2012 AL West Team & Winter Wrap-Up

Unlike NCAA sports, pro sports don’t come out with pre-season 1st and 2nd teams, but if the AL West had its pre-season team, this is how I think it would shake out. My selection process looks at last year’s performance as well as potential this upcoming year, and often I use the sabermetric WAR to break ties. Some of the picks are obvious (Pujols), and others are less obvious (DH), so of course I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

A quick analysis shows that Texas is the class of the division, with more 1st team selections than the rest of the west combined. Anaheim has good 2nd tier depth, solid pitching, and balance. Texas and Anaheim each have 8 1st or 2nd team selections of the possible 10 positional categories, and of the 14 pitching spots, a whopping 11 are Rangers (6) and Angels (5). The M’s are a distant 3rd, but a ways ahead of the re-building A’s, who are loaded with average players but no star power whatsoever.

I wanted to take this chart one step further, and visually quantify the separation between teams based on these picks. To do so, I’ve simply awarded 2 points for a 1st team selection, and 1 point for a 2nd team selection. Here’s how it shakes out on a bar graph.

Lastly, here are team by team offseason wrap ups, after the jump…

    Texas Rangers— OFFSEASON GRADE: B-

Additions: Joe Nathan, Yu Darvish, Brad Hawpe, Conor Jackson

Subtractions: CJ Wilson, Darren Oliver, Matt Treanor, Brandon Webb

Summary: For some reason I thought Texas did more this off season, but that’s probably just because they seem to be involved with every rumor. Texas lost Wilson and Oliver and signed Darvish and Nathan. That seems like an even swap, and the rest is pretty blah.

    LA Angels of Anaheim— OFFSEASON GRADE: A

Additions: Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, Chris Iannetta, LaTroy Hawkins, Jorge Cantu

Subtractions: Joel Pineiro, Fernando Rodney, Russell Branyan, Tyler Chatwood, Jeff Mathis

Summary: The Angels improved as much as anyone this winter, because, well, P-U-J-O-L-S. LAA didn’t stop there, signing CJ Wilson and LaTroy Hawkins to sure up its pitching. The Angels are quite a bit better now, but they weren’t anything special last year, so I’m not ready to say they are a super team by any stretch.

    Seattle Mariners— OFFSEASON GRADE: B

Additions: John Jaso, George Sherrill, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jesus Montero, Hector Noesi, Kevin Millwood, Carlos Guillen, Shawn Camp, Hong-Chih Kuo

Subtractions: Michael Pineda, Adam Kennedy, David Aardsma, Jeff Gray, Daniel Cortes, Chris Gimenez, Jamey Wright, Josh Bard, Willy Mo Pena

Summary: Although I follow the M’s closely and could recite all of their winter moves, there’s something about seeing it on paper that helps me. The M’s were actually fairly active, and I have to say Jack has added some sneaky value here. I’m excited about the additions, and with the exception of Pineda, I won’t miss anyone.

    Oakland Athletics— OFFSEASON GRADE: C

Additions: Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Brad Peacock, Bartolo Colon, Jonny Gomes, Yoenis Cespedes

Subtractions: Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, Ryan Sweeney, Josh Willingham, David DeJesus, Hideki Matsui, Rich Harden

Summary: I hate to be too hard on Oakland, because a lot of their off season acquisitions are minor league prospects, which is what you do during rebuild mode. However, hard to ignore the talent that was shipped off from the big league squad, and equally hard to ignore just how little was added. The A’s could be really bad this season, there’s just no other way to put it.

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