Sunday, April 02, 2006

Prediction: AL West

The Oakland Athletic's are an amazing team. With a rather limited budget, the A's have put a competitive team on the field year after year after year. Billy Beane gets much of the credit, and it's probably deserved. They've reloaded for 2006 and they'll be competitive again. They seem to lose all-star caliber players every year, yet come back with a team that is just as good. This year, Barry Zito is on the trading block, but I have no doubt that whatever happens with Zito, the A's will still be competitive.

The Angels have a very good team on paper. But unlike the Cincinnati Reds (see previous post), the Angels should be able to convert that paper potential into wins on the field. Leading the Angels again this year will be Mike Scioscia, one of the best managers in all of baseball. Vlad Guerrero, Garret Anderson and Darin Erstad make for a potent outfield, and the infield, anchored by Orlando Cabrera at SS, should be formidable. The Angels pitching, led by Bartolo Colon, should be one of the better staffs in the Bigs. The Angels should contend for the NL West.

The Rangers surprised a lot of people in 2005, but in the end, they just didn't have the pitching to close the deal. They've made some changes in the off-season, including adding Kevin Millwood to their starting rotation. The Rangers will be able to score runs, with an offense led by Hank Blalock and Mark Texiera, but their problem in 2006 will be the same as it was in 2005: too little pitching.

The Seattle Mariners are in for a long season. They have Ichiro Suzuki, one of baseball's best players, and then it goes way down hill from there. The Mariners won't pitch very well, but that's okay because they won't hit very well either.

In October, the NL West will look like this:

1) Oakland A's
2) Los Angeles Angels of Anehiem
3) Texas Rangers
4) Seattle Mariners

Next up: the NL West.


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