2011 MLB Predictions: Count on the Oakland Athletics to Win the AL West
2011 MLB Predictions Need to Start Showing Some Love to the A's
Of baseball's six divisions, the American League West strikes me as the one that is the toughest to predict. The only team that really has no chance of winning the division is the Seattle Mariners, and the other three teams seem to be pretty evenly matched.
Nevertheless, I'm going to go with the Oakland Athletics to win the AL West this year, and I can explain why.
In looking at Oakland's lineup, there's really not much there to hang your hat on. But given the arms the A's have in their rotation, they should be able to get away without having all that much thump on offense.
It all starts at the top with Trevor Cahill, who quietly won 18 games and posted a sub-3.00 ERA in 2010. He will be followed by Dallas Braden, the very man who stood up to Alex Rodriguez and pitched a perfect game last season. Brett Anderson only pitched 112 innings due to various elbow problems, but he posted a 2.80 ERA in the games he did start. Behind him is Gio Gonzalez, who had a 2.59 ERA after the All-Star break.
The one concern I have with the A's at this point is the absence of closer Andrew Bailey, who will start the season on the DL. Oakland's bullpen is not nearly as deep without him, and one can only hope that his surgically-repaired right elbow will hold up once he returns.
Still, given the overall makeup of the team, the A's strike me as a team that could emerge as 2011's version of the 2010 San Francisco Giants. They may not have much offense, but they have more than enough pitching.
Are the A's going to run away with the division? I don't think so. The Texas Rangers may have serious question marks in their rotation, but they'll still compete at a high level. So will the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (in California of the United States of America). It will be a close race, but the A's will take it.
For more baseball fun, check out our countdown of Jose Canseco's 20 Craziest Moments.
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