I am continuing my 2012 prediction series by revealing my AL West standings and a few positive and negative predictions for each time. In case you missed it, I have already revealed my AL East Predictions and AL Central Predictions and we, as a staff, revealed some of our overall MLB predictions. Enjoy.
Los Angeles Angels:
The top prospect in all of baseball, Mike Trout, will be starting the 2012 season in Triple-A but will still finish with 10+ homeruns and 20+ stolen bases while getting on-base at least 35% of the time. Dan Haren will again lead the American League in K/BB ratio and win his first Cy Young award. Scott Downs will be the best reliever on the team.
The addition of Albert Pujols will not help Vernon Wells and Mark Trumbo cross the .300 OBP mark and management will finally open their eyes and give the proper players the deserved playing time. It will be around June when this happens and the Angels will be struggling to keep a hold on second place in the division. Once management places Mike Trout in the outfield and puts Wells and Trumbo on the bench they will catch fire and win the last Wild Card spot in the American League.
Cliff Pennington will hit in the .275/.340/.400 range and set career marks with 10 homeruns and 30 stolen bases, making him one of fantasy baseball’s steals of 2012. Similarly, double-play partner Jemile Weeks will be a steal as he hits .290/.340/.420 with 40 stolen bases. Tom Milone will impress with an ERA below 3.75 and a K/BB ratio greater than 4:1. Grant Balfour will be his usual self and post an ERA below 2.50 with a K/9 greater than 9.0 and save 30 games.
Cuban legend Yoenis Cespedes will be a let down and struggle to hit .240/.300/.400 and play some unspectacular defense in center field. He will get off to poor start and never fully recover from it. Josh Donaldson, Adam Rosales, and whoever else they want to throw out there at third base will hit a combined .220/.290/.360 and be the achilles heal of this team.
Ichiro Suzuki will regain some of his lost form and hit over .300 with 200+ hits. He will become just the 9th player in Major League history to surpass 100 homeruns, 450 stolen bases, 300 doubles, and 75 triples for their career. Justin Smoak will bounce back nicely with a .270/.350/.450 line and surpass 20 homeruns for the first time. Jesus Montero will not disappoint with the bat and finish in the top three for AL Rookie of the Year voting.
Miguel Olivo will hit less than 10 homeruns and also walk less than 10 times. Kevin Millwood barely makes it to June and posts an ERA north of 5.00 and is replaced in the rotation by Hisashi Iwakuma. Jason Vargas will take a step backwards and have a worse ERA, H/9, and SO/9 but will still be a good trade chip at the deadline. The overall team offense will be the worst in the American League.
The Rangers will have the best overall offense in the Majors. Nelson Cruz plays 140 games for the first time in his career and hits 35 homeruns and steals double-digit bases. Ian Kinsler will again go 30/30 and the Luck Dragons will be on his side this year as he hits at least .275/.375/.485 and finishes in the top 5 in MVP voting and is the best fantasy second baseman. The bullpen will have the best numbers in the Majors against right-handed batters.
Yu Darvish will be the American League version of Ricky Nolasco and have a mix of dominant performances and disaster performances that leave fantasy owners who reached for him a bit frustrated. Center field will be an offensive weakness with Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry, and Leonys Martin creating a revolving door of guys who struggle to hit a combined 5 homeruns.
1. Texas Rangers (92-70)
2. Los Angeles Angels (90-72)
3. Oakland A’s (78-84)
4. Seattle Mariners (68-94)
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Fantasy Tagged: | Adam Rosales, Albert Pujols, Cliff Pennington, Craig Gentry, Dan Haren, Grant Balfour, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ian Kinsler, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Vargas, Jemile Weeks, Jesus Montero, Josh Donaldson, Julio Borbon, Justin Smoak, Kevin Millwood, Leonys Martin, Los Angeles Angels, Mark Trumbo, Miguel Olivo, Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, Scott Downs, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Tom Milone, Vernon Wells, Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish