Monday, May 25, 2009

Season 5 Preview - AL West

Leon Jackson - Cobbfather Post Gazette
Shenaynay - Special Correspondent from the Psychic Friends Network

The balance of power shifted in the AL West last season - not only standings wise with the Vancouver Blaze winning the division title after 3 straight 100 losss seasons, but also in terms of best nickname with the arrival of the Hammer'd Leprechauns. Let's see what's in store for the division this season!

AL WEST

4. Kansas City Tweakers
Last Season: 67-95

Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: the tweaking continues in K.C.

Impact Player – Dean Gagne – The rookie slugger will be relied on to provide some pop to a lineup that is greatly in need of some.

Gazette says: The rebuilding project continues in Kansas City. They made progress in season 4 with a 9 game improvement over season 3. The team is still a few pieces away from being dangerous, but we’re starting to see some of their young talent hit the majors, which is a good thing. Look for them to continue to acquire young prospects this season, and take another step closer to contending.

Psychic Friends Network prediction: 69-93
Vegas Odds to win it all: 150-1

3. Oakland Bruisers
Last Season: 76-86

Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: the bruises are healing

Impact Player – Marc Rigney – The offseason trade acquisition will be needed to improve a pitching staff that struggled last year.

Gazette says: After three straight division titles, the competition finally caught up to the Bruisers, who finished in third in the AL West. Both the offense and the pitching struggled last season for Oakland, while some of their division rivals stepped up their play. Does Oakland have what it takes to contend this season? We think there’s a chance, as some of their big bats struggled, and their pitching underperformed. They also made some nice offseason moves. It won’t be easy though, as the division has definitely gotten tougher.

Psychic Friends Network prediction: 82-80
Vegas Odds to win it all: 55-1

2. San Francisco Hammer’d Leprechauns
Last Season: 79-83

Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: the hammer’d leprechauns merrily dancing their way west.

Impact Player – Paul Junge – pitching will be key for the Leps this season, and Junge , as their top starter will need to come through.

Gazette says: The Hammer’d Leprechauns are back, although they have moved from Colorado Springs to San Francisco, I think we can all agree it’s great they didn’t change their team name. Those pesky little leprechauns posted their best record ever last season, despite being hammered. Moving to a more pitching friendly park should help their pitching staff, which looks very good. Offensively, ideally they could use another big bat or two, but they should still be pretty good. We predict another step forward for the Leprechauns this season.

Psychic Friends Network prediction: 83-81
Vegas Odds to win it all: 50-1

1. Vancouver Blaze
Last Season: 93-69

Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: the bats, the bats, the bats are on fire

Impact player – Jordan Abernathy – if he continues to put up out of this world numbers, the Blaze will win.

Gazette says: After 3 seasons of futility, losing 100 games each season, the Blaze busted through to take the AL West with a 31 game improvement over season 3. The key to their success was an extremely powerful lineup, lead by MVP Jordan Abernathy. He’s not the only bat in the lineup Blaze opponents need to worry about, as their roster is filled with great hitters. The pitching was decent last season, but could have been better. The outlook is about the same this season, although with no other team in the division really having an outstanding pitching staff, we think the Blaze bats will be enough to bring the division crown home.

Psychic Friends Network prediction: 94-68
Vegas Odds to win it all: 12-1

UP NEXT: NL West

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