The American League West Dream Lineup for 2013, not surprisingly, consists primarily of Texas Rangers and California. Angels. The lineup is very strong one through six, but is right heavy.
1. Mike Trout - L.A. Angels of Anaheim 8 (CF)
Trout may be the best combination of speed and power to hit the big leagues since Willie Mays. The 21 year from New Jersey had one of the greatest rookie years of all time. He led the league in runs and stolen bases and in only 139 games put up 30 home runs and 83 R.B.I. His 10.7 W.A.R. ranked him first in the American League.
2. Yoenis Cespedes - Oakland Athletics DH
The Cuban rookie had a tremendous season with the A’s in 2012. His flair and athleticism helped lead Oakland to a surprise A.L. West Crown. In 129 games he slugged .505 with 23 home runs and 86 R.B.I. while stealing 16 bags. He is a complete player who should only improve.
3. Albert Pujols - L.A. Angels of Anaheim 3 (1B)
“El Hombre” hit well enough in the second half of 2012 to remain in the third slot in the order. Pujols drove in 105 runs and slugged 30 homers, but his slugging percentage dipped to almost 100 points below his career average. If Pujols slide continues his contract may prove to be an albatross to the Angels.
4. Josh Hamilton - L.A. Angels of Anaheim 7 (LF)
Hamilton, the first lefty in our lineup, reminds many old time baseball people of Mickey Mantle. The 31 year old possesses prodigious power and natural ability Since returning to baseball in 2007 from chemical addictions that almost ruined his career, Hamilton has been magnificent, though he has had injury issues. In 2012 with Texas, Hamilton jacked 43 home runs and drove in 128 runs, slugging .577. He is a career .300 hitter who averages 122 R.B.I. every 162 games in his career.
5. Adrian Beltre - Texas Rangers 5 (3B)
Beltre has been one of the preeminent third baseman in the major leagues for the past decade. He has been remarkably consistent the past three seasons, averaging 32 home runs and 103 R.B.I. from 2010 through 2012. The .280 career hitter usually has a relatively low strikeout total for a slugger and brings gold glove defense to the team
6. Mark Trumbo - L.A. Angels of Anaheim 9 (RF)
For the second straight year Trumbo was a consistent power producer for Mike Scioscia. His ability to play all the corner positions will be crucial when the Angels rest Pujols and Hamilton. He has averaged 31 home runs and 91 R.B.I. his first two seasons while slugging .478.
Top to bottom, is the A.L. East batting lineup better than this lineup?
7. A.J. Pierzynski - Texas Rangers 2 (C)
The 36 year old enjoyed a big season in 2012 in Chicago hitting 27 home runs. While expecting a repeat of that performance may be a stretch, expecting a home run total in the mid teens is not unrealistic. As always, Pierzynski will provide leadership a steady defense behind the plate.
8. Elvis Andrus - Texas Rangers 6 (SS)
The speedy shortstop has put together four solid seasons to start his career, averaging nearly 31 steals per year. He does not hit for much power, but his .286 average and .349 O.B.P. in 2012 are consistent with his career numbers.
9. Jose Altuve - Houston Astros 4 (2B)
The Patekesque Altuve is a rare bright spot for the hapless Astros. The 5’5’ second baseman hit .290 with a .340 O.B.P. with 33 steals, so he will be adequate turning over lineup at the bottom of the order. Besides, anybody on a team whose highest paid player is Bud Norris deserves some recognition.