Every year the American League West Division seems to surprise everyone and this year it has great chances of being a very exciting division to watch. The Astros and Mariners have made some surprising improvements to their rosters, while the Angels are still looking to be at the top of the division. Here is this week’s outlook for the AL West.
Biggest Moves: C/OF Evan Gattis, OF Colby Rasmus, SS Jed Lowrie, 3B Luis Valbuena, C Hank Conger, RHP Pat Neshek
Biggest Losses: OF Dexter Fowler, RHP Mike Foltynewicz, 3B Rio Ruiz
Outlook on the Season: It’s tough to figure out where the Astros will land in the division this year, being that it is very competitive.They made some decent off season acquisitions by acquiring Braves catcher Evan Gattis, who has proven he can definitely swing the bat. Also acquiring Jed Lowrie and Colby Rasmus who both are good offense players. We have seen that Jose Altuve is a great all around player, winning the batting title last year as well as Chris Carter hitting an amazing 37 home runs a year ago, but the one problem for the Astros is that they strike out way too much. They also have a few more arms in the bullpen, but their rotation is still weak. There is certainly plenty of potential with this Astro team, but not enough to put them in the postseason this year.
Record Prediction: 78-84
Los Angeles Angels
Biggest Moves: 2B Josh Rutledge, DH/OF Matt Joyce
Biggest Losses: 2B Howie Kendrick, RHP Jason Grilli, C Hank Conger, IF Gordon Beckham
Outlook on the Season: It’s going to be a little bit tougher for the Angels this year to stay atop the division. Losing Howie Kendrick’s bat could prove to be a big loss, even with bringing in Josh Rutledge as his replacement, because they lost an even bigger piece for an undisclosed amount of time in Josh Hamilton. Mike Trout is one of the best players in the MLB, and will be looked upon to take control and lead this team to a possible division title. Not only will Trout have to step up but so will Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar. Their pitching looks pretty solid, as well as their bullpen which has proven that they can keep a lead in a game. It will be a very close race, but it appears the Angels are the front runners right now.
Record Prediction: 88-74
Biggest Moves: 2B/OF Ben Zobrist, RHP Tyler Clippard, 3B Brett Lawrie, 1B/DH Billy Butler, 1B Ike Davis, C Josh Phegley, SS Marcus Semien
Biggest Losses:3B Josh Donaldson, LHP Jon Lester, 1B/OF Brandon Moss, RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Jason Hammel, C Derek Norris, SS Jed Lowrie, IF Alberto Callaspo, OF Jonny Gomes, IF Nick Punto
Outlook on the Season: This was a very interesting season for the A’s and Bill Beane. He made a ton of different moves, and many of the guys that he brought in last season are also gone, along with some guys that have been on the team for a little bit longer like Josh Donaldson who was sent via trade to the Blue Jays. Pitching will continue to be a success for this team, with the multitude of solid young arms. Their middle infielders are an improvement as well especially defensively, with the additions of Ben Zobrist and Marcus Semien. Semien and Lowrie will also be given the opportunity to display their talents for a full season this year. Many of their stars will not be returning this year, but they will stay have a possibility to make a run at a possible wild card position, even in the talented AL West.
Record Prediction: 83-79
Biggest Moves: OF/DH Nelson Cruz, 2B/OF Rickie Weeks, OF Seth Smith, LHP JA Happ
Biggest Losses: OF Michael Saunders, 1B Corey Hart, DH Kendrys Morales, OF Chris Denorfia
Outlook on the Season: The Mariners are definitely one of those teams that does not get enough attention. This team is poised for a postseason run this year. Seattle’s offense is set and bound to one of the best in the league, especially with throwing Nelson Cruz in the middle of Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. Also there pitching is pretty solid as well, with King Felix leading the way. The Mariners have the talent and right pieces for a postseason, so if all goes well, this should be a good year for the Mariners. Yes I am very high on this team.
Record Prediction: 90-72
Biggest Moves: RHP Yovani Gallardo, RHP Ross Detwiler
Biggest Losses: OF Alex Rios, RHP Alexi Ogando, SS Luis Sardinas
Outlook on the Season: Going into the spring the Rangers were looking to possibly compete for a playoff spot, especially with the additions of Yovani Gallardo and Ross Detwiler, as well as having a healthy Prince Fielder and Shin Soo Choo should improve their offense. Though Yu Darvish is now done for the season with tommy john surgery, so that totally changes things now. That now means that everybody else in the rotation must step up, and the offense then has to score a ton of runs to stay in games. It’s now going be to extremely tough for the Rangers to compete for the division, even if Darvish was healthy, they would still be looking in from the outside.
Record Prediction: 74-88