Tuesday, February 26, 2008

OV Sports 2008 Way-To Short MLB Preview

Sure, you could pour over rosters, stats and scouting reports to get ready for the 2008 MLB Season. Sure, you could look for previews with previews with fancy extremities like “graphics,” “player profiles” and “actual research,” but it probably won’t get you any more prepared for the 2008 season than my makeshift 2008 season preview. Or maybe not. Either way, here it is, featuring all of the insight and analysis that I can think of off of the top of my head while sitting in class.


1. Los(T) Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California

The Angels helped themselves out this offseason by picking up Torii Hunter as a free agent. They overpaid for him, but Hunter was a blue chipper in this off-season’s shallow free-agent pool (he is a good hitter, but not a great one who has one of the best gloves in the game). Besides, there are no real consequences to overpaying Hunter. Moreno has plenty of money, what is it going to cripple their cap room? Only other interesting note out of So-Cal (AL) is that the Angels are going with a shortstop by committee. Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar are each expected to play about 80 games to replace Orlando Cabrera. I know that isn’t that interesting, but there really isn’t that much to say about this team (hence the lame city joke).

2. Seattle Mariners

Ichiro and co. probably have the best squad to be trotted out in the Pacific Northwest since the 2002 team that reeled off 116 wins. The Mariners gave themselves one of the stronger tops of the rotation in the AL by adding Erick Bedard to Felix Hernandez. The back end remains a question mark, however. An unchanged batting order will look to build on the success that they had last year. If they are able to, with one of the strongest bullpens in the league, the Mariners should be able to contend once again out west.

3. Texas Rangers

I’m projecting the Rangers to move up in the standings (albeit from last to third) not because of their getting better, but because of the fire sale in Oakland. There still isn’t a whole lot to like about this team, but there are a few bright spots. Michael Young is capable of winning the AL batting title, he should be the best hitter in their lineup this year. Jared Saltalamacchia (props to myself for only missing that spelling by one letter without looking it up, I had “Saltalamachia”) is a good young catcher who should continue to develop into the .280/30/100 range. Also, Arlington area police should be on notice, as the Rangers have put together an outfield with the most criminal potential since Albert Bell retired by combining Josh Hamilton with Milton Bradley. It is to bad that Minnesota beat them to Delmon Young, he would have been a perfect fit.

4. Oakland A’s

Over the years the Athletics organization has shown a lot of confidence in their minor league system. They have avoided going after top tier free agents, or even resigning players the felt were asking for too much. The A’s have always been content to bring home grown players up to replace them, and for the most part they have had success. Billy Bean is bringing that confidence to a whole new level this year by letting a AAA team play the entire big league schedule. Eric Chavez can be excused for not recognizing most of his teammates, only Chavez, SS Bobby Crosby and 2B Mark Ellis remain from the batting order the A’s finished 2006 with. Clearly Bean didn’t think the 2007 A’s had a chance to contend if kept together. He traded them out of contention for the west this year by dumping Kotsay, Haren and Swisher, getting only one major leaguer in return (reliever Joey Devine who has pitched just 19.2 innings in his career). It is hard to imagine that Billy Bean doesn’t have a plan for this team with all of the prospects he has brought in, but 2008 is going to be a rough year in the 510.

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