Using this preview: Some players will be spotlighted and there will be some knee-jerk rankings of each teams lineup, rotation and bullpen. Team previews, born from a desire to design a better cheat sheet, will start with the American League East and finish in the National League West. More previews here.
American League West
Los Angeles Angels
- Stud: Bobby Abreu, OF — You could argue that Vlad Guerrero should be in this spot, but Abreu is the real pick here. Guerrero has put up some monster numbers in the past, but Abreu is a consistent 20-20 player, who also scores 100 runs, drives in 100 and bats .300.
- Bust: Chone Figgins, 3B — Figgins is now 31 and has seen his steals decline in each of the last three years. He only had 24 last year. And his .330 average in 2007 split a .267 season and a .276 one. Don’t pick him expecting a .330, 100 run, 45 steal season.
- Sleeper: Howie Kendrick, 2B — It feels like Howie Kendrick has been failing to live up to expectations for 10 years, but he’s only 25. Based on what he’s been able to do in limited time the last three years, he’ll give you 10 homers, 15 steals 70 RBIs, 80 runs, a .320 average and an OPS over .800 when he stays healthy this year.
- Prospect to watch: Brandon Wood, SS/3B– Last year was supposed to be Wood’s big breakout. It didn’t happen, in fact he only hit .200. But, he’s still the best prospect in the organization and still considered a future high-power hitter.
- Wild Card: Ervin Santana, SP — I’ve been picking Santana a lot in mock drafts, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. Did he finally get it last year, when his 214 strikeouts were 70 better than his previous three seasons. His WHIP was a closer-like 1.12 and his ERA was one run better than his career average. Did he get some help from his trainer? We’ll probably never know, unless he completely tanks this year. How’s that for wild? Santana will either be a top 5 pitcher, or that mediocre waiver wire pickup he was for so many seasons.
- Starter you may not know but should: Brian Fuentes, RP — Fuentes is a known commodity, but he’s pitching for a new team. Francisco Rodriguez gets more strikeouts and has more name recognition, but Fuentes managed to keep his ERA and WHIP down in Colorado last year. He saved 30 games for the Rockies, now he’s coming to a team that provided K-Rod with 69 save opportunities last year.
B — Originally, this team felt like a C, but I think Vlad, Abreu and OF Torii Hunter have some big games left in them — and they’re not being picked ridiculously high either. C Mike Napoli is going to put up some numbers. All Figgins, Kendrick, DH Juan Rivera and 1B Kendry Morales have to do is set the table, and they can do that.
C — There are a lot of questions with this group, even questions with studs John Lackey and Santana. Beyond those two, we’ve got Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver and Dustin Moseley, you probably don’t want to draft any of them.
B — Fuentes could vault into elite status this year. He’s joined by Scot Shields, one of the elite non-closing relievers in the game. Jose Arredondo put up some monster numbers last year. He’ll eventually replace Fuentes or Shields, who are both 33 years old.
To read all of Chinstrap Ninjas team previews, go here.