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2010 AL West Fantasy Preview

The Angels had a lot of off-season changes, including the signing of Hideki Matsui.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With a little less than a week remaining until the umpire yells "play ball" for the first time in 2010, we continue our travels around the six divisions, looking for interesting players and fantasy situations.

In the final part of the series we head to the American League West Division.

Los Angeles - The Angels had a lot of off-season changes with two of their big pieces leaving town - Vladimir Guerrero and Chone Figgins. Torii Hunter (ADP 84.1) and Bobby Abreu (ADP 65.7) remain in the heart of the order, but a key will be whether Kendry Morales (ADP 43.7) can fill the cleanup role and whether former Yankee Hideki Matsui (ADP 212.2) can continue to knock in runs. Juan Rivera (ADP 181.1) and Mike Napoli (ADP 167.3) both hit at least 20 HR but weren't highly thought of last year. Napoli is much higher on the lists, (No.10 catcher) this time around and instead of 20 homers being a bonus, will be expected. Be very wary of Morales backing up his 34 HR season with another big season, he was never a home run hitter in the minors.

Texas - The Rangers as a team have speed and power, including two guys Ian Kinsler (ADP 16.3) and Nelson Cruz (ADP 65.6), who have both. Leadoff hitter Julio Borbon (ADP 112) and Elvis Andrus (ADP 107.6) could each post 50 steals, while Kinsler and Cruz will add at least 20 each. Kinsler, Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero and Chris Davis could each knock 20+ homers. Beware of Hamilton who already has a sore shoulder and Guerrero who is just plain old and in danger of falling apart at any minute. Kinsler also has trouble finishing seasons, only once playing more than 130 games in a season. Cruz is in great form this spring, with four homers and 14 RBI and could be the best pick of the bunch. Don't forget Michael Young (ADP 72.5) who is as consistent as you could ask for at third base.

Seattle - With the exception of Ichiro Suzuki and Ken Griffey Jr., this team looks almost completely rebuilt. Chone Figgins (ADP 61.5) came from the Angels and will give you steals as always, but with a price, that being lack of power and OPS from a "power position." Franklin Gutierrez (ADP 190.0) could be the best value on the Mariners after posting 18 HR, 70 RBI and 16 SB in his first full season. He'll bat third in the lineup and should benefit from all the speed in front of him. The cleanup hitter is Milton Bradley, draft him at your own risk as his "mental game" is weak. Jose Lopez (ADP 111.8) doesn't get the respect of the top second basemen, but his numbers should put him in the conversation. He had 25 HR and 96 RBI last year. I'm not sure why Ichiro (ADP 34.5) is still drafted as high as he is, he's not the same player he once way and 88 runs, 11 HR, 46 RBI, 26 SB and .352 BA is not enough for a third-round pick. Felix Hernandez is worth every penny you spend on him, but beware of selecting Cliff Lee who despite all the post-season hype actually only went 14-13 last year.

Oakland - As with San Diego, it's hard to find value on the offensive side of the ball. Catcher Kurt Suzuki (ADP 136.4) is the best the A's have to offer. It's the pitching that intrigues fantasy owners with oft-injured, but talented Ben Sheets (ADP 178) and youngsters Brett Anderson (ADP 126.6) and Andrew Bailey (ADP 110.6). Sheets hasn't thrown since 2008, but if healthy can help any starting staff. Anderson had average numbers for a rookie (11-11, ERA 4.06, WHIP 1.28) until you look deeper and discover he was 4-0 in September with an ERA of 2.28 and a WHIP of 1.06. he can throw three pitches for strikes. Bailey has everything a closer needs to be a star except opportunities. His ERA was 1.84, he had a WHIP of 0.88, but just 26 saves because he plays for the A's and they aren't ahead very often.



Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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