Saturday, April 19, 2008

2008 Preseason All-AL West Team

First Team

C: Kenji Johjima (SEA)
Although there is speculation on whether or not Johjima will have his job at the end of the season (Jeff Clement is waiting in the minors), he remains the best option at catcher in the West. His defense is adequate while he hits more for average than power.

1B: Casey Kotchman (LAA)
Kotchman has yet to reach his potential, but compared to all of the other first baseman in the division, he is the best option. With the strength of the top of this lineup, I expect him to get more opportunities to hit and hopefully have a break out year.

2B: Howie Kendrick (LAA)
Kendrick is young and inexperienced, but he can hit (.322 in limited action last year). With a full season under his belt, he should be able to reach his potential and become a superstar.

3B: Hank Blalock
Yes, the man only had 10 HRs and 33 RBIs in 2007, but he can definitely rebound from an injury-plagued season. He is still relatively young and has 30+ HR power, a plateau he should be able to reach in the hitters paradise that is in Texas.

SS: Michael Yong (TEX)
Young hit .315 last year, as he continued his great hitting. He is one of the best hitters in the league that gets absolutely no exposure or credit. He hits .300 again in 2008.

LF: Jack Cust (OAK)
Left field is very weak in the AL West. That is why Cust makes this team. He cannot hit for average at all, but he hits for power which has to be worth something. Time will tell if last year was a fluke for him or not.

CF: Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)
Ichiro is still one of the best all around players in baseball. He hit .351 last year and still stole 37 bases. The Mariners are relying on him to provide a spark for their lineup, something he is willing and able to do.

RF: Vladimir Guerrero (LAA)
Vlad can still hit. Although his home run totals dipped below 30 in 2007, he still hit .324. The powerful lineup can pick up the home run slack, but all Vlad needs to do is get hits with runners on and get driven in by a strong lineup.

DH: Milton Bradley (TEX)
Torn ACL and uncontrollable temper aside, this man will tear the cover off baseballs in Texas.

SP: John Lackey (LAA)
I know he is currently injured, but he is still one of the best pitchers in baseball. He did win 19 games last year.

SP: Erik Bedard (SEA)
Another injured pitcher. When Bedard is on though, he can strike you out with the best of them, and teamed with Felix Hernandez, he becomes lethal. Bedard also has an offense. Something he did not have in Baltimore.

SP: Joe Blanton (OAK)
Blanton could be on his way out in Oakland soon, but he is still their best pitcher.

RP: Francisco Rodriguez (LAA)
Injured, I know. K-Rod is still the guy you want for your team on the mound in the ninth inning in a close game.

RP: J.J. Putz (SEA)
Another injured pitcher in the AL West, but last year he was amazing. If he was healthy, he would definitely repeat those numbers.

Second Team

C: Gerald Laird (TEX)

1B: Richie Sexson (SEA)

2B: Ian Kinsler (TEX)

3B: Chone Figgins (LAA)

SS: Bobby Crosby (OAK)

LF: Gary Matthews, Jr. (LAA)

CF: Josh Hamilton (TEX)

RF: Travis Buck (OAK)

DH: Mike Sweeney (OAK)

SP: Felix Hernandez (SEA)

SP: Kelvim Escobar (LAA)

SP: Jered Weaver (LAA)

RP: Huston Street (OAK)

RP: Scot Shields (LAA)

The Preseason All-AL West First & Second Teams.

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