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A Post-2011 AL West All Star Team

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I said I'd finish these today, and I'm sticking with my word. We've already covered the other five divisions (NL: East, West, Central; AL: East, Central), so finish up before we clean our hands of the 2011 season and move on to the offseason.


Catcher: Mike Napoli, Texas (5.6 fWAR)

People have talked about him a good deal since the Rangers are on their way to the World Series, which makes sense considering he just hit .320 with 30 homers in 113 games. It also makes sense because of the whole "He-got-traded-for-Wells" narrative. It's probably worth adding that he hit .382/.462/.719 with 17 doubles, 20 homers and 34 walks in the club's final 65 games.

First Base: Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles (2.3 fWAR)

You could put Napoli here, but it's not like there's some good alternative at catcher, either. Between both positions, there just isn't much talent in this division other Naps. This Mark Trumbo fellow, though, he really does have some power. Pretty crazy that he can hit .254 with a .291 OBP but still manage to post a solid-average WAR at first base. 

Second Base: Ian Kinsler, Texas (7.7 fWAR)

People go crazy over Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano, but Kinsler has quietly put his name in the hat when it comes to discussing the league's best second basemen. Always a good hitter and runner, Kinsler has developed into an above-average defender over the past few seasons, and it's made him into an elite player.

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Texas (5.7 fWAR)

Not a hard one. The only things he doesn't do are walk and steal bases. Otherwise, he offers 30+ home run power, plus to plus-plus defense, well above-average contact skills and solid base-running. I'm not the first person to say this out loud, but I'll always wonder what his career might look like if he signed somewhere other than Seattle (an awful fit for his right-handed power).

Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, Texas (4.5 fWAR)

These Rangers, they're pretty good. This one is actually pretty close, as Erick Aybar had a very good year in LA, but Andrus has a solid half-win advantage over the course of the season. He'll likely never become more than an average hitter, but he's so good defensively and on the bases that he'll continue to be one of the game's better shortstops.

Left Field: Josh Hamilton, Texas (4.2 fWAR)

You'll notice that AL West outfields struggled a good deal in 2011. Hamilton was very good once again this season, but his BABIP took the expected dip and he once again struggled to consistently stay on the field.

Center Field: Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles (4.3 fWAR)

A surprise inclusion, Bourjos was supposed to be the mere stopgap to Mike Trout but he's proving to be one of the organization's best young players. A plus-plus defender and runner, the most surprising part of his performance has been the power. It'll be interesting to see what they do with him going forward, given that so much of his value is tied into his CF defense.

Right Field: Torii Hunter, Los Angeles (2.5 fWAR)

A very weak year for AL West right fielders means we'll go with Torii Hunter, who tops the bunch by being roughly league average. He's still a slightly above-average hitter, but his power is fading and he's already no more than an average defender in right.

Designated Hitter: Michael Young, Texas (3.8 fWAR)

People like to give MY a hard time, but he continues to be an effective player. He set a career-best for batting average (.338) this season, cutting down his strikeout rate while continuing to hit the ball in the gaps with regularity. His fly ball rate took a dip, though, leading to a drop in home runs. Either way, you can look past the 11 homers and be satisfied with a .338 BA and 41 doubles.


No. 1: Dan Haren, Los Angeles (6.4 fWAR)

No. 2: C.J. Wilson, Texas (5.9 fWAR)

No. 3: Jered Weaver, Los Angeles (5.6 fWAR)

No. 4: Felix Hernandez, Seattle (5.5 fWAR)

No. 5: Brandon McCarthy, Oakland (4.7 fWAR)

A nice bunch here. The Rangers only have one guy listed, but they have another three starters between 3.6 and 4.2 WAR on the year. LA has the division's best one-two punch in Haren and Weaver. King Felix is one of the game's premier pitchers, even if his teammates can't always pull their own weight. And then there's Brandon McCarthy, one of the season's top bargains. Think of that as fate making up for the $10 million that the A's blew on Ben Sheets.


Reliever: Jordan Walden, Los Angeles (1.7 fWAR)

Reliever: Brandon League, Seattle (1.4 fWAR)

Reliever: Darren Oliver, Texas (1.3 fWAR)

Not much in terms of elite-level relief work from the AL West this season. Walden's emerged as LA's closer and he should hold onto that role for a while, but the sophomore struggles of Neftali Feliz remind us of the volatility of relievers. League turned in a good year as Seattle's closer and could be a trade candidate this winter, while Oliver had another quality year as the lefty in Texas' bullpen.