Tag Archives: Elvis Andrus

2014 AL West Team

To be quite honest, creating a “Preseason All AL West Team” is a futile exercise.  If you are looking for an MLB season preview, full of sound analysis and predictions, this isn’t it.  But I’m a visual learner, and there is some value in seeing where the power is in the division, position by position.  Of course this isn’t an exact science, no predictions are, and only 2 players are selected per position, so you have a guy like Kyle Seager, the M’s second best position player, not making this list thanks to Beltre and Donaldson.   So ya, take this for what it is.  A quick snapshot of the division headed into 2014.  Although I should point out, by forecasting who has the most 1st and 2nd teamers, I correctly guessed the order of finish in the division last year!

My selection process looks at last year’s performance as well as projections for the upcoming season, and anticipated playing time. Some of the picks are obvious and others are less obvious, so of course I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

2014 AL West Team

Taking the visualization one step further, here’s a super scientific bar graph intended to show the separation between teams, by awarding 2 points for a 1st team selection, and 1 point for a 2nd team selection.

2014 AL West Graph

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by | March 15, 2014 · 9:05 pm

2013 AL West Team

Unlike some college 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. Clearly this is not a perfect method to predicting the AL West in 2013, and by season’s end the 1st and 2nd team selections will look different. But, it does provide a snapshot of how the division stacks up. My selection process looks at last year’s performance as well as potential this upcoming year, and projected impact/playing time. Some of the picks are obvious and others are less obvious, so of course I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

2013 AL West

A couple bullets:

  • It is hard to find much separation at the top between Oakland, Texas, and LAA. All 3 have playoff potential, but from this breakdown I would also suggest the Mariners are closer to the good teams in the division, rather than the bad (Houston).
  • Say what you want about Oakland’s 2012 season being an anomolye, but it’s hard to criticize the roster Billy Beane has been assembled this year. The A’s don’t have a lot of star power but they are solid at every position, and have a ton of depth, which will surely be an asset at some point.
  • The positions that were hardest to find a clear cut 1st and 2nd team selection were Catcher, DH, and the 2nd team OFs and Starting Ps. At catcher, Montero projects to have the most playing time and potential, so I gave him the honors. You could make a case for Jaso and Pierzynski too. The same is true between Kendrys Morales, Berkman, and Trumbo, but the numbers suggest Morales (when healthy) is the best option in the group. David Murphy is a nice player, as is Coco Crisp, Franklin Gutierrez, and Chris Young. Take your pick, I went with Murhpy. Starting pitching was a bit of a toss up to when you start picking the 8th-10th best in the AL West. I tried hard to justify an Astro but simply could not. Iwakuma was my 10th selection, but it could have easily gone to Derek Holland, Jason Vargas, or really any Oakland starter.
  • In order to visually quantify the separation between teams based on these picks, I’ve awarded 2 points for a 1st team selection, and 1 point for a 2nd team selection. Here’s how it shakes out on a fancy bar graph.

    graph

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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… Continue reading

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Would You Rather?

Last week, Dan put up a post with his pre-season all-AL West team.  Matthew, in the comments, alluded to the lack of star power in the division.  When you look at the list Dan has assembled (which I think is pretty accurate, especially the first team) the amount of stars on the team are a bit underwhelming.

With that in mind, I thought I’d compare Dan’s list to the best players in the AL East (which is the strongest division in my opinion).  These are all my opinions and I’ve based them on prior season stats, sabermetrics, and potential.  I choose to just assemble a first team for both divisions because the topic is star power, not depth.

1st Base
AL West:  Kendry Morales, LAA
AL East:  Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
The Winner:  Gonzalez (AL East)

Overview: I’m pretty high on Morales, I think he is vastly underrated, but Adrian Gonzalez is one of the top players in the game.  Gonzalez edges out Teixeira for the 1st baseman in his division.  Teixeira would be a first teamer in the AL West.

2nd Base
AL West:  Ian Kinsler, TEX
AL East:  Robinson Cano,  NYY
The Winner:  Cano (AL East)

Overview: This one’s a fairly obvious choice also.  Kinsler is a good player, and is an all-star when completely healthy, but Cano is the best 2nd baseman in the league (edging out Utley).  Cano posted a 6.4 WAR in 2010 (he hit .319 with 29 homers while playing decent defense).  Kinsler can post similar offensive numbers when healthy but he’s only played over 130 games once in his career.  Cano has played 159 or more the last 4 seasons.  Maybe in a couple years we’ll be seeing how Ackley stacks up against Cano.  Here’s to hoping.  A healthy Pedroia enters into this conversation, also.

Short-Stop
AL West:  Elvis Andrus, TEX
AL East:  Yunel Escobar, TOR
The Winner:  Andrus (AL West)

Overview: I might take some heat for putting Escobar over Jeter but I put him there because Jeter is one of the worst defensive short-stops in the league, while Escobar is pretty sharp.  The AL East is pretty weak at short-stop and Andrus wins this one easily, based on potential alone.  Both Escobar and Jeter put up WAR’s in the 2’s last year and Andrus put up a WAR of 1.5.  But, if I had to choose one of those 3 players to be on my team this year, I’d take Andrus without question.  His bat will continue to get better, while his defense is superb (unless he has a Yuniesky-type flop).  J.J. Hardy could also sneak into the picture for the East.

3rd Base
AL West:  Adrian Beltre, TEX
AL East:  Evan Longoria, TB

The Winner:  Longoria (AL East)

Overview: The East shows their dominance in this position.  They have Longoria (a top-5 player in the league), A-Rod (a future hall-of-famer, who’s put up at least 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s each of the last 7 seasons), and Kevin Youkilis (who’s more annoying than A-Rod, but just as effective) who each have a strong case to be picked over Beltre.  I love Adrian, he’s one of my favorite players in baseball, but Longoria wins this one easily.

The rest of the positions after the jump.  Continue reading

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