AL West Preview and Predictions

Houston Astros – 2015 Record: 86-76

Notable offseason additions:

SP Doug Fister(From Washington) and RP Ken Giles(From Philadelphia)

Notable offseason subtractions:

RP Chad Qualls(To Colorado), SP Scott Kazmir(To Los Angeles Dodgers), 1B Chris Carter(To Milwaukee), SS Jed Lowrie(To Oakland), and RP Oliver Perez(To Washington)

Analysis: The rebuilding process is officially over for the Astros as they made the playoffs last season. They really didn’t make any moves this offseason to improve on that though. Houston has a stacked lineup with Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer and those guys are young and they will be productive players for a long time. They will certainly carry the Astros offense and perhaps the team overall. The Astros also have a pretty good rotation led by Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh. Houston also now has an improved bullpen after trading for young closer Ken Giles this offseason. Luke Gregerson and Tony Sipp will also be good late-inning options for the Astros. Expect this team to be very good for awhile because they are still very young and very talented in many aspects of their team.

Prediction: 1st place in the AL West

Los Angeles Angels – 2015 Record: 85-77

Notable offseason additions:

OF Craig Gentry(From Oakland), SS Yunel Escobar(From Washington), and SS Andrelton Simmons(From Atlanta)

Notable offseason subtractions:

SS Erick Aybar(To Atlanta), SP Mat Latos(To Chicago White Sox), 3B David Freese(To Pittsburgh), and C Chris Iannetta(To Seattle)

Analysis: The Angels came really close to the playoffs last season and they didn’t do too much to improve their team this offseason. Sure, they still have superstar players Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to carry the offense, but besides them they don’t have basically anybody else to produce consistently on offense. Expect Trout to have an MVP-type year and if Pujols can stay healthy then he should put up monster numbers as well. I really like the Angels starting rotation led by number 1 starter Garrett Richards. It is always good when you have Jered Weaver as the 4th starter in your rotation like the Angels do. I think Huston Street is a really good closer, but I’m not a fan of their bullpen overall. 8th inning guy Joe Smith isn’t a very good option as he had a 3.58 ERA. We know what the Angels will get from Trout, Pujols, and Richards. However, they will need to find someone else especially on offense to be able to compete in the AL West.

Prediction: 4th place in the AL West

Oakland Athletics – 2015 Record: 68-94

Notable offseason additions:

SS Jed Lowrie(From Houston), SP Rich Hill(From Boston), SP Henderson Alvarez(From Miami), OF Khris Davis(From Milwaukee), RP Ryan Madson(From Kansas City), and 1B Yonder Alonso(From San Diego)

Notable offseason subtractions:

2B Brett Lawrie(To Chicago White Sox), OF Craig Gentry(To Los Angeles Angels), SP Drew Pomeranz(To San Diego)

Analysis: The Athletics are the type of team that can go from a terrible team to a playoff team the next year. I’m definitely not saying that’s going to happen this year, but the Athletics are always confusing because of the strange signings and trades that they make every offseason. I’m not quite sure how good Oakland’s offense will be and who will lead the charge because they really don’t have a consistent offensive producer. Billy Butler and newly acquired outfielder Khris Davis will have to be consistent and carry the load on offense. Also, Sonny Gray has become one of the best pitchers in the MLB as he had 14 wins and a 2.73 ERA last season. He is the clear number 1 starter for the Athletics, but the issue is that they have a mess of a rotation behind him. Newly signed Rich Hill will be the number 2 guy and he has a 4.54 career ERA at age 36. The Athletics bullpen should be the strength of the team with Ryan Madson, John Axford, and Sean Doolittle as the late inning options, yet the issue for Oakland is if the starters will be able to get to those guys successfully. I’m unsure which direction the Athletics are heading, but besides Sonny Gray there really isn’t much talent on this roster and it’s hard to see them competing in 2016.

Prediction: 5th place in the AL West

Seattle Mariners – 2015 Record: 76-86

Notable offseason additions:

SP Wade Miley(From Boston), RP Steve Cishek(From St. Louis), OF Norichika Aoki(From San Francisco), RP Joaquin Benoit(From San Diego), 1B Adam Lind(From Milwaukee), C Chris Iannetta(From Los Angeles Angels), and SP Nathan Karns(From Tampa Bay)

Notable offseason subtractions:

OF Mark Trumbo(To Baltimore), SS Brad Miller(To Tampa Bay), 1B Logan Morrison(To Tampa Bay), RP Tom Wilhelmsen(To Texas)

Analysis: Perhaps no team was busier than the Seattle Mariners this offseason as they look to improve upon a disappointing 2015 season. The Main key for the Mariners in 2016 will be getting 2nd basemen Robinson Cano back to superstar form. Cano struggled last season, but in spring training he has looked a lot better. Nelson Cruz basically carried Seattle’s offense by himself last season and he is expected to be the main guy to do so again this season. Kyle Seager and Adam Lind should also provide a lot of power in the middle of the lineup as well. The Mariners rotation figures to be very good as they are still led by Felix Hernandez, but they also added quality depth this offseason with Wade Miley and Nathan Karns. Seattle also tried to improve their bullpen with the additions of Joaquin Benoit, Joel Peralta, and Steve Cishek. However, I’m not sold that those guys will be consistent in the late innings. I expect the Mariners offense to be very good this season especially if Cano can become the player that he used to be and the starting pitching is good enough to basically stop any offense.

Prediction: 3rd place in the AL West

Texas Rangers – 2015 Record: 88-74

Notable offseason additions:

RP Tom Wilhelmsen(From Seattle) and SS Ian Desmond(From Washington)

Notable offseason subtractions:

SP Yovani Gallardo(To Baltimore) and 1B Mike Napoli(To Cleveland)

Analysis: The Rangers lineup was what carried the team last season and expect it to be the same way this year. Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, and Shin-Soo Choo all should carry the load as long as they can stay healthy. Add in the power of newly acquired left fielder Ian Desmond and this offense should be one of the best in the league. Meanwhile, the Rangers struggled with their starting pitching mostly because of the large amounts of injuries that they had. Cole Hamels should be a good number 1 starter for Texas and as long as the other guys in the rotation stay healthy then their pitching should be much improved. The bullpen is looking like a weakness for Texas as Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson aren’t very consistent late inning options. Shawn Tolleson should be a decent closer, but having a weak bullpen could negatively impact Texas. As long as the key position players for Texas can stay healthy then this team should be very good and if some starting pitcher besides Cole Hamels can step up then this team could be the top team in the AL West.

Prediction: 2nd place in the AL West

jose altuve


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