My gut tells me the A's will be a force to be reckoned with this season. But EWSL is much more sober about the rebuilding job the team needs to suffer through before the A's can be considered a bankable contender rather than a maybe-if-everything-breaks-right longshot.
BaseballCrank's EWSL projection has the A's finishing 4 games behind the Angels, 8 wins ahead of the Mariners and 11 games ahead of the Rangers. And that's assuming 9 total Win Shares out of Dan Haren, Joe Blanton and Dan Meyer. I'd like to think that those projections are more likely to be too low than too high, but the track record for rookie/unproven starters ain't great.
Well, here's hoping we get an extra 16 win shares from somewhere and scrap our way past the Angels into the post-season, where (as we A's fans all know) it's a total crapshoot.
Read the whole AL West piece on Crank, make your way over to the 2005 AL East EWSL Report and keep your eyes peeled for the remaining four division reports. It's great stuff.