2006 AL West Preview
The time is now! Oakland will rise to the Big Stage, losing to the Cubs in 6 games. The Multi-Municipal Angels will give them a run for their money, but fall short. Colon will miss time, Molina the Lesser will be a downgrade at catcher, Edgardo Alfonzo, Orlando Cabrera, Erstad, and Juan Rivera will gum up the offense, and they’ll lose out. Texas still doesn’t know what the heck they’re doing, but their rising offensive stars will make them respectable. Ichiro, Beltre, and Sexson will mask the fact that the Mariners are a couple injuries away from being Kansas City.
With talented youth to burn & extraordinary potent Chavez, A’s poised to grab the division title. Angels look unbeatable on paper. Figgins could be the most versatile player in the majors. Rotation must maintain 05’s effort and then some. Rangers rotation Texas sized concern. Millwood
should help. Blalock fizzles after the break. Seattle needs to power up to compete. Team prays Beltre’s debut bust just a fluke.
Oakland will continue doing what they do best – making the most out of superior starting pitching and a balanced offensive attack. Injuries could have a lot of say as to how this team performs – anticipate another late season onslaught from the A’s. Imagine what Billy Beane could do with the Cubs payroll… Anaheim (or whatever they are called these days) has a solid foundation with Figgins, Guerrero and Bartolo Colon. Casey Kotchman will be on my fantasy team, I like this kid.
They’re good but I don’t think they’re good enough to beat out Oakland’s pitching. Look for Texas to be greatly improved with Kevin Millwood and Vincente Padilla, but they’re still playing in a shoebox. The effect that a disproportioned stadium has on Texas is comparable to what Coors does to the planners in Denver. Finally and least noteworthy are the Seattle Mariners. Even Ichiro is tiring of this game, forget these guys because their ownership certainly has. The Seattle Mariners are the baseball equivalent of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Oakland looks to have the best combination of pitching and hitting. If Frank Thomas and Bobby Crosby can stay healthy, I think they’ll run away with the division. LA seemed to bank their offseason on picking up Manny Ramirez and they didn’t do it. Vlad Guerrero is the only scary hitter in their lineup. Texas on the other hand, can score runs, and Millwood and Eaton will improve their pitching, but it doesn’t look like enough to me. Seattle finished 26 games out last year, and they added Matt Lawton and Carl Everett. If I was Jim Hendry, I’d start calling about Ichiro, now.
While I agree with everyone that Oakland is probably the most solid on paper. I feel really good about the Angels for 2 reasons. 1) Casey Kotchman is going to have a bust out season at first base. 2) Ervin Santana will make a strong run at 20 wins. Those two factors combined with a better lineup have me picking the Angels over the A’s in a dogfight.
Thursday – NL East
Friday – NL Central
Saturday – NL West
Sunday – Awards and Playoffs
Monday – Book Review “The Last Nine Innings” & Guest Stats Column