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.
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.
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.
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.
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