Spring training is approaching soon as each team is gearing up for a potential run at a World Series title. As we wait for the season to begin, it’s never too early to make predictions. This is the case with our “Way Too Early AL West Predictions.”
Who will win the West this season? Will the Astros win their sixth division title in seven years, or will another team dethrone the champions? Here’s a look.
5. Oakland Athletics
The Oakland A’s are entering the 2023 season in what looks to be their second year of a rebuilding phase after what seemed to be a promising 2020 season for the club. Oakland’s offseason so far hasn’t been as great as they would have hoped, seeing some familiar faces depart and not doing much to reload in the free agency market.
Oakland’s offseason moves so far include:
Departures: Adam Kolarek, Luis Barrera, Sean Murphy, William Contreras, Justin Yeager, Joel Payamps, and Jeff Criswell.
Acquisitions: Aledmys Diaz, Jace Peterson, Trevor May, Deolis Guerra, and Drew Rucinski.
The Athletics also acquired lots of young prospects via trades, which will help in the rebuild process. Oakland has the potential to be a great team in the coming years; ownership is the only thing holding them back, however.
With the team’s stadium issues still up in the air regarding a possible move and ownership’s unwillingness to spend in free agency, the Athletics rebuild phase may last longer than expected.
Oakland, although finishing last season 60-102, did show some promise throughout the season, but with how the rest of the division improved their squads, Oakland should have a tough time competing in the West.
4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Last season was a bit of a heartbreaker for Angels fans, who watched their team go from leading their division in the early part of the season to not even making the postseason and finishing third in the AL West with a record of 73-89.
It’s been a rough few years for the Angels, who have a star-studded lineup that consists of two former American League MVPs, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani. The Angels have been riddled with injuries over the past few seasons, and on top of that have an inconsistent pitching staff that has cost the Halos some games.
The offseason transactions so far for the Angels include:
Departures: Kurt Suzuki, Michael Lorenzen, Matt Duffy, Archie Bradley, Alejandro Hidalgo, Janson Junk, Elvis Peguero, Adam Seminaris
Additions: Gio Urshela, Hunter Renfroe, Carlos Estevez, Justin Garza, Brandon Drury, Brett Phillips.
This will be newly promoted manager Phil Nevin‘s first full season at the helm after Los Angeles fired former manager Joe Maddon after a gruesome 12-game skid that started the Halos’ downfall last season.
If Los Angeles can stay healthy this season, they have a chance of sneaking into the playoffs; however, their pitching will determine just how far they go, as dual-threat Shohei Ohtani can’t do it all himself.
3. Texas Rangers
It’s been quite the offseason for the Rangers, who have made a big splash this offseason in the pitching market, signing former National League Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom, as well as acquiring Andrew Heaney, Jake Odorizzi, Nathan Eovaldi, and re-signing Martin Perez to help bolster their new rotation.
The Rangers have a good offense that features a young star in outfielder Adolis Garcia, but their pitching has held them back in recent years due to injuries. If the rotation stays healthy, the Rangers can reach the postseason for the first time since 2016.
The Rangers transactions this offseason include:
Departures: Kole Calhoun, Matt Moore, Charlie Culberson, Kolby Allard, Nick Solak.
Acquisitions: Jacob DeGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, Jake Odorizzi, Martin Perez, Yoshi Tsutsugo.
The Rangers biggest weakness last season was their pitching; this offseason, they went all in on improving their pitching staff. As it stands right now, the starting rotation has the potential to be one of the best in baseball, but only time will tell.
Like other teams, injuries determine how far the Rangers go this season. The Rangers hired a new manager Bruce Bochy, who last managed in 2019. Bochy managed the San Diego Padres for 12 years and the San Francisco Giants for 13 years, during which he won three world series with the Giants in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
2. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners had quite a successful 2022 season, ending their 20-year playoff drought and winning their first playoff series in as many years. Seattle’s playoff run didn’t end as they hoped, as they were swept in the American League division series in three games by rival Houston Astros.
The Mariners have been trending upwards since 2021 and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Seattle hasn’t done much this offseason, but they have made some good moves for their defense; here’s a look:
Departures: Kyle Lewis, Erik Swanson, Adam Mako, Jesse Winker, Abraham Toro, Matt Boyd, Curt Casali, Mitch Haniger, Carlos Santana.
Acquisitions: Teoscar Hernandez, Cooper Hummel, Trevor Gott, Kolten Wong, A.J Pollock, Tommy La Stella,
The Mariners have the potential to make the postseason again this season and perhaps go even further than the ALDS. Seattle has the best chance to dethrone Houston for the AL West crown, but the only problem Seattle has is their pitching. Despite adding one of the best pitchers in the game last season, Luis Castillo, Seattle’s pitching might hold them back.
1. Houston Astros
The Houston Astros haven’t done much this offseason, but they didn’t have to. The defending champs entered the offseason only needing a first-baseman and left fielder, and they were able to accomplish both. The Astros even lost the reigning Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander but still have one of the better-starting rotations in baseball.
Departures: Justin Verlander, Yuli Gurriel, Christian Vasquez, Trey Mancini
Acquisitions: Jose Abreu, Rafael Montero(re-signed), Michael Brantley (re-signed).
The few moves that the Astros did make were very beneficial. Jose Abreu joins the club on a three-year deal, adding more firepower to an already stacked lineup. Michael Brantley returned to the team on a one-year deal to help with the outfield, and Rafael Montero returned to retain his spot in a dominant bullpen.
The Astros should have no problem winning the AL West again this season. Houston has a young starting rotation that will continue to get better alongside a relatively young lineup that has the power to win the West.
Who do you think will win the AL west? Let us know in the comments below!
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