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Gigantic Sox and Dawgs 2015 MLB Preview – Day 2 – AL West

Welcome to the Gigantic Sox and Dawgs 2015 MLB preview. Over the next few days you will get a team by team look at its key players, new faces, their potential MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year candidates, their possible starting lineup and rotation as well as a quick summary.

We will also select a MVP candidate and Cy Young candidate for each team no matter what their predicted team outcome is.

And once again this year is some home stadium information along with dates the teams will play against the Boston Red Sox. The red shaded games are at Fenway; the blue shaded games are road games.

I hope you enjoy this look at the upcoming season.

Yesterday we looked at the NL West, today it’s the AL West.

American League West

Last year the West was Oakland’s to win for the third consecutive season but they floundered down the stretch and made the postseason as the second wild card losing to Kansas City. This year the AL West will look a little different once again with it’s third different champion in three season as the Seattle Mariners are poised to take the division flag.

  1. Seattle – Manager Lloyd McClendon (2nd year/7th overall)

So many positive changes over the last few seasons and they rounded out their lineup this off season by signing free agent DH Nelson Cruz who helped the Orioles get to the ALCS and OF Seth Smith who had a nice season playing for the Padres in Petco Park. The pitching is solid from starters through the bullpen and the lineup is nicely balanced. This is the year they not only make the playoffs but win the West and make an October run.

IF/OF Willie Bloomquist (microfracture knee) is doubtful for the start of the season.

Projected Record: 93-69

Home Field: Safeco Field; Playing Surface: natural grass/retractable roof; Opened: 1999; Capacity: 47,476

2014 Attendance: 2,064,334 (9th in A.L.)

Key Players: 2B Robinson Cano; SP Felix Hernandez; SP Hisashi Iwakuma; 3B Kyle Seager; DH Nelson Cruz

MVP Candidate: 2B Robinson Cano

Cy Young Candidate: SP Felix Hernandez

ROY Candidate: none

Key Additions: DH Nelson Cruz; RF Justin Ruggiano; SP J.A. Happ; OF Seth Smith; IF/OF Rickie Weeks

Possible lineup:

  1. Jackson CF
  2. Seager 3B
  3. Cano 2B
  4. Cruz DH
  5. Morrison 1B
  6. Zunino C
  7. Ackley LF
  8. Smith RF
  9. Miller SS

Possible rotation:

  1. Hernandez
  2. Iwakuma
  3. Paxton
  4. Walker
  5. Happ

Games against Red Sox in 2015: May 14-17; August 14-16

  1. Los Angeles – Manager Mike Scioscia (16th year)

After a four year absence the Angel made the post season in 2014 getting swept by Kansas City in ALDS 3-0. This year they will once again compete for the top spot most with Seattle and Oakland among others for a wild card slot. Biggest deal here is gone is Howie Kendrick sent to the Dodgers in a deal for highly touted SP Andrew Heaney. Josh Rutledge takes his spot at second and Matt Joyce was brought in from Tampa Bay to be the DH and play some OF.

LF Josh Hamilton (shoulder) and SP Garrett Richards (ACL) will most likely start season on the DL. SP Tyler Skaggs (TJS) will probably miss the season.

Projected Record: 91-71

Home Field: Angel Stadium; Playing Surface: natural grass Opened: 1966; Capacity: 43,250

2014 Attendance: 3,095,935 (2nd in A.L.)

Key Players: 1B Albert Pujols; CF Mike Trout, RF Cole Calhoun; P Jered Weaver; SP C.J. Wilson

MVP Candidate: CF Mike Trout

Cy Young Candidate: P Jered Weaver

ROY Candidate: SP Andrew Heaney

Key Additions: OF/DH Matt Joyce; 2B Josh Rutledge; C Drew Butera; IF Taylor Featherstone; SP Andrew Heaney; RP Cam Bedroisian; RP Cesar Ramos

Possible lineup:

  1. Calhoun RF
  2. Aybar SS
  3. Trout CF
  4. Pujols 1B
  5. Hamilton LF
  6. Freese 3B
  7. Joyce DH
  8. Rutledge 2B
  9. Iannetta C

Adjusted lineup:

  1. Calhoun RF
  2. Aybar SS
  3. Trout CF
  4. Pujols 1B
  5. Freese 3B
  6. Joyce LF
  7. Cron DH
  8. Rutledge 2B
  9. Iannetta C

Possible rotation:

  1. Weaver
  2. Wilson
  3. Richards
  4. Shoemaker
  5. Heaney

Adjusted rotation:

  1. Weaver
  2. Wilson
  3. Shoemaker
  4. Heaney
  5. Santiago

Games against Red Sox in 2015: May 22-24; July 17-20

  1. Oakland – Manager Bob Melvin (5th year/12th overall)

Last season the A’s looked to have another West title in the making on trade deadline day they had a 2.5 game lead ran it to 4 games in a few weeks and then just sank. They made possibly the biggest trade of the season swapping their clean up hitter Yoenis Cespedes for lefty starter Jon Lester who pitched his ass off but without Cespedes the lineup collapsed. This offseason they have shredded the roster with trades and signings bringing in IF/OF Ben Zobrist, DH Billy Butler, RP Tyler Clippard and 1B Ike Davis.

RF Josh Reddick (oblique)is questionable for the start of the season. RP Sean Doolittle (rotator cuff), SP Jarrod Parker (TJS) and SP A.J. Griffin (TJS) are expected to start the season on the DL.

Projected Record: 87-75

Home Field: O.com Coliseum; Playing Surface: natural grass; Opened: 1966; Capacity: 35,067

2014 Attendance: 2,003,628 (10th in A.L.)

Key Players: RF Josh Reddick; DH Billy Butler; 3B Brett Lawrie; SP Sonny Gray; SP Scott Kazmir

MVP Candidate: DH Billy Butler

Cy Young Candidate: SP Sonny Gray

ROY Candidate: SP Sean Nolin

Key Additions: IF/OF Ben Zobrist; RP Tyler Clippard; DH Billy Butler; 1B Ike Davis; 3B Brett Lawrie; SS Marcus Semien; C Josh Phegley; OF Mark Canha; SP Jesse Hahn; RP R.J. Alvarez; SP Kendall Graveman; 1B/OF Alex Hassan

Possible lineup:

  1. Crisp LF
  2. Zobrist SS
  3. Reddick RF
  4. Butler DH
  5. Davis 1B
  6. Lowrie 3B
  7. Vogt C
  8. Sogard 2B
  9. Fuld CF

Adjusted lineup:

  1. Crisp LF
  2. Zobrist SS
  3. Butler DH
  4. Davis 1B
  5. Lowrie 3B
  6. Vogt C
  7. Sogard 2B
  8. Gentry RF
  9. Fuld CF

Possible rotation:

  1. Gray
  2. Kazmir
  3. Parker
  4. Pomerantz
  5. Griffin

Adjusted rotation:

  1. Gray
  2. Kazmir
  3. Pomerantz
  4. Hahn
  5. Griffin

Games against Red Sox in 2015: May 11-13; June 5-7

  1. Houston – Manager A.J. Hinch (1st Year/3rd overall)

For whatever reason Bo Porter was not a fit as Astros manager and he was the first casualty last season and he’s been replaced by A.J. Hinch who has managed in Arizona and has been in the front office with San Diego. The Astros made some changes this year bringing back SS Jed Lowrie and acquiring OF Colby Rasmus, and got some thump with C/OF Evan Gattis. They also strengthened the bullpen with Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. I have them standing pat at 70 wins and 4th place in the West.

SP Brad Peacock (hip) and SS Carlos Correa are questionable for the start of the season. RP Jose Cisnero (TJS) will miss most or all of the season.

Projected Record: 71-91

Home Field: Minute Maid Park; Playing Surface: natural grass/retractable roof; Opened: 2000; Capacity: 42,060

2013 Attendance: 1.751,829 (12th in A.L.)

Key Players: 2B Jose Altuve; SP Scott Feldman; C Jason Castro; 3B Luis Valbuena; CF Colby Rasmus

MVP Candidate: 2B Jose Altuve

Cy Young Candidate: SP Scott Feldman

ROY Candidate: 3B Colin Moran

Key Additions: Mgr. A.J. Hinch; SS Jed Lowrie; OF Colby Rasmus; 3B Luis Valbuena; C Hank Conger; SP Dan Straily; RP Luke Gregerson; RP Pat Neshek; RP Will Harris; OF/C Evan Gattis

Possible lineup:

  1. Altuve 2B
  2. Valbuena 3B
  3. Springer RF
  4. Carter 1B
  5. Rasmus CF
  6. Gattis DH
  7. Castro C
  8. Lowrie SS
  9. Marisnick LF

Possible rotation:

  1. Feldman
  2. Keuchel
  3. McHugh
  4. Oberholtzer
  5. Straily

Games against Red Sox in 2015: July 3-5; July 21-13

  1. Texas – Manager Jeff Bannister (1st year)

The Rangers were crushed by injuries last season and then had their manager quit for personal reasons before the season ended. They must be hoping the injured players rebound and that the team does as well because they did very little of note in the offseason other than trading for SP Yovanni Gallardo and adding some other pieces for the bench, bullpen and back of the rotation. I don’t see the team any better than last year and I have them at fifth in the West.

SP Yu Darvish (elbow) could miss the season and 2B Jurickson Profar (torn labrum), SP Matt Harrison (spinal fusion) and SP Martin Perez (TJS) are expected to miss most or all of the 2015 season.

Projected Record: 63-99

Home Field: Globe Life Park in Arlington; Playing Surface: natural grass; Opened: 1994; Capacity: 48,114

2014 Attendance: 2,718,733 (5th in A.L.)

Key Players: 1B Prince Fielder; 3B Adrian Beltre; LF Shin Shoo Choo; SS Elvis Andrus; SP Yovanni Gallardo

MVP Candidate: 3B Adrian Beltre

Cy Young Candidate: SP Yovanni Gallardo

ROY Candidate: OF Michael Choice

Key Additions: Mgr. Jeff Bannister; SP Yovanni Gallardo; IF/OF Kyle Blanks; SP Ross Detwiler; SP Anthony Ranaudo; RP Kyuji Fujikawa; IF Adam Rosales

Possible lineup:

  1. Choo RF
  2. Andrus SS
  3. Fielder 1B
  4. Beltre 3B
  5. Moreland DH
  6. Choice LF
  7. Martin CF
  8. Odor 2B
  9. Chirinos C

Possible rotation:

  1. Darvish
  2. Gallardo
  3. Holland
  4. Lewis
  5. Detwiler

Adjusted rotation:

  1. Gallardo
  2. Holland
  3. Lewis
  4. Detwiler
  5. Tepesch

Games against Red Sox in 2014: May 19-21; May 28-31

Tomorrow: The National League Central

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