AL West 2027 Preview

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Who will win the "new" AL West?

Poll ended at Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:05 am

Houston Astros
0
No votes
Oakland A's
0
No votes
Texas Rangers
0
No votes
Las Vegas Rat Pack
0
No votes
Minnesota Twins
3
50%
Kansas City Royals
0
No votes
Seattle Mariners
0
No votes
Los Angeles Angels
3
50%
 
Total votes: 6

User avatar
DavidJ
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:32 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

AL West 2027 Preview

Post by DavidJ » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:05 am

AL West – OMLB Preview

I was thinking of trying to duplicate what was done for the NL East, but there is a certain style and substance that simply cannot be duplicated. So, something a little more pedestrian for the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels

The “other” LA team is picked as the winner of the new division alignment, by a rather healthy 5 games.

The Angels are coming off three back-to-back 100+ win seasons, each time a lock for the post-season. There is little to suggest that they will not be a big factor again this season, though their predicted number of wins is well below 100, so clearly they are not expected to dominate.

Three names stand out as the star factor in LA.

CF Rob LEWIS – Is expected to be among the best bats in the league, with 100+ RBI’s, 25-ish HR’s and touching .300. While he lost a little time last season, all but his HR’s were well within his prediction. If healthy, he will be there at the end and will be among the best on the stats page and will likely add to his hardware total.

SP Juan Perez – He too is expected to be among the leaders, according to the pre-season predictions. His biggest worry, and that of the Angels no doubt, is his health.

If he stays on the field and can consistently start, he will be dominant. He lead the league in WINS, ERA and WAR (with a 6.2) last season, but most impressive was his 233.1 innings pitched. His storybook year also included a couple of No-No’s and Cy! All that said, in 2025 he was on the bump for only 7 games and wasn’t really a factor. He’s a gamble, but a sensible gamble on his one-year deal.

Again, if healthy, he will be the man!

RP Jose Mercado – The LA setup man will continue to be his dominant self. He consistently tops 13 K/9. If he can keep everything else in order, he will be a force in the late innings to lock things down.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins are picked to finished second in the new AL West. Their predicted 88 wins is right in the ballpark of their finish last year. Provided they hold on for a wild card position, then things will be good in Minneapolis. Only twice in the last 20 years have they finished above 88. With a little luck, maybe they do push over the top and challenge for the division?

Minnesota must be all about the team, because they lack a whole bunch of superstar talent. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Superstar-laden teams have come up short.

One player does stand out, from the outside looking in:

LF Anastasio Rocha – Rocha is the “get on base and make things happen guys” for the Twins. While his AVG is far from outstanding, he can swiftly kill you with his base running and is just as likely to punch one over the fence if you start thinking too far ahead in the lineup.

RF Jesus Moreno – With the big AVG and a bat full of bombs, Moreno will be tasked with making sure Rocha doesn’t spend too much time on base. The left-handed bat with split his stats between doubles and dingers.

DH Cale Brooks – Brooks will be the clean-up for anything not already wiped from the diamond by Moreno. Just 24, he seems to have huge upside and will be a production piece for years. If he is an everyday player, he is scheduled for a career year (the first of several no doubt).

Texas Rangers

Not unlike Minnesota, the Rangers haven’t truly been a factor for about a decade, until now. Last year they put up 89 wins and are predicted to be close to that again this season. It looks to me like they will be a swing team. They will either exceed expectations or will struggle just outside the wild card discussion all season.

Their weapons:

1B Jon Robinson – If one bat is enough, Texas certainly has it. I would expect Texas goes how Robinson goes in terms of putting up numbers each inning. He is predicted to top the league in HR’s and RBI’s and to be right there with every other statistic (except stolen bases – he jogs)!

2B Cliff Turner – Will be expected to extend some RBI opportunities to Robinson as lead-off hitter.

3B Sam Brown – The youngster will just wear people out with his knack for seeing a lot of pitches and putting bat on ball further down the lineup.

Kansas City Royals

Only once in their history have the Royals put up triple digit wins in a season. This year will not threaten that. That said, while they have been a consistent middle-of-the-pack team for the most part, being slightly above the mid-point in the new 8-team AL West could be seen as a step in the right direction.

KC is another “team” and will need consistency and production from every position to succeed.

1B Stu Davis – This right-hand bat can launch them. He has been consistently good since making the jump from AAA to the bigs. At age 25, with two solid years already on his resume, he will definitely factor into both the current and long-term plans of the Royal squad.

RP Seb Dejong – If the Royals can lead by even a run going to the 8th and 9th, they will always have a chance to lock it down. Dejong is one of the reasons why. He’s coming off a 44 SV season, and will be counted upon to either setup or close when the Royal get their chances.

Las Vegas Rat Pack

The Pack are all-new. They are expansion. They have a new GM in place as they join OMLB. They have a chance to turn heads.

Rarely do expansion teams threaten in their first year. The Pack have had the luxury of spending a couple of seasons in an expansion league specifically setup so they wouldn’t come into OMLB (along with New Jersey in the NL) cold. From the outset LV has been all about the future, so I think it would be rather miraculous if they are there at the end in any way, but I would certainly expect them to show that they will be down the road.

It’s probably a bit cruel to call them placeholders for the future, but names like Rizzo, Layne and Mori will keep the fans occupied while the Pack work toward their future.

Seattle Mariners

It might be a bit over the top to use the phrase “How the Mighty have Fallen!” but this team was a contender from 2020 through 2024 and was always on the verge. Then…

With only 59 wins, the “tied for second” worst season in the history of the franchise, the renewal is on! They do have some pieces and should not be counted out, but I think their best years are definitely ahead.

Oakland Athletics

Somewhat similar to Seattle, although with a slightly more roller-coaster trajectory, the A’s have been an on-again, off-again, contender for years.
They are not that far removed from almost a decade of 90+ wins, that would see them still challenging for a division title now. But, they will not be a 90+, nor 80+, nor, if you can believe the pre-season numbers, even a 70+ squad this season.

The road is long, with many a winding turn, for the other bay area team.

Houston Astros

Every division has to have a team that brings up the rear. This would be Houston in the AL West. While they did see a recent build to a peak of 104 wins in 2022, they have plummeted since and stand to be a 100 loss team this season.

They had better be thinking about their future and have a plan in place to regain and sustain some presence in the “new” AL West or they could drown as the Houston Anchors.

They will simply have to count on being the “surprise” in years to come by getting to work ASAP.
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urbscholar
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Re: AL West 2027 Preview

Post by urbscholar » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:25 am

I enjoyed reading this. Thanks!
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