MLB Power Rankings: Ichiro and the Top 20 Hitters in the AL West

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MLB Power Rankings: Ichiro and the Top 20 Hitters in the AL West
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The American League West has become known as a division built around pitching. The West is home to the reigning American League Cy Young Winner, Felix Hernandez. All four teams' rotations currently rank in the top half of the American League.

The pitchers can only do so much however. The following 20 players were the top offensive contributors (key word, not necessarily the top producers) to their teams in 2010.

Keeping in mind that players do not always replicate their contributions from the previous season, and there is no guarantee that they will be the top 20 contributors again this season; these players will play the largest roles in their respective lineups to lead their team through the regular season and into the playoffs.

Honestly, I was a little surprised that a few players did not make the list in the top 20, and likewise was surprised by a few of the players that did make the list. Sabermetric evaluation is full of surprises.

A player's batting average, home run total or RBI total does not always tell the whole story about what that player actually contributes to the team's offense. Consider, for example, if the player has 30 home runs but also hits into 30 double plays. He more consistently hurts his team than helps them.

To attempt to put all AL West hitters on an even platform for evaluation, I decided to use Sabermetric statistics to determine the top 20 hitters, making no substitutions based on personal opinion.

Players were evaluated based on offensive statistics only, no consideration was given to the player's defensive contributions. The final order was determined using the players' Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) as well as the players' Equivalent Average (EqA).

VORP is determined by the number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense. (This is similar to a player's WAR, only it puts all players on a level field for comparison).

EqA is a measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. The EqA adjusted for all time also has a correction for league difficulty. The scale is deliberately set to approximate that of batting average. League average EqA is always equal to .260.

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