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  1. I think the A’s are still the favorites – the Rangers pitching simply won’t continue at this level given Harden’s injury history and CJ Wilson never throwing even close to 100 innings, whereas the Angels just lost Morales. It’ll be a really tight race, but I think it’s Oakland’s to lose.

    Comment by David — May 31, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  2. Losing Morales sucks, but it may be a blessing in disguise for the Angels going forward if it gets Napoli more consistent playing time.

    Comment by Alireza — May 31, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  3. Napoli getting more PT is definitely a plus, but not at the expense of Morales.

    Comment by scatterbrian — May 31, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

  4. I thought all 4 teams had a good chance at being within 5-8 games of .500, with no team really seperating itself from the pack. That could happen depending on what SEA does the rest of the way.

    Comment by Circlechange11 — May 31, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

  5. There’s no way the A’s are even close to being the favorites. They have absolutely no offense, and while their rotation has potential, no one is really sure how much Anderson, Cahill or Sheets will play.

    The Rangers have the offense, but have a much worse rotation that most people think and are poorly managed.

    The Mariners are in the same shape as the A’s. No offense and some questionable pitching. Crackpot GM hasn’t actually done anything for the team.

    The Angels are probably the favorites here. Even with Morales out, they still have Hunter, Abreu, Napoli, Kendrick etc that so far have underperformed and prime to explode. Their pitching, defense and bullpen are all solid and will probably get better.

    No one has come within 10 games of the Angels in a few years, even though a predominantly East Coast media roots against them consistently. The A’s aren’t there yet, maybe in 2 years. The Rangers aren’t there yet, maybe next year. The Mariners definitely aren’t there yet. Maybe next decade.

    Comment by Scottathan — May 31, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  6. You’re kidding me right? The Angels have the worst pitching of all the AL West teams going by FIP and are only ahead of the Rangers going by xFIP. Their bullpen has been horrendous. In fact, their bullpen’s xFIP is only ahead of the Royals and the Indians in the AL. Their defense, once again, is pretty below average, ahead of only the Indians and the Orioles.

    There are no favorites in the AL West. The team that wins it is the team that has the least injuries at the end of it.

    Comment by LOL — May 31, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  7. “The Angels are probably the favorites here. Even with Morales out, they still have Hunter, Abreu, Napoli, Kendrick etc that so far have underperformed and prime to explode. Their pitching, defense and bullpen are all solid and will probably get better.”

    This seems like hyperbole.

    Those four have hardly underperformed, if at all. One expects Abreu to implode rather than explode, and Hunter is getting older and slower too. And the bullpen is awful as far as I can see…how is it solid?

    Comment by Mo — June 1, 2010 @ 1:15 am

  8. Little Angels reminder …

    Today … 26-27
    Last year on this day … 25-24

    Today – Team Pitching … 4.70 ERA
    Last year on this day – 4.72 ERA

    Pitchers 2010 vs 2009 (through May 31st) …
    Jered Weaver 3.01 vs 2.36
    Joe Saunders 5.09 vs 3.26
    Ervin Santana 3.65 vs 9.50 (4 starts)
    Joel Pineiro 4.95 vs 3.86
    Scott Kazmir 6.34 vs 7.69
    Jason Bulger 4.58 vs 4.87
    Kevin Jepsen 4.94 vs 19.29 (only 5 IP)

    A pretty clear pattern. The 2010 version of the Angels is playing more or less at the same level as the 2009 version. While that is not an indicator that 2010 will turn out like 2009, it should give Angel fans some cause for hope. This is largely the same team that won the 2nd most games in 2009.

    Even the issues are the same. Inconsistent performance from the starting rotation. The bullpen was an unmitigated disaster, and hitters were underperforming. They looked cooked as Vlad and Torii hit the DL and Kendrick was sent to the minors. Low and behold the other guys started to pick things up. Morales decided that he was a power hitter after all. Aybar turned into the star that the organization had hoped for. Kendrick returned and looked like a batting title contender. Rivera provided power that the club desperately needed.

    I don’t think the Angels are a 97 win team this year. But to expect 88-90 wins out of them this year is totally reasonable. This team has consistently beaten the projection systems and the prognosticators. Maybe it all catches up to them in 2010. Maybe Morales’ injury is the final nail in the coffin. Or maybe this team plays to a level they are capable of and finds itself in the post-season again, leaving behind the pretenders in Oakland and Seattle (I happen to think the Rangers are for real and will once again, be the toughest competition in the West).

    So, Angel fans have plenty to worry about, this is a team that I wouldn’t bet against.

    Comment by BJsWorld — June 1, 2010 @ 1:38 am

  9. Uh, do you even read this website? ERA? Really?

    Comment by Sass — June 1, 2010 @ 8:56 am

  10. 1- All the AL West teams have injury/regression questions in their rotation. FIP and xFIP really are bearish on Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders right now. The Angels’ rotation can stay healthy, but can they stay/become good?

    2- Angels fans complaining about bad management? Shouldn’t Jepsen be getting the lion’s share of high leverage, since he’s the best reliever on staff by a good amount (don’t look at ERA), and not Rodney/Fuentes? Yes, Washington and Geren do some horrendously stupid things, but no AL West team is alone.

    3- “Crackpot GM hasn’t actually done anything for the team.”

    Bringing in Cliff Lee (for 3 mediocre prospects), Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez, David Aardsma. Next.

    If the M’s fall out, they can trade Lee for spects or take the draft picks, which aren’t that much less in value than what they gave up.

    Comment by BX — June 1, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  11. Oh, stop acting like ERA doesn’t tell you anything about how a team or player is performing.

    There may be better metrics for predicting future performance, or even expected performance, but we need to stop the knee-jerk reaction every time someone mentions ERA.

    Why not use different metrics to show how the person is wrong in using ERA, or show how various metrics lead to a different conclusion.

    For all you’ve demonstrated, the person might be accurate … only using a metric you don’t prefer.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — June 1, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

  12. But why use ERA over FIP, especially when we’re talking 2 months of games?

    If you’re on this site and you’re using ERA I suspect two things:
    1) You don’t understand most of what is posted here and aren’t really a regular.
    2) You’re cherry picking ERA in order to make your predetermined point.

    The Angels more or less have been playing how we expected them to and they are currently 1 game under .500 with about -30 RD. And we expect them to go ~10 games over .500 the rest of the way? With 109 games remaining that’s about .580 ball. That would be a 95 win team if playing 162 games.

    So where is this talent coming from? Because their ERA sucked last year and got better expect it to happen again?

    No sale.

    Comment by Wally — June 1, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  13. “I don’t think I read a single “expert” who thought they would win the division. I thought the As had a good shot, maybe a better shot than others, but I can’t say I was overly confident in their chances.”

    I believe on every AL West 30 Clubs/30 Days episode on MLBN, the Baseball Prospectus projected standings at the end of the show had the A’s winning the West. I guess that’s not one singular expert projecting them to win, but it’s a very well known outlet giving them the nod.

    That division is going to be a blast to watch this summer. All four teams have a legitimate shot at the crown though I’m not sure anyone could consider the Angels the favorite having lost their best player to a broken leg. I think the Rangers & A’s are positioned the best, but I refuse to count of the M’s, especially if they address their hitting.

    It looks like the team that learns to win on the road will be the one to claim the title. I like Texas and would love to see them succeed, but if I’m handicapping the field right now I’d make Oakland the favorite. I’d bet on their hitting before Texas’ pitching.

    Comment by pjs24 — June 1, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  14. FIP takes the team aspect out of run prevention in order to isolate a pitcher’s contributions. When looking at the team as a whole or looking at year comparisons with the same defense, ERA (IMO) would be an acceptable application.

    Now if it could be shown that pitchers’ FIPs were better this year than they were last year that might show that LAA is in trouble.

    But a lot of the time, a pitcher’s FIP and ERA will be close, particularly when looking at the same pitchers on the same team. Not many “Ricky Nolasco” situations on the Angels.

    Era to me is useful in what it measures, a pitcher’s stat opating as part of the team. FIP looks at the pitcher’s individual aspects. Still, most times a good FIP is going to yield a good ERA, but I get the saber-preference of FIP.

    Comment by Circlechange11 — June 2, 2010 @ 2:19 am

  15. Why would you use FIP to value team run prevention?

    Comment by vivaelpujols — June 2, 2010 @ 3:34 am

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