Over at the U.S.S. Mariner blog, one of several high-quality mariner blogs, the front-page article runs 100 simulations of the 2008 AL West teams using the 2008 ZiPS projections. The results are quite surprising...
According to these simulations the Angels are not the favorite to win the division, coming out on top in 42 of the 100 simulations, but in fact it is Oakland that is favored, winning 47 of the 100 simulations. The Mariners win six times, and the Rangers 5 times apparently.
The post is Mariner-centric and so does not go into much depth about how this can be so as far as Oakland is concerned, but that "Oakland fields the best pitching/defense combination in the AL and their offense is decent too."
The obvious caveat here is that "Added: since this seems to be causing a lot of hostility, I’ll explain part of what’s going on here. The projection set doesn’t include known, current injuries — so when you look at a depth chart and you see that a bunch of their starters are likely to be guys like Saarloos or even Greg Smith because so many will be down for the start of the season, that’s the rub — these weren’t run with them starting off injured for x days and then coming back."
Anyway, if that isn't a kick in the ass. It doesn't change my outlook on 2008, except that it does make me wonder about the supposed quality of our defense? IF Chavez is in there the infield defense is certainly still superb as long as Barton doesn't junk it. Gotta love Mariners blogs for being so statistically oriented.