AL West Preview

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 Houston Astros: 2013: 51-111, fifth place in AL West
Manager: Bo Porter (second season)
Key additions: Dexter Fowler, Scott Feldman, Jesse Crain, Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Jesus Guzman, Jerome Williams, Anthony Bass
Key losses: Brandon Barnes, Jordan Lyles, Erik Bedard, Brett Wallace
The Astros had their third straight 100 Loss season, but they have made some good improvements to make sure they don’t have a fourth straight 100 loss season. Scott Feldman was paid $30 Million for 3 seasons in the offseason & will be the opening day starter vs. the Yankees, Dexter Fowler will help at the top of the Astros lineup. Houston could still be in last place, but I think 100 losses will be hard to get at this season.
 LA Angels: 2013: 78-84, third in AL West
Manager: Mike Scioscia (15th season)
Key additions: David Freese, Raul Ibanez, Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs, Joe Smith
Key losses: Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos, Jason Vargas, Jerome Williams
Will the real Albert Pujols & Josh Hamilton please show up in 2014? The Angels were a sound disappointment in 2013, can they respond with solid pitching after Weaver & Wilson? Mike Scioscia escaped last season with his job in Southern Cal, I am not sure if he can get his 16th season with the Angels with the same results that happened in 2013.
 Oakland Athletics: 2013: 96-66, first in AL West (Lost to Tigers in ALDS)
Manager: Bob Melvin (fourth season)
Key additions: Jim Johnson, Scott Kazmir, Luke Gregerson, Nick Punto
Key losses: Bartolo Colon, Grant Balfour, Craig Gentry
The A’s will be using good defense, good pitching & timely hitting to pin opponents down in 2014 like they have to hold off teams to win the AL West the last 2 seasons. I think the A’s could have one of the best bullpens in baseball, the young pitching rotation will continue to grow also and make an impact.
 Seattle Mariners: 2013: 71-91, fourth place in AL West
Manager: Lloyd McClendon (first season)
Key additions: Robinson Cano, Fernando Rodney, Corey Hart, John Buck, Logan Morrison, Willie Bloomquist, Joe Beimel, Cole Gillespie
Key losses: Raul Ibanez, Carter Capps, Kendrys Morales, Joe Saunders, Brendan Ryan
The Mariners made some of the loudest changes in the offseason, maybe winning Hot Stove League for 2013-2014, but will it equal a move in the standings? Lloyd McClendon in his 1st season will also have to deal with Hisashi Iwakusma & Top Prospect Taijaun Walker who could start the season on the DL. The Mariners will be better, but can they return to the postseason in with King Felix Hernandez era for the 1st time in his career?
 Texas Rangers: 2013: 91-72, second place in AL West (Lost tiebreaker game to Rays)
Manager: Ron Washington (eighth season)
Key additions: Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Choice, J.P. Arencibia
Key losses: Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Joe Nathan, Matt Garza, A.J. Pierzynski, Craig Gentry, Lance Berkman, Josh Lindblom
Offseason injuries have not been kind for the Rangers, C Geovany Soto, 2B Jurickson Profar, Pitchers Derek Holland, Matt Harrison & also Yu Darvish could be heading to the DL since he was scratched from his Opening day start vs. the Phillies. Joakim Soria has replaced Joe Nathan as the Rangers closer, with Neftali Feliz going back to Triple A, the Rangers have to overcome earlier challenges to be rewarded late this season,  the Big Prince & Soo Choo Train will keep the Rangers in games, but can they overcome injuries & starting pitching to win which has improved (Joe Saunders, Tanner Scheppers) but it still could not be enough?
 My Order of Finish:
1. A’s
2. Rangers
3. Mariners
4. Angels
5. Astros
I’ll return with my Postseason Picks, plus AL & NL CY Young plus MVP for both leagues.



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