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OC Register: 2019 American League West previews


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Note: All rotations and lineups are projections.

HOUSTON ASTROS

2018 record: 103-59

2018 run differential: Plus-263

2018 AL rank in OPS: 5th

2018 AL rank in WHIP: 1st

Manager: A.J. Hinch

Rotation: Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock

Bullpen: Ryan Pressly, Dean Deetz, Hector Rendon, Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Cionel Perez, Josh James

Closer: Roberto Osuna

Lineup: 1B Yuli Gurriel, 2B Jose Altuve, SS Carlos Correa, 3B Alex Bregman, C Max Stassi/Robinson Chirinos, DH Tyler White, LF Michael Brantley, CF George Springer, RF Josh Reddick

Fun Fact: McHugh rejoins the rotation after a 0.92 WHIP in last year’s bullpen.

X-Factor: At his best, Osuna would be the best closer Hinch has managed in Houston.

Prediction: First. Only the Astros are talented enough to lose Dallas Keuchel, Marwin Gonzalez, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers and keep on trucking.

ANGELS

2018 record: 80-82

2018 run differential: Minus-1

2018 AL rank in OPS: 8th

2018 AL rank in WHIP: 8th

Manager: Brad Ausmus

Rotation: Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Jaime Barria, Nick Tropeano

Bullpen: Cam Bedrosian, Ty Buttrey, Justin Anderson, Noe Ramirez, Hansel Robles, Jake Jewell, Taylor Cole

Closer: Cody Allen

Lineup: 1B Albert Pujols/Justin Bour, 2B David Fletcher, SS Andrelton Simmons, 3B Zack Cozart, C Jonathan Lucroy, DH Pujols/Shohei Ohtani, LF Justin Upton, CF Mike Trout, RF Kole Calhoun

Fun Fact: Ohtani got an extra-base hit in 12.3 percent of his plate appearances. Trout did it in 11 percent.

X-Factor: Skaggs, or somebody, needs to imitate a true No. 1 starter.

Prediction: Second. Trout’s contract should relax the entire franchise.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

2018 record: 97-65

2018 run differential: Plus-137

2018 AL rank in OPS: 4th

2018 AL rank in WHIP: 4th

Manager: Bob Melvin

Rotation: Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Brett Anderson, Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Aaron Brooks, Chris Bassitt

Bullpen: Lou Trivino, Joakim Soria, Yusmeiro Petit, Fernando Rodney, Liam Hendriks, Ryan Buchter, Ryan Dull

Closer: Blake Treinen

Lineup: 1B Matt Olson, 2B Jurickson Profar, SS Marcus Semien, 3B Matt Chapman, C Josh Phegley/Nick Hundley, DH Khris Davis, LF Robbie Grossman, CF Ramon Laureano, RF Stephen Piscotty

Fun Fact: Davis is only the 22nd player in MLB history with 40 homers and 100 RBIs in three consecutive years.

X-Factor: Laureano showed a strong arm and speed in limited play.

Prediction: Third. Difficult to be as bullpen-reliant, in back-to-back years, as Oakland is.

SEATTLE MARINERS

2018 record: 89-73

2018 run differential: Minus-34

2018 AL rank in OPS: 7th

2018 AL rank in WHIP: 7th

Manager: Scott Servais

Rotation: Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Mike Leake, Wade LeBlanc, Felix Hernandez, Jordan Sheffield

Bullpen: Dan Altavilla, Zac Rosscup, Roenis Elias, Cory Gearrin, Chasen Bradford, Nick Rumbelow

Closer: Hunter Strickland

Lineup: 1B Ryon Healy/Edwin Encarnacion/Jay Bruce, 2B Dee Gordon, SS Tim Beckham, 3B Kyle Seager/Healy, C Omar Narvaez, DH Encarnacion/Bruce/Daniel Vogelbach, LF Domingo Santana, CF Mallex Smith, RF Mitch Haniger

Fun Fact: The Mariners played 57 one-run games, winning 36.

X-Factor: It might be a stretch to expect Strickland to replace Edwin Diaz.

Prediction: Fourth. The front office believes in activity without accomplishment.

TEXAS RANGERS

2018 record: 67-95

2018 run differential: Minus-111

2018 AL rank of OPS: 11th

2018 AL rank in WHIP: 11th

Manager: Chris Woodward

Rotation: Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Edinson Volquez, Drew Smyly, Shelby Miller, Ariel Jurado

Bullpen: Jesse Chavez, Chris Martin, Jeffrey Springs, Shawn Kelley, Zach McAllister,  Nick Gardewine

Closer: Jose Leclerc

Lineup: 1B Ronald Guzman, 2B Rougned Odor, SS Elvis Andrus, 3B Asdrubal Cabrera, C Isiah Kiner-Falefa/Jeff Mathis, DH Shin-Soo Choo/Willie Calhoun, LF Joey Gallo, CF Delino DeShields, RF Nomar Mazara

Fun Fact: Leclerc gave up 24 hits in 57-⅔ innings and struck out 85.

X-Factor: Smyly, once a promising lefty, hasn’t pitched in two years.

Prediction: Fifth. A lot of dead space in between Gallo’s home runs.

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1 hour ago, AngelsWin.com said:

 

SEATTLE MARINERS

2018 record: 89-73

2018 run differential: Minus-34

2018 AL rank in OPS: 7th

2018 AL rank in WHIP: 7th

Manager: Scott Servais

Rotation: Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Mike Leake, Wade LeBlanc, Felix Hernandez, Jordan Sheffield Justus Sheffield

Bullpen: Dan Altavilla, Zac Rosscup, Roenis Elias, Cory Gearrin, Chasen Bradford, Nick Rumbelow

Closer: Hunter Strickland

Lineup: 1B Ryon Healy/Edwin Encarnacion/Jay Bruce, 2B Dee Gordon, SS Tim Beckham, 3B Kyle Seager/Healy, C Omar Narvaez, DH Encarnacion/Bruce/Daniel Vogelbach, LF Domingo Santana, CF Mallex Smith, RF Mitch Haniger

Fun Fact: The Mariners played 57 one-run games, winning 36.

X-Factor: It might be a stretch to expect Strickland to replace Edwin Diaz.

Prediction: Fourth. The front office believes in activity without accomplishment.

 

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History suggests at least one of Seattle, Oakland, or Texas will wind up being much, much better than anyone expects. They're all sort of a grab bag of similar expectations. 

Oakland likely gets the slight nod because of what they did last year, but Jon Daniels is a good GM with a history of decent moves, and the Mariners have a higher floor than most give them credit.

My guess is Texas still finishes last, but I don't think they'll be a total mess, and I think Seattle and Oakland will wind up being much more in the .500 mix, and thus right behind the Angels, than folks anticipate.

Houston is in for a rocky year as they start transitioning in some of their next core. Still class of the division, but the Angels will have opportunity if fortune smiles on them.

Edited by totdprods
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After Verlander and Cole, there are question marks in Houston's rotation and even if Keuchel does end up back with them, he is still well behind in getting ready for the season. 

Can McHugh put in the innings after relieving in 2018?    Can Miley and Peacock each put a full season together?    Can Whitley eventually contribute in 2019? 

Their lineup is about as good as any in MLB, no real big fall off near the bottom of it.

 

WC game is the Halos goal for 2019, and then 2020 and beyond = a new great decade that could at least approach the 2000s success? 

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