Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Friday, March 18, 2005

2005 AL West Preview 

This will be the second-most watched division, after the AL East, this season thanks to all of the moves this offseason. Baseball’s smallest division might also be its best: all of these teams could finish .500 or better. But the team I like best is the …

2005 proj. Standings:
Oakland A’s
Anaheim Angels
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers

… the A’s. I like the A’s and I’m not saying that because I think Billy Beane is one of the smartest people in baseball. This team is poised to have tremendous success in 2005: they broke up the Big Three and pulled in tremendous prospects. They dealt two under-achieving pitchers to the Pirates for OBP machine / catcher extraordinaire Jason Kendall. The A’s are leading the charge in using defense to build a competitive team on the cheap. The A’s were bold, aggressive, creative. This is why they’ve won 90+ games the last five years. This team will win lots of games in 2005, somewhere between 90-95, I suspect … I don’t dislike the Angels, but they were surprisingly passive this offseason. For a team that flamed out in the post-season and then watched two rivals restock, I’d be more worried and aggressive than they seemed. The ’05 team looks like the ’04 one, just a little less talented. To me, this is a problem because Vald Guerrero carried them so much during the playoff race. Let’s say 87-90 wins … I’m torn as to what to say about the Mariners. I think they stole Adrian Beltre from the Dodgers, and bringing Richie Sexton will be a better deal than I initially thought it was (Bill James projects them to create 211 runs in 2005 … I’m surprised at what an OBP machine Sexton looks like: .354 OBP projected), but they didn’t work on their pitching staff. Thanks to Safeco, the Mariners should be a team built around pitching (they had the AL's tenth best Fielding Independent Pitching in 2004- terrible) and defense (second best AL DER after the Devil Rays). When they lost Ken Griffey Jr they improved by twelve games during the 2000 season. When they lost A-Rod the next season they improved another thirteen-fourteen games. What does that tell you? … As for the Rangers, they surprised me, being in first place as late as August 22nd, with pretty solid play. That said, I don’t think this team did anything to keep pace with their three rivals. This team has the weakest pitching of the four AL West teams. I don’t see them having much of a shot.

Monday: NL East preview! I know you'll all want to know how I think that will play out...

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