With the temperatures rising, and flowers blooming, it is that time of the year again. With a new MLB season now upon us, it is time to look at one of the most interesting divisions in baseball: the AL West. This division features a 3 team race that is destined to last into September, between the A’s, Rangers, and Angels. The Mariners have improved with the addition of Robinson Cano, and the Astros have a ton of young talent.
Oakland Athletics 90-72
The A’s have relied on pitching, and more pitching, to win the last 2 division titles. While they have had contributions from Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick, the A’s have relied on the arms of Jarrod Parker, who is out for the season because of Tommy John Surgery, Tommy Milone, Scott Kazmir, and multiple arms out of the pen. For the A’s to do well, they need to get A.J. Griffin back quickly, and hope that they get just enough production from the bats to win games in a division that will be tough to win.
Texas Rangers 89-73
If Yu Darvish’s injury is just minor, which it appears to be, than the Rangers appear to be in good shape. Contrary to the A’s, the Rangers are going to give up a lot of runs this year. They lack depth in the rotation, as they started Tanner Scheppers on opening day. The Rangers have to wait until Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, two solid starters, return. Until then, the Rangers need to get a lot of proaction from their star studded lineup. The Rangers added Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder in the offseason, to compliment their excellent righties Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Alex Rios. Hopefully, they can survive until they get back to full strength, just in time to make a late run for the division title.
Los Angeles Angels 87-75
After being a huge disappointment last season, the Angels look to fix their problems and win the division. With Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton in the lineup, the Angels send out one of the best lineups in baseball. They added World Series MVP David Freese and veteran Raul Ibanez to DH. At the top of the rotation, the Angels have struggling ace Jared Weaver, and former Ranger C.J. Wilson. This season, the Angels need to gwet more from the back end of their rotation, and Albert Pujols needs to play more like the Albert Pujols from 2010.
Seattle Mariners- 79-83
The Mariners added one of the best players in the game, Robinson Cano, to their lineup. Although the Mariners have overhauled the entire lineup, they still have a lot of question marks, especially with young catcher Mike Zunino, and injury prone Logan Morrison. As for pitching, the Mariners don’t really have much. Felix Hernandez is still one of baseball’s best, but behind him, the drop off is significant. Randy Wolf, James Paxton, and Erasmo Ramirez can not be counted on to win games for the Mariners. They may contend for awhile, but they don’t have enough consistence behind their stars to win this division
Houston Astros- 62-100
What is a successful season for the league’s worst team for the last several years? The Astros were terrible in the NL, and since moving to the AL West in realignment, the success has not changed. The Astros have a lot of young talent, but they are simply not ready to contend in the division or the AL. Jose Altuve, and Dexter Fowler are a solid pairing at the top of the lineup, but there is almost no MLB experience behind them. In the rotation, the Astros have next to nothing. Jarred Cosart is a solid young player with a future, but other than him, the Astros have no one eye turning.
This division is bound to come down to the final weeks of September. 3 teams, all with different strengths and weaknesses, will be in a dog fight until the end. All 3 might make the playoffs, leaving a wild card matchup of division foes.