The All-AL West Team
The AL West consisting of the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics, and the Seattle Mariners. Time to see if I can put the perfect team out there picking only from these four teams and see if I would match them up versus any other division in MLB. This team is set to win now and not necessarily looking toward the future.
Leading off and playing CF: Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) I know he’s old but he is still one of the best contact hitters in baseball and plays solid defense in the outfield. He also sets the table for the rest of the lineup. He is a smart baserunner and can still steal bases when needed.
Batting second the DH: Michael Young (Rangers) He is one of the best hitters in baseball even at the age of 35. He and Ichiro are both capable of putting up 200 hits. He is also a super-utility player and is able to play three infield positions. Being the anchor for one of the best offenses for the better part of a decade speaks for itself.
Batting third and playing 1B: Albert Pujols (Angels) “The Machine” is still one of the best players in baseball. Did you guys see game 3 of the World Series? 3 Home Runs…. He is a man among boys at first base in this division. He’s been off to a slow start this season but he started off slow last year to and we saw how that ended up.
Hitting clean up and playing LF: Josh Hamilton (Rangers) When healthy the Batguy can rake and is one of the best outfielders in baseball. He is off to a hot start this season both offensively and in the outfield. Yes he is hurt a lot but he is the best outfielder in this division.
Batting fifth and playing 3B: Adrian Beltre (Rangers) Beltre is the best third baseman in baseball not named Evan Longoria. Hitting behind Hamilton last season was one of his best and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. If a ball is hit in the hot corner chances are its an out.
Batting sixth in RF: Torii Hunter (Angels) I want to see him steal a home-run on my team so he gets the nod over Nelson Cruz. Last season was a down year for him he will bounce back and have a season like he’s used to having. With that many Gold Gloves its hard to over look him.
Hitting seventh and Catching: Mike Napoli (Rangers) His skills behind the plate are underrated and he proved that last year by handled a relatively inexperienced staff. He is also a 30 HR player when given the playing time. He had a career year last season but he is a good player so he should have similar numbers this year.
Batting eight and playing 2B: Ian Kinsler (Rangers) He is a legitimate 30-30 guy and with a UZR of 15.0 he is the best second baseman in the division. His average is low but he still manages to get on base and wreak havoc. Being an aggressive baserunner is useless if your not smart about it and Kinsler is excellent on the bases.
Playing SS and batting ninth: Erick Aybar (Angels) The 2011 winner of the Gold Glove, Aybar proved last year is among the elite at his position. Plus if he keeps trending the way he has been he will only get better this season. He is good for at least 20 stolen bases a season.
Felix Hernandez (Mariners) Remember he’s only 26 and is one of the best in baseball. If I could choose any pitcher to take the mound for me in one game he is near the top of a VERY short list.
Jered Weaver (Angels) Recently recorded his 1,000 career strikeout. He is the anchor for maybe the best rotation in the AL.
Derek Holland (Rangers) His ERA was high last season because of a few starts where he didn’t make it out of the first inning. He seemed to have figured it out in the postseason last year. Look for him to dominate this season.
CJ Wilson (Angels) He struggles in the postseason but he is dominant in the regular season and you to make the playoffs. He has pitched in a very hitter friendly park the last two seasons and was great. Look for him to build on his 2011 season.
Dan Haren (Angels) Having the best rotation in the AL affords you lots of options to make this team and Haren falls in line. He’s off to a slow start this season but he will turn this season around and have another solid/productive season.
Long Relief: Scott Feldman (Rangers) He is essentially a sixth starter for the Rangers. He was very successful last season in this role and look for him to have another solid season.
Lefty: Scott Downs (Angels) He has been a very consistent player in the bullpen for many years. He can get right-handed batters out as well as lefties.
Other relievers: Brian Fuentes (Athletics) LaTroy Hawkins (Angels)
Seventh Inning: Alexi Ogando (Rangers) He was an All-Star starter last season and he is a better reliever. Scary, huh? He was almost untouchable last season in the playoffs and has started this season much the same way.
Set-up Man: Mike Adams (Rangers) Has been dominant so far this season and was arguably the best relief pitcher in baseball last season.
Closer: Brandon League (Mariners) Playing for Seattle he is given a lot of chances in tight games and he was the best in the AL West last season. With Neftali Feliz making the conversion to starter he was the only trustable option left.
There you have it. Who would you put on your All AL-West team?
Hamilton and Pujols should switch places. Hamilton hits for average well and is a more ideal third spot hitter than Pujols. Torii Hunter doesn’t belong on this list at all. He’s well past his prime, and there are a myiad number of hitters, even on the Angels, who could take his place (Cruz, Wells, Yoenis Cespedes, etc.). I would lead off with Kinsler and bat Ichiro second. Young should bat sixth. Holland should be the fourth or fifth starter, if on this list at all. Harrison, Lewis or even Feliz could take his spot in the rotation.
Overall, a good list.
I think Pujols is the better hitter who has been amazing even without protection, imagine he have a legitimate threat behind him. Torii Hinter was more of a nostalgia pick but he still has the defense and offense to be a solid contributor. All solid pitchers but I still think Holland is the better pitcher