The major weakness is pitching and I can see that holding them back to under 80 victories again this season.
St Louis Vipers
Season 15 record- 67-95
5 year record- 302-508
Offense- Average-16th(.245), OBP-16th(.314), Slg-16th(.385), Runs-16th(685), HR-14th(188), SB-8th(99)
Defense- Fielding %-10th(.982), Plus Plays-9th(52), Minus Plays-10th(33)
Pitching- ERA-16th(5.64), OAV-15th(.287), SO-13th(990), Saves-10th(42/53)
Key Additions-RP Bernard Hoffman(FA), RP Archie Goldman(FA), RP Cam Hogan(FA), RP Omar Sanchez(FA)
This franchise seems to be always going through a rebuilding process as they are now. With so many owners in their history, there really has been nothing to build on. This ownership is in their second season now and hopefully for this franchise, they stick around long enough to get the ship right. In the teams first season in St Louis they improved their record by 9 games from season 14 and that's a welcome sight. The offense though, was bad last season. They finished last in nearly every category. The team didn't do much in the off season to help this though. They lack contact hitters, and power, but they do have some speed. Just not enough speed to make a difference. The defense though, was pretty average last season. It should be right about the same this season. The pitching was bad last season. That is the one area this team really upgraded in the off season. They loaded up on relief pitchers that will help this bullpen quite a bit. The problem is that the starting rotation isn't very good and those guys are going to be over worked. Keep in mind that this team is still in rebuild mode and really shouldn't be expecting to challenge for the division title. They are a couple seasons away from being able to really compete and this season will be another challenging season for them. I would think it would be a successful season if they reach 65 wins.
Los Angeles is the team to beat in the West this season. They should have no problem winning this division. The Anaheim team is good but not in the upper echelon of the AL. I don't think they have what it takes to win the division this season and likely won't make the playoffs. Cheyenne is improved, but the are lacking in pitching and that worries me with any team. That will be too big of a problem to over come. St Louis is rebuilding and patience is key for that franchise.
1. Los Angeles
4. St Louis