An AL West Preview–Halos Have the Crown

angels_clinch_al_westThere are three playoff capable teams in the AL West on paper, with the Angels, in my opinion, as the clear front-runner to take the division. No one can deny that Los Angeles will put up some serious power numbers. A lineup that includes Trout, Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo will be absolutely devastating to opposing pitchers and could potentially put the ball out of the park at a historic rate. Let’s not forget that their pitching staff has a much-improved bullpen from last year and they have solidified their closer as soon as Ryan Madson gets back to full health. Don’t be surprised if this team surpasses 95 wins.

Up next, we have the Oakland Athletics, who under the leadership of Billy Beane have done incredibly well considering the limited resources that the organization has to work with. The A’s have managed to upgrade their roster with the addition of Chris Young, a player with great potential but lacking consistency to perform at a high level. I expect a little regression from the A’s young but talented pitching staff, especially as the league learns how to exploit their weaknesses, but overall I see them competing with the Halos.

The Rangers will battle for third place in this division and I mainly base this argument off of the fact that they lost two HUGE pieces of their teams that went to the World Series. We all know what Hamilton did, but you can’t underestimate the loss of leadership that Michael Young brought to the table and what it will do to this ball club.  Chemistry is vital during the ebbs and flows of the season and teams need a veteran presence to push them along during the dog days. Additionally, there are too many questions marks with the pitching staff for me to have them compete with the Angels – even if Yu Darvish does morph into a true top of the line starter.

The wild card in this division is Seattle. The Mariners have been absolutely demolishing the ball in the Cactus league and there is no doubt that the front office has upgraded it’s lineup. There is enough young talent on both sides of the ball that, if taken a collective step forward, will surprise a lot of people. The hope is that their new acquisitions and emerging players will all have the potential to be above average ball players and Seattle is looking to build a contender around them. Don’t forget about that guy named Felix Hernandez.

And now for the Astros. Two words; Bottom-dwellers.

As always, let me know what you think! Leave your comments and questions below.  If it just cant wait, find me on Twitter @ JCConway1.

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