American League West Predictions
The American League West division was one of the most thrilling in baseball in 2012. The Oakland A’s roared to a 33-13 finish after August 15th to capture the AL West title on the final day of the season with a win over the Texas Rangers. Almost everyone thought that the division would be a battle between the Rangers and Los Angeles Angles coming into the year. That appears to be the consensus once again in 2013 as the A’s and Mariners are getting overlooked. Also, nobody is giving AL West newcomer Houston a shot, and probably for good reason. Here’s a look at how I see the AL West playing out in 2013. I have listed each team’s odds to win the division by their name.
1. Los Angeles Angels (-145) – The Angels were the trendy pick to win the division last year and they settled for third despite a solid 89-win season. They committed over $320 million to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, but neither lived up to expectations. Now, they have gone out and signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $123 million deal this offseason. That assures that Los Angeles will have the most potent lineup in baseball. The rotation adds Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas and Joe Blanton, which should lead to improvement. This is the team to beat in the AL West in 2013.
2. Oakland A’s (+625) – The A’s are arguably the most underrated team in all of baseball. They won 94 games to capture the AL West title, and they return almost all of their key players from a year ago. That’s what makes it mind-boggling that this team isn’t picked to finish in the top two in this division according to the odds. However, that’s just the way that Oakland and general manager Billy Beane like it. There is a lot to like about a lineup that features the underrated trio of Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss. Look for Oakland to once again have one of the best rotations in baseball, especially with the healthy return of Ace Brett Anderson.
3. Texas Rangers (+235) – After back-to-back losses in the World Series in 2010 and ’11, the Rangers’ window of opportunity is slowly slipping away. Gone are Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, leaving some holes in their lineup that cannot be replaced. I do like the additions of A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman, but that’s not going to be enough to make up for the losses. The rotation is just so-so now with Yu Darvish the clear Ace of this staff. I’m also a little concerned with the bullpen. The Rangers fell apart at the end of last season, and I look for that to carry over in 2013.
4. Seattle Mariners (+1550) – The Mariners did add some nice peaces this offseason in Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez. They will definitely score more runs this year, especially considering they moved in the fences at Safeco Field. However, I’m not sold on the rotation aside from Felix Hernandez. The Mariners may be relying on Erasmo Ramirez and Blake Beavan as their No. 4 and No. 5 starters, which means that this will be a sub-par rotation at best in 2013.
5. Houston Astros (+10000) – The Astros have been a sight for sore eyes over the past few seasons. They lost a club-record 107 games last season despite playing in arguably the weakest division in baseball in the NL Central. Things certainly aren’t going to get any easier in 2013 as they shift to a division that features three teams that won 89-plus games a year ago. This is probably the worst lineup in baseball, and the rotation won’t be any better than it was a year ago with the loss of Wandy Rodriquez. It’s never good to have Bud Norris serving as your Ace. Houston will be lucky to avoid losing 100 games again this year.