AL West Featured MLB MLB Team News — 31 March 2010

2009 regular season record: 87-75, Second place, AL West

Major Offseason Acquisitions: Rich Harden (CHC), Vladimir Guerrero (LAA), Colby Lewis (Japan), Chris Ray (BAL), Darren Oliver (LAA)

Major Offseason Losses: Marlon Byrd (CHC), Kevin Millwood (BAL), Hank Blalock (TB), Andruw Jones (CWS), Omar Vizquel (CWS), Ivan Rodriguez (WAS)

Projected Lineup (2009 stats):

1. CF-Julio Borbon (.312 BA, .376 OBP, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 19 SB)

2. 3B-Michael Young (.322 BA, .374 OBP, 22 HR, 68 RBI)

3. LF-Josh Hamilton (.268 BA, .315 OBP, 10 HR, 54 RBI)

4. DH-Vladimir Guerrero (.295 BA, .334 OBP, 15 HR, 50 RBI)

5. 2B-Ian Kinsler (.253 BA, .327 OBP, 31 HR, 86 RBI, 31 SB)

6. RF-Nelson Cruz (.260 BA, .332 OBP, 33 HR, 76 RBI, 20 SB)

7. 1B-Chris Davis (.238 BA, .284 OBP, 21 HR, 59 RBI)

8. C-Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.233 BA, .290 OBP, 9 HR, 34 RBI)

9. SS-Elvis Andrus (.267 BA, .329 OBP, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 33 SB)

Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats):

1. RHP Rich Harden (9-9, 4.09 ERA, 141 IP)

2. LHP C.J. Wilson (5-6, 2.81 ERA, 73.2 IP)

3. RHP Scott Feldman (17-8, 4.08 ERA, 189.2 IP)

4. RHP Matt Harrison (4-5, 6.11 ERA, 63.1 IP)

5. RHP Colby Lewis (2007 stats: 0-2, 6.45 ERA, 37.2 IP)

Closer: RHP Frank Francisco (3.83 ERA, 25 saves)

2010 outlook: While the rotation doesn’t jump out at you on paper, hitting was actually the main problem with the 2009 Texas Rangers.

Josh Hamilton battled injury, Ian Kinsler hit well below his career average, and Chris Davis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both struggled mightily trying to adjust to a full season of major league pitching.

Ranger-killer Vlad Guerrero was brought in in an attempt to help bolster that offense, and if he and Hamilton can both stay healthy for most of the season, the Rangers should be in much better shape than they were last season.

Nonetheless, the Rangers were a huge surprise in ’09, and now will have to perform with lofty expectations over their heads.

Nolan Ryan has stated that he believes Texas is capable of winning 92 games this season, and Hamilton himself upped the ante, declaring that he predicts 96 wins for his squad.

The rotation, however, does include its fair share of question marks.

Can Rich Harden stay healthy?

Can C.J. Wilson cut it as a starting pitcher?

Is Corey Feldman capable of winning 17 games again?

Is young Matt Harrison going to remain consistent enough to hold on to his rotation spot?

Is Colby Lewis’ outstanding performance in Japan for real?

The bullpen was the real strength of the team last year, and it should be once again this year.

The addition of fireballing Neftali Feliz for an entire season should help it all that much more.

2010 Prediction: 92-70, Second place, AL West

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