Predictions are useless but are also fun to do. This week I will roll out my own dumb predictions for the 2013 season.
For the second straight season the Angels made a huge impact in the free agent market signing Josh Hamilton to a five year contract. While that looks impressive on paper, Hamilton is replacing Torii Hunter who had a career year in 2012. Hamilton is certainly the bigger name and draw but it’s unlikely he will provide much more (if any) on-field value than Hunter did last season. The Angles rotation appears to be shaky 2-5 but their lineup will hit, hit for power, and score lots of runs. Even if Mike Trout regresses some from last year, he could drop three wins and still be the best player in the baseball.
Best player by WAR (Baseball-Reference) Mike Trout 8.8
Even though the Rangers lost Hamilton (and Napoli) I don’t think scoring runs will be a problem for them. They still have a very deep lineup and an well above average defense but their pitching remains a concern. I expect Yu Darvish to have a Cy Young caliber season but the rest of their starters all come with question marks attached to them. The Rangers should get a boost when top prospect Jurickson Profar joins the team, but I don’t expect him to add the kind of value that Trout and Harper did last year.
Best player by WAR Yu Darvish 6.3
The Marines added a few quality bats (Morse & Morales) and have finally moved their fences in which should help the rest of their lineup as well. The Mariners have several good young pitchers in their system but none of them are expected to be big time contributors in 2013. Felix Hernandez is great but the rest of their pitching staff if full of question marks and mediocrity. Seattle could be good enough to hang in the wild card race, however they could also be sellers at the deadline if they get off to a poor start.
Best player by WAR Felix Hernandez 5.0
The A’s overachieved last year, I expect some regression from them in 2013. Cespedes had stretches of brilliance last season, he should continue to hit and improve, but the rest of their lineup is full of players coming off of career years (Reddick, Jaso) and hitters with little to no upside. Their pitching staff was great last season, they had the 2nd best ERA (3.42) in the American League, but I question if Brett Anderson can stay healthy and if Tommy Milone, Dan Straily, and A.J. Griffin can match their productivity from last season.
Best player by WAR Yoenis Cespedes 4.2
The Astros appear to have an entire roster full of replacement level players. They are obviously in a rebuilding phase that will likely last several more seasons. Things will be ugly for them and their fans during this stretch but they do have a progressive/capable front office that is rebuilding their farm system. Hopefully they can avoid setting an all time record for futility as they rebuild.
Best player by WAR Jose Altuve 1.5
The all AL West team with my projected WAR (Baseball-Reference).
This team is comprised of mostly Angles and Rangers. It’s unlikely that will be the case at the end of the season but with the exception of Coco Crisp making a run at Bourjos, I don’t see many hitters on the Mariners, A’s, or Astros that are top division players.
I don’t have a tremendous amount of confidence in either Wilson or Anderson, really there are half a dozen pitchers in the division that could grab the final two spots.
Those are my dumb predictions for the AL West. I’ll revisit them at the end of the season to see how many I butchered.
Follow me on Twitter @Rosscarey
Originally posted 3/29/13
Thumbnail AL West logo courtesy of www.hilaritan.com