MLB Top 10s: A's still finding talent; Trout, King Felix lead AL West

by | Baseball Writer

In the Eye On Baseball Top 10s, here's what we do: rank players according to criteria. Those criteria change depending upon week and whim, but the Top 10s will always be informed by some angle or another. (Note that the absence of an angle is itself an angle!)

And that brings us to this week's guiding query: Who are the best position players and pitchers in the AL West?

In recent weeks, we've been devoting ourselves to rank provincialism by ordering hitters and pitchers from each of baseball's six divisions. So the primary criterion for this week -- the final week of this particular EOB Top 10s angle -- is that each name-checked player must play for the Rangers, Athletics, Angels, Mariners or Astros. Beyond that, each name-checked player should be good at baseball and stuff.

As for really deciding who merits inclusion, we're focusing on players who are performing at least solidly in 2013 and have the track record and or pedigree to suggest that their 2013 numbers are sustainable or even headed upward. That is, these are good players playing well or soon will play well. What's unfolded in 2013 matters, but so does body of work and established expectations. If a player isn't on here despite strong numbers in the current season, then you should assume that all-powerful I have determined his performance to be somewhat fluke-ish. It is so because I said it is so. Such are the privileges of boundless authority.

Spoiler alert: There will be no Josh Hamilton found herein. There's no assailing Hamilton's talent or his past successes, but I have my doubts about him moving forward. I look at the declining home run/fly-ball rate, and I see the fact that he ranks 202nd in average batted-ball distance. Then I see Hamilton flail at another breaking ball on or off the outside corner, and I wonder if an early decline phase has set in. So I'm bearish on Hamilton. I'm prepared to be proved wrong about that, but for now I'm passing on Hamilton as one of the 10 best position players in the AL West.

And now let us recite baseball names for purposes of SEO and making you angry. As always, feel free to brandish your incorrect opinions and make idle threats in the comments section.


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