Who to Watch: Angels, Rangers

The Who to Watch heads out to the left coast for a look at the AL West. While the Angels offense seems to be getting a bit older, the Rangers have a group of up-and-comers featuring a mix of power and speed. Who will be the one to watch?

The Angels player I want to target late in 2010 drafts is Juan Rivera. With Gary Mathews Jr. just about as ingrained on the bench as he will ever get, Rivera has a chance to play every day from opening day. Last seasonRivera hit .287 with 25 home runs and 88 RBI in just 138 gamesover 529 at bats. It was also his healthy season, for the most part,since 2006. Rivera is a good contact hitter that doesn’t strike out much and last season he held a HR/FB rateright on par withhis career average. While he won’t come as cheap as he did last season (15th round in last Wednesday’s mock draft), he should still provide solid fourth outfielder numbers with a .280-plus AVG and 20-25 home runs.

The Angels player I am staying clear of in 2010 is Brian Fuentes. Fuentes lost a little velocityon his fastball last season and became more hittable than at any other point in his professional career. He’s also 34 years old (35 in August). With the recent signing of Fernando Rodney, the comeback of Scot Shields and the emergence of Kevin Jepsen late last season, Fuentes’ job is far from secure. If the Angels fall out of the race, they may be looking for ways to keep Fuentes from finishing 55 games (non-saves included), which would cause his nine million dollar 2011 option to vest.

In the heat of Texas there is a blazing runner by the name of Julio Borbon that I want on draft day 2010. Borbon, interestingly enough, appears on MLB.com’s depth chart as Texas’s starting center fielder, moving Josh Hamilton to left. That tells me that they are going to let this kid fly from opening day on. In a combined 142 games between AAA and the majors, Borbon swiped 44 bags
in 55 attempts, good for an 80-percent success rate. His good plate discipline skills should lead to an OBP around .350 and while his ground ball/line drive approach to hitting won’t result in much power,it should help is AVG stay above .275 with potential for much more.

The player I don’t want from the Rangers in 2010 is Scott Feldman. For most of the season Feldman was coming up huge for fantasy teams as a waiver wire gem. His 5.35 ERA in September ruined the ride, but may still have owners wondering if his first half numbers are worth buying into. Don’t go that route on draft day. Pitchers that have K/9’s below six are a dime a dozen and full of risk. if it weren’t for a freakishly low BABIP against of .250, Feldman’s ERA wouldn’t even have been tolerable. Pass on Feldman in 2010 and get someone with some upside late in the draft.

Brett Greenfield of Fantasy Phenoms gives his take:

The Angels player you want on your team in 2010 is Juan Rivera.Rivera should move up and hit in a more prominent RBI spot than he was in last year.Rivera needs to stay healthy in order to be a weekly starter, but the job is his to lose.He rarely strikes out and could hit 25 HR given another 500+ AB.Rivera always hits for a respectable average as well. He’s not a bad way to finish off your outfield.
The Angels player you don’t want on your team in 2010 is Brian Fuentes.Fuentes might have saved 48 games last year, but he blew his fair share.A 1.40 WHIP and 3.93 ERA were the highest of his career since becoming a closer.Fernando Rodney isn’t a good sign for him either.Rodney was quite the contrary: he saved 37 of his 38 chances last year.Needless to say, Fuentes will be on a short leash and because he saved nearly 50 games last year, will be drafted too high for my taste.

The Rangers player you want on your team in 2010 is Neftali Feliz.It’s unknown exactly what role he’ll play this year, but group him with the likes of past names Joba Chamberlain and Brandon Morrow.They weren’t guaranteed to start or close or relieve, but they had “stuff.”Feliz fits that bill, having struck out 39 batters in 31 IP. A 1.74 ERA and a 0.68 show that the sky is the limit.

The Rangers you don’t want on your team in 2010 is Elvis Andrus.Yes he’s got a cool name.Yes he’s the reason why Michael Young moved to 3B.Yes he stole 33 bases last year. There are a few problems, though.First of all his .267 AVG wasn’t so helpful.The second flaw is his spot in the lineup.Andrus batted 9th for most of the year and that isn’t likely to change.He drove in only 40 runs as a result.Even in a potent lineup like the one in Texas, Elvis only managed 72 runs.That was while batted 9th most of the time and 2nd for a small portion.I think he goes too high in drafts for 30 steals.