In the AL West, it will be interesting to see how the 2 new owners, Vancouver and Los Angeles, will perform. Last season, it was a 2 teams battles between Seattle(now Los Angeles) and Fresno, Las Vegas was 22 games behind Seattle while Salt Lake City(now Vancouver) was 42 games. This season will probably bring the same type of battle between the same 2 teams. Let's take a look:
Los Angeles Earthquakes -Owner: scottso14 (1st Season)Payroll- $69,500,000. Last Year's Record- 84-78 (1st). The new owner scottso14 takes a team in very good shape with 2 great young starters in Andres Zapata and Randy Nicholas plus 3 solids starters to complete the rotation. The bullpen, however, doesn't look as strong with free agent closer Jason Olerud. The offense should be the same if not better with the return of their 2 big run producer Carlos Navarre and Guillermo Santayana, but the leadoff hitter Julio Miranda has to be good for another year. Catcher Will Priest has been signed as free agent.
Prospects to watch: Ron Maloney and Ernest Hamelin.
Projected Wins- 85-90.
Fresno Bearkats -Owner: Iceman67 (3rd Season)Payroll- $84,600,000. Last Year's Record- 82-80 (2nd). Iceman67 is returning for his 3rd season in Banks and he sure wants to take back the division title in Fresno. The Bearkats will count on the same 5 starters, starting with their ace Tomas Ferrer , like Los Angeles, the bullpen could be a problem with closer Santiago Velazquez. On the field, almost everybody's back, so the offense should be in good hand with Will Payne and Santiago Castillo. Free agent C Taylor Burnett should help.
Prospect to watch: Vic Perez
Projected Wins- 85-90.
Las Vegas Touts -Owner: dgtrache(3rd Season)Payroll- $73,100,000. Last Year's Record- 62-100 (3rd). dgtrache is also returning for his 3rd season in Banks but for him, the challenge is much bigger. With a lot of talent in the minor the futur looks bright for the Touts but dgtrache want to be better this season. That's why he goes on the free agency market for a little shopping. He had to his team, SP Jarrod Jameson, SP Alejandro Flores, 1B Douglas Taylor, RF C.C. Parker and RP Julian Rivera. To that, add SS Joshua Bell, LF Josh Dillon, SP Marty Vander Wal and you have a much better team then last season's Touts.
Prospects to watch: Terrence Wiggins, Kelvin Cunningham, Damion Merloni, Al Armas and Gus Baek.
Projected Wins- 70-75.
Vancouver Canucks -Owner: sirius07(1st Season)Payroll- $58,400,000. Last Year's Record- 42-120 (4th). It's the 1st season for sirius07 as the owner of Vancouver but it's his 7th in Banks, his first 6 were with Boston Red Sox in the AL East. It will be tough to bring that team into the series but he has some good young pitching to build with and with the first pick in this year's draft that means another very good young player for the Canucks. He already improve his team with the rule 5 draft, selecting 2B Felix Moran from Chicago Cubbies. The rotation should already be good this season with Esteban Cornejo, Benny Wagner and Ahmad Nixon. However, the bullpen is not very good. On the field, except for Moran, LF Midre Arias and 1B/DH Paul Reynolds will contribute to the offense. C Bailey Sturtze is the only free agent for the Canucks and he could help this young pitching staff.
Prospects to watch: Hector Lennon and Albert Ellenwood.
Projected Wins- 60-65.