We have now arrived to discussing the American League, starting off with the West. The American League West will definitely draw some attention this season, with the arrival of Shohei Ohtani in Los Angeles. Houston is looking to defend their World Series title as they got even better this off-season. From the veteran presence of the clubhouse in Seattle, to Tim Lincecum, here is a look at the AL West in 2018:
On paper, the Athletics are considered to be in comparison to “The Island of Misfit Toys”. One look at their roster and you could consider them the favorite to finish dead last in the division for the third consecutive year. SPOILER ALERT: I have them dead last again in the division. Despite having them last, these guys could be a huge sleeper pick in contention for the division. Oakland possesses a great core of young talent that will take the team into a positive outlook for the future. Jed Lowrie (2.77 BA in 2017) will look to lead a young, but very capable lineup this season. Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea look to lead their staff in hopes of a more promising season. Don’t sleep on these guys, but also don’t be surprised if they’re exactly where you expected them to be.
The Rangers will look to contend as always this season with high hopes. They’ll attempt to match up against teams such as Seattle and Los Angeles, but they lack the necessary power they used to possess to do so. Their lineup will consist of guys such as average leaders Elvis Andrus, Delino DeShields, Robinson Chirinos, and Shin-Soo Choo. The always intimidating Adrian Beltre will bring in veteran leadership once again, along with Cole Hamels who will look to lead the rotation. Their pitching including Hamels, Matt Moore, Doug Fister, and Mike Minor may turn out being their strong suit this season.
The Seattle Mariners could definitely contend for a top spot in the division. They have the pieces in their lineup with Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, and newcomer Dee Gordon will look to play their fair share as well. Ryon Healy (Right Hand Surgery) and Ben Gamel (Strained Right Oblique) will look to produce once being returned from the Disabled List. They have all the pieces with the bat, the pitching on another hand is the concern. If Felix Hernandez doesn’t pitch that day, the game is a toss-up. There’s really no “wow” guy I can determine that will match the workload Felix will can handle. James Paxton will be a solid two for the team, but nothing more than that. The Mariners have it figured out with their lineup, it’s up to their pitching if they can step up and make some noise in the division.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:
The Angels are definitely worthy of a break out season, and it’s NOT because of Shohei Ohtani. Despite winning the Ohtani sweepstakes, there hasn’t been much noise about the guy. This doesn’t mean he should be forgotten during the season. Give him some time and he’ll produce, trust me. The Angels also have Mike Trout, who’s the best player in baseball right now. Mike Trout will lead the lineup per usual with a supporting cast of Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, and “The Machine” Albert Pujols. Ian Kinsler is looking for a bounce back season after hitting a career low .236 BA. Garrett Richards will take the ace role of the staff in his eight season with returners Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs. The Angels will definitely make some noise this season as it looks as if things may be coming together.
No question as to who’s going to come out on top of the division this season. The Houston Astros are not only looking to repeat as division champs, but World Series champions as well. They have almost all returners this season with the addition of Gerrit Cole to the pitching staff. Reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve will look to have yet another incredible season at the plate and in the field. Carlos Correa anticipates to be great per usual. Justin Verlander is hoping for another Cy Young worthy season. He takes the lead role in a very talented pitching staff, which includes Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton. They have all the tools to make another title run, or at least go deep into the postseason.
Los Angeles Angles