As part of our ongoing week of baseball coverage, this is the latest preview for the American League West, listed in order of where I think teams place by October.
2015 record: 86-76 (Second in AL West – Wild Card game winners, lost to Royals in ALDS, 3-2)
Key Acquisitions: Doug Fisher.
Key Losses: Chris Carter.
W2W4: Remember the time when the Astros were the laughing stock of the league, and constantly finishing last? Remember when they were bought and the league had them switch over from the NL to the AL? It’s amazing how far the franchise has come from it’s recent slump, and look for things to stay that way for 2016. With reigning Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel to go along with the most exciting 5-tool shortstop the game has seen since a fellow named Alex Rodriguez in Carlos Correa, the recipe for success is there. Houston also brought in Doug Fister and the team has some great players including Jose Altuve. If everything plays out the way they should with this core group of talent, they should be AL West champs in the season’s final weeks.
2015 record: 88-74 (First in AL West – Lost to Blue Jays in ALDS, 3-2)
Key losses: Mike Napoli.
W2W4: Texas may have been the other biggest surprise to come out of baseball last season. Getting contributions from reigning AL Comeback Player of the Year, Prince Fielder and having arguably the best third baseman to play the game in the last 20 years (Sorry Chipper) with a pitching staff that was missing Yu Darvish, and things are looking even more promising for Texas. Look for them to stay in contention for division title going into the last weeks of the season.
Los Angeles Angels
2015 record: 85-77 (Third in AL West)
Key acquisitions: Andrelton Simmons.
Key losses: Erick Aybar, David Freese, Matt Joyce.
W2W4: The Angels have been playing well under their expectations for the past few seasons. Having one of the best players the game has ever seen in Albert Pujols go along with the most exciting player to watch, Mike Trout, the team hasn’t been able to keep up with the rest of the American League. Andrelton Simmons is going to make the infield a lot better with the slick glove of his, but don’t look for him to help put the team into the playoffs.
2015 record: 76-86 (Fourth in AL West)
Key acquisitions: Joel Peralta, Wade Miley, Nori Aoki, Adam Lind.
Key losses: Brad Miller, Danny Farquhar.
W2W4: Hard to believe that a team that has as much pitching talent as Seattle struggles so mightily to stay in a playoff race. However, that’s the case for the slumping Mariners who are led by Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz. Just when things look promising, they can’t live up to them, or they come crashing down fast with injuries. Hard to imagine things will be looking up even with the promising talent they have on the roster. But even through their struggles, they at least get to see the franchises first ever hall of fame player “inductkid” this summer. Congrats Junior.
2015 record: 68-94 (Fifth in AL West)
Key acquisitions:Ryan Madson, Yonder Alonso, Jed Lowrie, Kris Davis.
Key losses:Brett Lawrie.
W2W4: Billy Beane always attempts to make things interesting in Oakland by getting the best talent for his “moneyball” system without having to spend the money the franchise doesn’t have. He succeeds. However, it looks like some dark days are ahead, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a surprise up their sleeves. I’m not saying their a playoff team by any stretch of the imagination, but if anything were to even go unpredictable in baseball, look no further than the American League West. Win or lose, the A’s are still a fun and interesting team to follow.