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Sleepers/Breakout Candidates, AL West

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Potential Sleepers/Breakouts, AL WEST

Steve Hensley, RHP, Seattle Mariners
     Hensley was drafted by the Mariners in the fourth round last year, out of Elon University. His pro debut resulted in a 5.22 ERA in the Northwest League, but his component ratios were more impressive: 32/9 K/BB in 29 innings, 28 hits allowed. He has a low-90s fastball, a sharp slider, and both his curveball and changeup have promise, if in need of more polish. His command within the strike zone needs some work, but he has the potential to develop into an inning-eater type starter if his secondary pitches come together.

Arnold Leon, RHP, Oakland Athletics
    Oakland fans, who tend to be very well-informed, know about Leon, but the rest of us might not. From Mexico, he split last year between Saltillo in the Mexican League (4.30 ERA, 21/2 K/BB in 15 innings) and Stockton in the California League (2.86 ERA, 28/9 K/BB in 28 innings). 20 years old, he's not a tall guy at 5-11, but he gets his fastball into the 90s and mixes it with a cut fastball and big-breaking curve. His control is sharp, and like many Mexican pitchers he has a good feel for his craft. We need to see more from him, but there are clearly things to like here.

Ryan Mount, 2B, Los Angeles Angels
     Mount was drafted in the second round back in 2005, out of high school in California. He qualifies as a sleeper now since he's fallen off many prospect lists, mostly due to injuries knee and hamstring injuries that have limited him to just 88 games in 2007 and 82 last year. Mount knocked 16 homers in the Cal League last year, hitting .290/.337/.512 for Rancho Cucamonga, and has legitimate pop from the left side of the plate. Weaknesses include plate discipline, which is shaky, and mediocre infield range which moved him off shortstop. He's still just 22 and remains an intriguing hitter.

Clark Murphy, 1B, Texas Rangers
     The Rangers have numerous corner hitters looking for a place to play, but behind the logjam at the upper levels is another interesting bat in Clark Murphy. Drafted in the fifth round last year out of high school in California, Murphy hit .358/.435/.525 in 25 games in rookie ball. He's somewhat raw in most phases and is limited defensively, but he can put a charge in the ball, and if his strike zone judgment holds up at higher levels, he could hit for both power and average. Obviously the Rangers aren't in a position where they have to rush him.