March 23, 2011

2011 Milestone Preview: American League West

It's times like these that I am glad that Disney no longer has anything to do with the ownership of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Because if they did...we'd be subjected to them knocking the cobwebs off Shawn Bradley, dressing him up in a baseball uniform and throwing him on the silver screen Gheorghe Muresan-style to play pitcher Loek Van Mil.

Granted, Van Mil looks to be starting the season at Triple-A Salt Lake City, but if/when he gets called up by the Halos...he'll enter the Majors, not only as the game's tallest player ever, but also the first seven footer baseball has ever seen. 

With that...it's off to the AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST we go!


LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM

Regardless of what they've been called (and they've had a few different names)...Opening Day marks the 50th for the Angels.

In the dugout, Mike Scioscia is gearing up for his 12th as the manager of the Halos.  And when he gets his 20th victory of the season...he'll be just the fifth active skipper with 1000 or more wins.

I sound like a broken record saying this...but Bobby Abreu has, quietly, put together one heck of a career.  Sure, sure, last year was a bust for the outfielder (his streak of 100-plus RBI seasons ended at seven)...but dude can rake. 

And run.

As it stands, Abreu is 24 home runs shy from being only the eighth member of the exclusive 300-300 club.

Only Barry (762-514) and Bobby Bonds (332-461), Willie Mays (660-338), Alex Rodriguez (613-301), Andre Dawson (438-314), Reggie Sanders (305-304) and Steve Finley (304-320) have achieved 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Abreu is sitting at 276 and 372.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

On paper, new Athletics designated hitter Hideki Matsui appears to be miles away from any sort of milestone discussions.  Thankfully, "Godzilla" doesn't play his games on paper. 

Going into this season, Matsui has 161 career home runs over his eight year Major League career.  Combine that with the 332 he hit Yomiuri Giants...and you're looking at 493 career bombs.  Not too shabby.

SEATTLE MARINERS

Alright, the annual "Ichiro Watch" is underway here at The Hall...and this is why.

After ten years in the Majors, he has:

  • Ten straight seasons with a .300 or better batting average
  • Ten straight seasons with 200 or more hits (he's led the league the last five seasons)
  • Ten straight seasons with 25 or more stolen bases
  • Ten straight Gold Gloves
  • Ten straight All-Star appearances
Have you noticed a trend?

Last season, the outfielder set the Major League record for reaching the 200 or more hits in ten consecutive seasons.  The only other guy to have put together ten season with 200 or more hits?  Hit king Pete Rose. His accomplishment, however, was spread over 24 seasons...Ichiro has done it in ten out of ten seasons.

TEXAS RANGERS

Alright, alright, alright...last season I broke out this:


And if the Mariners superstar leads the Majors in hits (again), it'll be the eighth time he's accomplished that feat. That will, in turn, set another record...breaking a three-way tie with Rose and Ty Cobb.

One last interesting sidenote about AL West. Did you know that it is home to two of the lowly three Major League Teams that have never appeared in a World Series game?  It’s true, Texas, Seattle and the Washington Nationals have never played in the Fall Classic. Will 2010 be the year the streak is ended…stay tuned!  Smart betting, however, says it won’t.

Well, I was wrong.  And I can admit that.

Hoping to cash in on lightning in a bottle is new Ranger Adrian Beltre.  The thirdbaseman comes into 2011 111 hits shy of 2000 for his career and 22 home runs away from 300.  Both are attainable should the injury bug not bite...let's all agree to re-convene later in the season to see what Beltre's status is.

Also chasing down 2000 career hits...Rangers infielder Michael Young.  Young enters the season with 1848...152 away from the afore mentioned milestone.  Provided he can find a spot in the lineup (likely to happen...but will it be with Texas?), he'll get to 2000.

The National League West is next and should wrap things up. In the meantime, feel free to check out Milestone Previews of the American League East, American League Central, National League East and National League Central.



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