Monday, December 26, 2011

AL West Season 18 Previews

AL West
This is the division that's hard to predict. There has been very little consistency from any team in this division. Not surprising since there hasn't been much consistency in ownership. By needing another new owner in this division this season, there has now been 30 different owners for the division in 18 seasons. Recently it has been getting better though and this division should start seeing some stability if it remains that way. Since season 10 the team in Anaheim has been competitive and always real close to 80 wins, but after a 3 season run of division championships that ended in season 13, the team has yet to make it back to the post season. They tied for the division lead last season, but lost by virtue of the tie breaker. The franchise in St Louis hasn't had that kind of success, but have been improving the win total each season for 4 straight seasons and ended up taking their first division title in franchise history last season and 2nd post season appearance. The team in Salem hasn't been very competitive for the most part of the franchises history, but after back to back division titles they took a tumble last season to third place. The franchise in Vancouver has new ownership now after the previous owner led the team to their second worst record in their history. It's hard to imagine that this team won the division just 4 seasons ago, but things have gone down hill since. With the first pick in the upcoming draft it'll be a good start to rebuild this team for the new owner.
St Louis Arch Angels
Season 17 record- 82-80(AL West Champs)
5 year record- 325-485

Offense- Average-16th(.249), OBP-15th(.320), Slg-16th(.378), Runs-15th(707), HR-16th(152), SB-1st(277)
Defense- Fld %-6th(.986), Plus Plays-6th(82), Minus Plays-4th(17)
Pitching- ERA-4th(4.50), OAV-4th(.262), SO-11th(1019), Saves-11th(43/60)

Key Additions- SP Jeffrey Rivera(FA), 3B Robert Tannehill(FA), SP Jim Kelly(promoted)
Key Losses- SP Esteban Villa(FA), RP Julio Lorenzo(FA), RP Cam Hogan(FA)

In just a third season at the helm in St Louis, Flucie, took this team to their first ever division title. After this franchise seen 7 owners in 7 seasons, this owner seems to have brought some stability to the franchise. That has helped them improve to where they are now. Only a second post season berth in the franchise history should show where this franchise was before. It's been bad. That really appears to be changing. It's surprising that this team was so good last season considering the offense. The offense was bottom of the league bad. They had very little power last season and this season will be much of the same. They didn't hit very well at all last season. They aren't built offensively to be a threat. They will rely on their top speed as they led the league in steals last season and should do so again. The defense was above average last season. Despite a lack of range for centerfield, they could be even better this season. The defense looks impressive. The pitching was above average last season. The promotion of Kelly will make them better. I also like the addition of Rivera. The rotation isn't especially strong, but they are at least an average rotation. The bullpen is about average. They blew some saves last season that hurt and I feel like the could use a better closer. This team has made some additions that make them better, but I wonder if they didn't over achieve last season. The weaknesses are glaring. In this division they could get by with those weaknesses though. This is a winnable division for this team. If they don't win the division then a wild card will be hard for them to attain.

Anaheim Annihilation
Season 17 record- 82-80
5 year record- 411-399

Offense- Average-8th(.273), OBP-6th(.343), Slg-9th(.440), Runs-8th(842), HR-8th(231), SB-8th(97)
Defense- Fld %-3rd(.988), Plus Plays-8th(50), Minus Plays-7th(39)
Pitching- ERA-5th(4.52), OAV-2nd(.256), SO-3rd(1098), Saves-14th(38/55)

Key Additions- 2B Alex Romero(FA), OF Alberto Machado(FA)
Key Losses- RP Harry Gonzalez(FA), SP Vinny Evans(FA), 2B Preston Williams(FA)

The owner in Anaheim is entering a third season running the organization. With 80 wins the first season and 82 last season, they've been on the verge of making the post season, but have fallen short each season. It's been since season 9 since the franchise has had a truly bad season. They've been at the top or close to it in every season since. Offensively this team was really average last season. They finished near the middle of the league in almost every category. The addition of Machado adds some power to the lineup. They should finish better in the power numbers. The hitting still looks pretty average besides that though. The defense was one of the better D's in the league last season. I don't see that happening again. The have a really good shortstop and Billingsly could play centerfield, but if not then they don't have a centerfielder. The defense doesn't look good to me really. I think they could be a bottom half of the league defensive team. They finished in the upper half of the league in pitching last season. The loss of Evans hurts a little, but youngster Diego Benitez should be in the rotation this season and he looks like a really good starter. The rotation is good. It's not great, but they are above average for sure. The bullpen isn't bad, but they aren't where the rotation is. Actually the bullpen could hurt this team. Overall this is a good team with some weaknesses. They should challenge for the division title, but they aren't one of the top teams in the AL and likely wouldn't get a wild card.

Salem Reg
Season 17 record- 79-83
5 year record- 390-420

Offense- Average-6th(.279), OBP-5th(.345), Slg-11th(.430), Runs-10th(827), HR-12th(198), SB-4th(170)
Defense- Fld %-9th(.983), Plus Plays-7th(70), Minus Plays-6th(29)
Pitching- ERA-10th(4.93), OAV-6th(.265), SO-15th(969), Saves-12th(40/54)

Key Additions- 1B Quilvio Cordero(FA), 2B Preston Williams(FA), OF/1B Zeke Decker(FA), SP J.C. Cox(FA), 1B Alejandro Torres(FA), SP Luis Rijo(FA)
Key Losses- CF Patrick Jefferson(released), OF/2B Luke Ryan(FA), SP Benji Crespo(FA), SP Jeffrey Rivera(FA), RP Carlton Harding(FA), 1B Miguel Pichardo(FA), SP Al Rivers(FA)

After taking over this team in season 15, bobswagger91, launched them to the top of the division. Then repeated that feat the next season to give the team 3 division titles in their history. Last season though, they dropped off to third in what was a disappointing season. They didn't find themselves too far off of the division title, but they still finished behind 2 other teams. Offensively last season they hit well, but lacked pop and didn't score runs at a high pace. They had a lot of turnover in the off season and offensively is one spot that seen big changes. They do have some power now with the addition of Cordero and his 45 homers from last season. Zeke Decker has some power too. The problem is that they aren't very good hitters outside of the long ball. The addition of Torres and Williams give them more players that can get on base. I like this offense and think they could finish in the upper part of the league. Defensively this team was average last season. The loss of Jefferson doesn't help. They have a pretty good shortstop, but lack a good defender in centerfield.
I think this team is below average on defense. This could be something that hurts them this season. The pitching was a killer for this team last season. That is another area of big turnover for them. Rijo and Cox should do better than the guys they lost. They rotation is about average. The bullpen has some solid arms, but the depth isn't there. The pitching staff as a whole looks about average to me. This team is an average team that should contend for the division title this season. Like the other teams in the division though, they aren't a top of the league team. They have weaknesses that stand out and aren't a strong team all around. I don't think they can take a wild card spot, but they should battle for the division title.

Vancouver Canucks
Season 17 record- 55-107
5 year record- 376-434

Offense- Average-13th(.263), OBP-12th(.331), Slg-14th(.404), Runs-14th(730), HR-15th(172), SB-7th(104)
Defense- Fld %-14th(.979), Plus Plays-9th(49), Minus Plays-8th(41)
Pitching- ERA-16th(6.14), OAV-16th(.292), SO-9th(1022), Saves-16th(33/48)

Key Additions- SP Gregg Thomas(FA), 1B Will McCarthy(FA), RP D.T. Woodson(FA), RP Esteban Dotel(FA), CF Chul Zhang(FA), 3B Omar Siqueiros(FA)
Key Losses- OF O.T. Munson(FA), 1B Jim Byrne(FA), OF Rob Lee(FA)

This is the one team in the division that needed a new owner this season. Stepping in is skplayer07, and lucky for them they walk into the 1st pick in this seasons draft. The team has been going south the past few seasons since winning the division championship and bottomed out last season. With that, the previous owner was no longer interested in trying to right the ship. Offensively this was a bad team that lacked power and the ability to just get on base. They still lack power, but I like the additions they've made. McCarthy and Siqueiros can still hit and Zhang can get on base. They aren't a great hitting team by any means, but they are better than last season. Unfortunately, that isn't saying much. I think they are a below average team offensively. Defensively the team wasn't much better. They lack a true fielding shortstop and centerfielder. They do have solid gloves in other positions though. That could help them move up defensively. The lack of good gloves at those key positions stops them from being a good defensive team though. The pitching was real bad last season. The good thing is they can't get much worse. The addition of Thomas will help the rotation. The rotation isn't bad, but they lack good control for most of the guys. They should be better than last season there. The additions of Woodson and Dotel add depth to the bullpen. Overall though it is a less than spectacular pen. The staff isn't good, but they aren't terrible. I think this team is in the start of a rebuild and any improvement over last season is a good sign for them. This club doesn't have much of a chance at winning the division this season, but it's a weak division and anything could happen. They are better off rebuilding and planning for a few seasons down the road. With the first pick this season they could get a jump start on that.


I don't really like to tear teams down and try to put positive spins on things, but this division is winnable by all teams. St Louis won the division last season, but I don't think they are quite a great team that should dominate and stay on top. They should be good though and will be tough to knock from the top. Anaheim will battle for that top spot and really I think they are a better team overall than St Louis. Salem isn't a bad team either and could challenge for that top spot. The thing is that they don't look as good on paper as they were last season in what was a disappointing season. Vancouver is a team that should be rebuilding and aren't quite with the rest of the division. It would take quite a bit to go right for them to get to the top of the division.

1.) Anaheim
2.) St Louis
3.) Salem
4.) Vancouver

No comments:

Post a Comment