The Times They Are A-Changin’

In the midst of Tuesday’s post-Darvish hubbub, Jon Morosi of threw out the following on Twitter:
“An All-Star team of the Rangers and Angels could beat the Red Sox and Yankees. West is the new East.”
Much as I can tell, nobody took much notice of Morosi’s declaration. Excepting me, who got to thinking. What would those teams look like and could the West legitimately be considered more stacked than the East? Could this just be reactionary hyperbole?
Lucky for you, I spent my afternoon doing the work and carefully crafting a hypothetical All-Star team for the Rangers/Angels and another for the Yankees/Red Sox.
Here’s what I came up with —
  • Rangers/Angels
    C – Mike Napoli
    1B – Albert Pujols
    2B – Ian Kinsler
    3B – Adrian Beltre
    SS – Elvis Andrus
    LF – Josh Hamilton
    CF – Peter Bourjos
    RF – Nelson Cruz
    DH – Michael Young
    SP – Jered Weaver
    Other Pitchers – Mike Adams, Yu Darvish, Neftali Feliz, Dan Haren, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Joe Nathan, Alexi Ogando, Jordan Walden, CJ Wilson
    Utility Infielder – Howie Kendrick
    Pinch Runner/OF – Craig Gentry
    Backup Catcher – Chris Iannetta
    Manager – Ron Washington
  • Yankees/Red Sox
    C – Russell Martin
    1B – Adrian Gonzalez
    2B – Robinson Cano
    3B – Kevin Youkilis
    SS – Derek Jeter
    LF – Carl Crawford
    CF – Curtis Granderson
    RF – Jacoby Ellsbury
    DH – David Ortiz
    SP – CC Sabathia
    Other Pitchers – Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Clay Buccholz, Jon Lester, Boone Logan, Ivan Nova, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Cory Wade
    Utility Infielder – Dustin Pedroia
    Pinch Runner/OF – Brett Gardner
    Backup Catcher – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    Manager – Joe Girardi
Some thoughts and observations —
  • These rosters are based on the current active rosters of each team’s parent clubs. It seems unlikely at this point that any of the four parent clubs will make any major upgrades before the 2012 season.
  • Each team is carrying 11 pitchers and 12 position players.
  • Some older guys (Jeter, Nathan, Crawford) get credit for their whole careers, as opposed to their 2011 numbers alone.
  • Each team has a catcher and a backup catcher. Both teams took one catcher from each of its parent clubs, which was by design.
  • Since the Darvish news was what spawned Morosi’s comment in the first place, it felt wrong not to include him. So, we’ll assume that 1) the Rangers are going to sign him and 2) he will be at least as good as Dan Haren, Colby Lewis.
  • When it came to R/A, I did my best to be objective. Based on raw talent, I believe that the Rangers have the edge in position players and bullpen, the Angels in starting pitching. The roster reflects this belief.
  • Elvis Andrus and Erick Aybar are very similar on the offensive side of the ball. Including Elvis was a subjective call based mostly on my familiarity with his glove and his personality.
  • It wasn’t easy deciding between CJ Wilson and Ervin Santana. The call was ultimately made due to the Y/RS lineup having so many left-handed hitters.
  • Santana loses out to Derek Holland for the same reasons he loses out to Wilson. He loses out to Colby Lewis because of Lewis’ playoff success, which I value highly in big-game situations.
  • Bobby Abreu might be a better choice as a pure DH-type, but Michael Young gives his team more versatility with his ability to play some infield. With Gentry listed as PR/OF, Abreu didn’t make as much sense. Young and Abreu would both work at DH, though.
  • Both teams have very talented, athletic outfields.
  • Youkilis beats out Alex Rodriguez because of last season’s numbers and the relative health of each. Ortiz beats out Rodriguez because he makes more sense as a DH.
  • Filling out the Y/RS pitching staff wasn’t easy. Some of the candidates are dealing with injury (Lackey, Chamberlain, Dice-K) and some I just don’t believe in (Soriano, Hughes). There is considerably more pitching depth between the Rangers & Angels.
  • The Y/RS have more left-handed pitchers, but the R/A only have 1 left-handed hitter (Hamilton).
  • The R/A have 3 closers (Walden, Nathan, Feliz) on their roster, but the Y/RS have Mariano Rivera.
  • Wash over Scioscia as manager because of his team’s more recent success. Scioscia would probably also refuse to play Napoli.
  • Girardi gets the nod because Bobby Valentine has been manager for only about 10 minutes.
Some final thoughts —
It’s interesting to note that, while the combined payroll of the Y/RS far exceeds that of the R/A, the combined talent level must be considered at least comparable. The R/A trend a little bit younger than the Y/RS, with Holland, Bourjos, Andrus, & Feliz all 25 or younger.
Based on what we’ve seen so far this winter, I think Morosi is onto something. The East seems content, while the West continues to evolve and upgrade. The East also has less flexibility due to their sizable contracts with aging players.
Even though the Yankees and Red Sox are still going to be serious contenders for the next few seasons, the balance of power in the AL is moving west. As time goes on, the oft over-hyped slug-fests between “baseball’s greatest rivals” may not be nearly as impressive as what we’re going to be seeing in Arlington and Anaheim.
At this point, I’m just about spent. Somebody else will have to figure out who would make a less impressive All-Star team, the Cubs/Astros or the Mariners/Athletics.

For the next 5 or 6 years, I do believe that we’re going to see a serious rivalry develop between the Rangers and the Angels. It seems less likely that either team will be running away with the division anytime soon and guys like Pujols and Kinsler will do nothing but add fuel to the fire.
I look forward to it. It’s going to be delicious.

About Mike Luna

My name is Mike. I am an avid fan of the Texas Rangers. I like reading and jogging, but I don't do either nearly as often as I should. I like writing about more than just baseball. Your opinion is your own, but please be respectful. Everyone is welcome in The Bleacher Seats.
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2 Responses to The Times They Are A-Changin’

  1. Sorry, but there were too many Angels in that line up. Pujols is all the Rangers need for perfection! lol

  2. Pingback: The Times They Are A-Changin’ « Claw and Antler Nation

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