OAKLAND CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Brett Anderson #49 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago White Sox at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 22 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
There was a changing of the guard in the West last year as the Rangers took the reins as the division's dominant team. During the offseason the Rangers did their best to widen the gap but injuries in their rotation could keep them from running away with it. The A's retooled their offense but will need their players to be healthy if they want a chance to win the division and that's a long shot with the number of players hobbled heading into spring training. The Angels will need returns from a few key players and for their aging veterans to stay of the DL if they hope to reclaim their spot atop the division.
Brandon Webb - Reports on his stuff have not been encouraging and he has yet to throw much more than 60 pitches in a bullpen session. It doesn't look like he will be ready for opening day and even when he is ready how much are you willing to bet on a return to form?
Scott Feldman - Offseason knee surgery only drives Feldman's value down further and it should be tunneling it's way to the earth's core as I write this. He will have to fight for a rotation spot this spring so it's best you forget about 2009 as soon as you can.
Derek Holland - The Rangers are going to hope the rotator cuff inflammation Holland had last year doesn't return. Holland should be a major part of the Rangers rotation this year and they will need his arm to be 100%. If he isn't having any issues he could be one of the better pitching bargains to be had.
Ian Kinsler - Yet to stay healthy for a full season, Kinsler is one of the better second basemen when playing. If you want to take a chance on Kinsler staying healthy you would be wise to have a solid back up just in case.
Josh Hamilton - Injuries couldn't even keep Hamilton from the MVP award last year. His all out style of play makes a full season unlikely but if he can stay in the lineup 155+ games he would put up HUGE numbers. Prospective Hamilton owners should be ready to draft him expecting 130 games and anything more is gravy.
Kendry Morales - Morales broke out in 2009 and looked like a solid option at first base until he snapped his leg celebrating a walk off homer. Kendry recently said his leg only bothers him while running but is fine during BP. This is good news for owners hoping for a return of production but bad news for those waiting for his 20 SB breakout. I would be more confident in a return to form if he were saying there was no pain present so it will be worth watching how he performs in spring training before depending on him.
Joel Pineiro - An oblique injury shortened what was a nice season for the 32 year old righty. Pitching for what will most likely be his last major contract, Pineiro will want to have a strong season this year.
Scott Kazmir - Something is up with Kazmir but the injury logs don't paint a very clear pitcher. Once a dominant pitcher, Kazmir has lost velocity and is very hittable now. The Angels are going to need a recovery from Kazmir if they hope to compete in the West this year.
Milton Bradley - I pondered listing the Seattle Mariners as the injured subject and Bradley as the injury but I thought that might be a bit harsh. He comes off as disinterested toward the game and injury prone but when he comes to the ballpark he can put on a show. It's a shame to see such a promising player's career derailed by physical and emotional issues. I'm hoping he can stay on the field in 2011 but I'm not going to risk a spot on my roster.
Erik Bedard - Cut down by an injury just a month shy of being considered among the CY Young favorites, Bedard has yet to remain healthy. He has a rare combination of overpowering stuff, control and groundball tendencies in a pitcher's park. That concoction is lethal when it doesn't have its arm in a bucket of ice. Unfortunately Bedard spends more time with ice than an Eskimo. At 32 don't count on a comeback but if he shows signs of life he worth another look.
David Aardsma - Aardsma has value solely because of his role as the Mariners closer. He will miss time to start the year and it may take him some time to get going once he returns. If Brandon League thrives in the closer role we may have seen the last of Aardsma as a useful fantasy player.
Rich Harden - If he could only stay healthy he would be one of the game's top SP. Instead he's as fragile as Great Aunt Gertie's hip. His fastball has lost velocity and went from being a plus pitch to a negative. He may be able to salvage his career in Oakland and its spacious park but it's far from a sure thing. There is always hope he can become a Kerry Wood type and make it as a reliever.
Josh Willingham - Willingham got off to a hot start before slowing in the second half and eventually needing season ending knee surgery. He takes his power hitting bat to Oakland where he could see a bump in production with a better supporting cast but his home field may dampen his power numbers a bit.
Andrew Bailey - Elbow issues limited Bailey in 2010 but he looks to be fully healthy now and remains one of the game's most underrated closers.
Conor Jackson - Injuries have sidetracked a once promising career. Still only 28 he could still have time to turn things around but he will have to fight for at bats in a crowded A's lineup. He could surprise some by putting up a 12-12 type season with a solid AVG.
David Dejesus - A solid but unspectacular player, Dejesus isn't going to be a fantasy staple anytime soon. Injury or no injury he's best left to the end of the draft if at all.
Cliff Pennington - Pennington followed his first full major league season with shoulder surgery in October. He is on schedule to be ready for opening day and will be looking to improve on a solid year. He has a great eye at the plate and good speed but most of his upside depends on hitting higher in the lineup. If he can work his way higher in the order his run production would make him a nice option at shortstop, otherwise, he's just a fringe option.
Brett Anderson - The Athletics pitcher has failed to stay healthy in his short career but has teased fantasy owners when healthy enough to pitch. The injuries make Anderson a risky choice but they could also lower his value and provide you with a bargain on draft day. Do you feel lucky, punk?