Fantasy Baseball Divisional/Minors Updates: AL West, Mariners, A's, Rangers, and Angels

And there's this guy.

It's two months into the season and I thought a good time to just sort of take a look at individual teams and what they've had going on so far this year. Honestly, it's hard for even a baseball stats fanatic like myself (or probably yourself) to keep up to date on all thirty teams and especially not the 800+ players that have already played in MLB this season, so it's good to just sort of take a look around and see what's up.

Every so often, and more often these days, I'll just go to Baseball-Reference and click on every team and just do a rundown. Frankly, if a player isn't someone I own on one of my teams or a free agent, I'm hardly looking at them. I'm too busy concentrating on the Seattle Mariners and players that I've put some stake into. But it's good to get updated and find out what else is going on, because of trades, waivers, and the like.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to just do a quick rundown on the teams as we are about a third of the way into the season. (Holy crap, we're a third into the season!) Starting with the AL West:

Oakland Athletics (23-31)

Breakout: Josh Reddick

Reddick has been the hitter that the A's have been looking to find for years now... one that can actually hit. And is young. Back in 2008, the A's traded Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith, and Huston Street for 93 games of Matt Holliday. In return for Holliday, when they sent him to the Cardinals, they only got Shane Peterson, Clayton Mortensen, and Brett Wallace. (And then traded Wallace for Michael Taylor.)

That "Curse of Carlos Gonzalez," aka trading away the best hitting opportunity they had in years, may be lifted by Reddick.

Acquired for Andrew Bailey in the offseason (with Miles Head and Raul Alcantara), Reddick is hitting .271/.341/.547 with 14 HR, 29 RBI, 8 2B, 6 SB, 21 BB/43 K. After being led in home runs recently by players like Josh Willingham, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Jack Cust, it's good for the A's to see a power hitter that's not too old and not too one dimensional. Reddick has posted 2.1 fWAR in 52 games.

More after the jump...

Oh, by the way, Miles Head in the hitter-friendly California League is hitting .368/.421/.670 with 11 HR, 19 2B, and 6 3B in 53 games.

Disappointment: Yoenis Cespedes

Basically only in the sense that, "What other A's were you really drafting with authority?"

Cespedes is hitting .244/.311/.420 with 5 HR, 22 RBI, 4 SB in 31 games and just returned from his first major league trip to the disabled list. He can hit the ball a mile but is striking out 23.5% of the time, walking 6.8% of the time and his .176 ISO is very pedestrian.

Also..

Coco Crisp stole 49 bases last season while hitting a respectable-enough-for-49-SBs .264/.314/.379 with 8 HR and 54 RBI. This season he's hitting .165/.222/.183 in 30 games, which isn't respectable enough for 7 SBs or any other amount.

Jemile Weeks seemed like a respectable middle infield option for late rounds but is hitting .228/.313/.337 in 49 games. He has 10 SBs but has been caught 6 times. He's walked 22 times though, more than doubling his walk rate of last season.

Rookie Watch:

Tommy Milone, part of the Gio Gonzalez trade, has been okay. 6-5, 3.53 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 4.24 xFIP in 71.1 innings. He doesn't strike out many, doesn't walk many, looking like a decent #4 starter. He has mixed in good starts with bad, but he's not your guy if strikeouts are valued highly in your league with just 41 on the year.

Jarrod Parker made his fifth straight appearance on the Baseball America top 100 this season but will finally eclipse rookie status this season. He was very good in the minors and has been good in the majors so far, considering age and just being happy that he's healthy. Parker has a 2.88 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 4.71 xFIP, meaning that you should proceed with caution and hope that he gets his walks (4.65 per 9) down and raises those strikeouts. Next season, maybe expect his true breakout.

Minors Watch:

The earlier mentioned Taylor, so far a disappointment since his #29 pre-2010 ranking with the Phillies, is hitting .321/.420/.481 in AAA.... his fourth straight year in AAA. He made a brief major league appearance, going 3-for-16.

Catcher Derek Norris his hitting .280/.320/.486 in his AAA debut.

Remember 1B Chris Carter? .262/.336/.481 in AAA. Carter is getting old (25) to be a prospect, but Daric Barton already maxed out his potential in 2010 and has been terrible. Kila Ka'aihue hasn't been much better.

Former SS and top pick Grant Green is hitting .266/.306/.432 in his AAA debut.

Also part of the Gio package, Brad Peacock is 6-3, 4.81 ERA, 54 K/23 BB in 58 AAA innings.

A.J. Griffin has been good this year: 72.2 innings, 68 K/13 BB in 12 starts spread over AA and AAA at the age of 24.

Michael Choice had 30 HR in 118 games last season in the Cal League but hasn't been anything like that in AA: .263/.352/.361 in 53 games with 4 HR and 4 SB.

Keep an eye on converted hitter-to-pitcher Sean Doolittle: 25 innings, 48 K/ 7 BB, 0.72 ERA spread over three levels. He's a relief pitcher but he looks like he could be a great one.

Daniel Straily has come a long way from being a 24th round pick in 2009: 64.1 innings, 79 K/22 BB, 4.20 ERA at AA and has a K/9 over 9 in his minor league career.

Sonny Gray, the 19th overall pick last season, has a 4.19 ERA in 53.2 AA innings with 32 K/24 BB.

A.J. Cole, yet another piece of the Gio package, 7.30 ERA in 49.1 innings spread over high-A and single-A with 44 K/14 BB. So, he's struggled and was the #57 prospect coming into the year.

Seattle Mariners (24-32)

Breakout: Kyle Seager

Really not much has been expected of Seager since being drafted. I think a lot of people just assumed "Oh cool, they got Dustin Ackley his buddy" but the "buddy" has become the leader in a very short amount of time. Seager is hitting .274/.313/.468 with 6 HR, 31 RBI, 5 SB, 16 2B in 49 games and 199 PAs at third base.

An interesting debate might be whether or not this is the best of Seager or just the beginning. It would seem that this should be the best, but people kep doubting him after he hit .345/.419/.503 at high-A and then .387/.444/.585 at AAA and so on and so forth. He's yet to disappoint in his career because expectations have always been kept low. Should we just keep them that way?

His .306 BABIP is normal. He plays a position where if he hits .275/.315/.450 with 15 HR, 85 RBI, 10 SB, he'll be pretty valuable. He's only 24.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Seager is going to be a perennial All-Star or a fantasy star, but he seems like he's going to have a very solid career and could stick in the bigs and have value for the next 10+ years and few people ever expected that.

Disappointment: Dustin Ackley

Let's just switch right from one to the other. I'm actually pretty satisfied with every Mariners hitter except Ackley, who I expected to take the lead this season and instead he's struggled for the most part. He's hitting .248/.322/.367 in 52 games with 4 HR, 20 RBI, 6 SB, 23 BB/47 K. It's the last part that frustrates me the most, as I expected him to at least have superior plate discipline.

Maybe he hits .248 but I expected the OBP to be above .350 in that scenario.

I don't give up on Ackley, far from it, but so far I have been disappointed and ever time I think he's about to get going he seems to slump a little bit more.

While Justin Smoak has been hot for the last month and I expected little from a 22-year-old Jesus Montero, Ackley is the only one I had higher expectations for.

Also...

Had good expectations for Mike Carp, and he's hitting .176/.273/.382 in 26 games and also sucked during his time at AAA.

Brandon League was one of the worst closers in the league and lost his job.

I thought Hector Noesi would surprise people to be fantasy-worthy at the low-end, but instead hasn't been "rosterable" posting a 5.51 ERA in 63.2 innings with 39 K/20 BB.

Rookie Watch

Montero is hitting .259/.299/.423 with 7 HR, 27 RBI, 10 2B, 44 K/12 BB and getting about half of his time at C and a little more than half of his time at DH. For his age, in that ballpark, I'm very satisfied with Montero thus far. A 22-year-old that could hit 20 HR for the Mariners is amazing.

Alex Liddi has hit .240/.300/.380 in 110 PAs with 3 HR. Decent for a 23-year-old, but he's hitting .192 over the last 28 days and has gotten most of his at-bats on the road and not at spacious Safeco, where he's hitting .212/.316/.364.

Minors Watch:

I expected Vinnie Catricala to at least become a DH that could hit 20-25 HR at the major league level, but he's struggled at AAA: .234/.276/.336. On the bright side, he was even more terrible earlier in the year and has picked it up lately.

Former top prospect Carlos Triunfel is hitting .251/.310/.403 at AAA. Surprisingly, he is still only 22, but it's doubtful that he'll become more than an average player in the bigs.

I predict that if the Mariners needed a starter today, they'd not call up one of the big names but instead Andrew Carraway. The 25-year-old has made 12 starts across two levels this year and has a 2.86 ERA in 69.1 innings, with 50 K/15 BB. He would probably never become anything special, but might be a decent #4 or #5 starter.

Tacoma doesn't have much pitching talent, or at least pitchers displaying any talent, with mighty struggles from Forrest Snow, Mauricio Robles (demoted), Chance Ruffin, and Anthony Vazquez, but help is on the way if you look one level below...

Taijuan Walker becomes the top prospect in the system and maybe a top ten prospect in baseball after showing dominance as the youngest player in the AA Southern League: 2.68 ERA in 10 starts, 50.1 innings, 53 K/18 BB. The teenager just had an interesting start where he went six innings, allowed a season-high four runs, but had a season-high nine strikeouts and allowed three hits. You expect growing pains for Walker right now which is why he probably won't see the majors in 2012, but he could easily be starting next season at the age of 20 and hold his own. Watch for it.

Mike Newman talked more about Walkers "dominating stuff" on fangraphs today. You can taste the drool.

Danny Hultzen has a 1.44 ERA in 62.1 innings, 32 hits allowed, 67 K, 30 BB. He has allowed 10 ER on the season and half of those came in his first professional start. (And all of those runs came in his last inning of that particular start, which he had dominated for the first four innings.) He could see the majors this season.

James Paxton has had his ups and downs this season but should at least rack up strikeouts in the majors. He hurt his knee and has been on the DL for about a week and a half. He still struggles with his control and efficiency.

Carter Capps (27.1 innings, 39 K/6 BB) is a reliever that's death to righties and could be in the major league bullpen very soon.

Nick Franklin, all of 21-years-old, is hitting .345/.410/.560 with 4 HR, 25 RBI, 4 2B, 4 3B, 7 SB in 45 games. The switch-hitting SS struggled in High Desert last season but in 291 AA plate appearances is hitting .343/.402/.535. I don't know that he can play SS in the bigs but he can certainly hit.

Francisco Martinez, also 21 and acquired in the Doug Fister trade, has struggled mostly (.256/.333/.340) but the third baseman has 21 stolen bases in 56 games. Only one home run though.

It's hard to make sense or believe anything any hitter does in High Desert, but SS Brad Miller is probably the best prospect there and is hitting .317/.418/.540 with 40 BB/49 K in 269 PAs with 12 stolen bases. I'd expect that when Franklin gets promoted, Miller gets promoted. How and when will Franklin be promoted? Triunfel would have to be moved or promoted (unlikely to be promoted) or Franklin just skip AAA altogether. At some point it will work itself out.

C Jack Marder is hitting .355/.405/.533.

C John Hicks is hitting .295/.340/.486.

Stefen Romero is hitting .361/.392/.582.

Hold off on opinions until they are promoted off of the moon.

"Toolsy" prospect Guillermo Pimentel is hitting .211/.266/.320 with 51 strikeouts in 158 plate appearances, still only showing tools and no discernible baseball skills.

Los Angeles Angels (28-27)

Breakout: Mike Trout

Welcome to the world of Mike Trout. I honestly half-expected Trout to fail based off of guys like Brandon Wood and Casey Kotchman, but he's doing it. He's really doing it. .318/.374/.538 in 147 PAs with 5 HR, 20 RBI, 9 SB, 71 total bases.

After being "blocked" by the terrible Vernon Wells, the terrible-hitting Peter Bourjos, and the terribly-old Torii Hunter, Trout has carried the team back into the division race. (Carried is a strong word since it also helped when Albert Pujols stopped sucking.) But few Angels have an OPS over .700 and Trout at age 20 has been among their best hitters. He has 2.3 fWAR in only 33 games.

Also props to Mark Trumbo who is walking more and hitting .331/.381/.602 with 10 HR and being more than just a one-dimensional hitter. His .378 BABIP is unsustainable but if he hits .280 and keeps walking with power, he'll be pretty good.

Disappointment: Albert Pujols

Overall, he's still been disappointing. But since "HR Watch" ended, he's been fine. .310/.393/.634 with 7 HR, 17 RBI in his last 19 games.

Rookie Watch:

That Trout guy.

Minors Watch:

Garrett Richards, the #83 BA prospect going into the year, has struggled at AAA: 56.1 innings, 49 K/29 BB, 4.31 ERA.

Jean Segura, one of their other top prospects, is hitting .286/.330/.378 at AA, with 22 stolen bases in 54 games. Segura missed most of 2011 with injury, so just health at this point is a bonus. He stole 50 bases in 130 games in 2010.

C.J. Cron is hitting .293/.339/.474 with 8 HR, 42 RBI in 56 games at High-A Inland Empire. He was the 17th overall pick last season. Taylor Lindsey (37th overall in 2010) is hitting .281/.329/.404 at IE. Randal Grichuk (24th in 2009 but only 20 years old) is hitting .249/.282/.391 there.

Cameron Bedrosian (29th overall in 2010) has 16 walks and 12 strikeouts in 25 innings at single-A Cedar Rapids. Chevy Clarke (30th overall in 2010) is hitting .216/.303/.335 there. Ryan Bolden (40th overall in 2010) is hitting .168/.252/.228 in short season Arizona. (Hit .187 in 150 at-bats there last year.)

In short, the Angels have had a lot of high picks in recent years but only a few are panning out thus far. One of those is Kaleb Cowart, who is hitting .300/.354/.498 at Cedar Rapids with 8 HR in 54 games.

Trevor Reckling amazingly walked 15 batters in 6.2 innings for Inland Empire.

Texas Rangers (32-22)

Breakout: Mitch Moreland

Yu Darvish, almost too obvious, makes way for Moreland in this category simply because the Rangers "missed out" on Pujols and Prince Fielder and "had to go with" Moreland at first base. Well, he's hitting .273/.333/.508 with 8 HR, which is better than Pujols so far at a fraction of the cost.

Moreland, now in the middle of a 1-for-18 mini-slump, isn't a star. Won't be a star most likely, ever. But if you can hit decently in Texas you stand to drive in runs and score and Moreland has been a bit of a surprise this season, so far.

Darvish has 67.1 innings under his belt with 73 K/38 BB and a 3.21 ERA. Darvish could mess around, get 200+ strikeouts, 20 wins, and wind up near the top of the Cy Young votes because he's playing for Texas and hasn't been too bad. Just needs to cut down on the walks.

Disappointment: Neftali Feliz

I'm making a bit of a stretch here only because I don't think there's too much disappointment in Texas? Feliz is making a difficult transition and has a 3.16 ERA in seven starts but it now "focused on getting healthy" and not the signing of Roy Oswalt. He's allowing fewer hits per innings and the same Ks per 9 that he did as a closer last season, which is pretty good, considering.

Maybe Derek Holland and his 5.11 ERA are more disappointing.

Maybe Mike Napoli hitting .252/.355/.471 is more disappointing.

Maybe? You tell me, Texas fans.

Rookie Watch:

The Rangers have made very few transactions this year. Rookies are Darvish and Robbie Ross, who has a 1.63 ERA in the bullpen but with few strikeouts.

Minors Watch:

Leonys Martin is hitting .347/.423/.520 with 3 HR, 7 SB, 6 CS, 16 K, 12 BB in 111 PA for AAA Round Rock.

Tanner Scheppers has a 3.67 ERA in 27 relief innings with 25 K/4 BB.

Neil Ramirez has struggled in AAA, 7.25 ERA with 48 K/24 BB in 58.1 innings.

Also struggling during his second go-around with AAA, lefty Martin Perez. He has a 5.37 ERA with 36 K/28 BB in 55.1 innings. He is still only 21-years-old.

AA Frisco is all about top prospect, SS Jurickson Profar. He's hitting .286/.355/.484 with 14 doubles, 5 triples, 6 HR, 7 SB in 53 games at the age of 19.

Mike Olt is hitting .318/.419/.641 with 17 HR in 52 games.

Barrett Loux has made 11 starts in AA and has a 3.03 ERA in 62.1 innings with 58 K/20 BB.

Cody Buckel has dominated Myrtle Beach: 64 innings, 39 hits allowed, 1.27 ERA, 81 K/22 BB. He "doesn't have dominating stuff" but he's clearly ahead of the hitters in high-A.

Jake Skole, the 15th overall pick in 2010, is hitting .200/.286/.294 there.

Rougned Odor is hitting .293/.357/.482 for single-A Hickory at the age of 18.

Finally, this article has turned into something much longer than I expected it to be! This is the end of the article though, so let's all be grateful for that. If you think I missed out on something that I should have noted, feel free to note it in the comments because with this many words I was sure to miss something.

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