by Chris Camello (@chris_camello)
ANAHEIM, CA — The AL West could certainly be one of the divisions that figures to be one of the more competitive ones this season.
While they have been mired in a scandalous cheating controversy that saw little punishment, the Houston Astros remain a talented team which has the majority of their core intact making them the favorite to win the division.
They have an All-Star lineup with Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel along with George Springer, Michael Brantley, and Yordan Alvarez. If they avoid injury with opposing pitchers throwing at them more, they will light up the scoreboard on most nights.
The rotation took a hit with the departure of ace Gerrit Cole but Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are good enough to anchor the staff and their bullpen has an elite closer in Roberto Osuna.
Despite being a Wild Card team the last two years, the Oakland A’s may get overlooked as a team that could challenge the Astros. Their offense has tremendous talent with MVP finalist Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Khris Davis.
Their rotation will finally be healthy with Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas leading the way and their bullpen always seems to come together.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are hoping new manager Joe Maddon will help them end their playoff drought.
While they missed out on Cole this offseason, they landed All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon to give AL MVP Mike Trout protection in a lineup that includes Albert Pujols and Justin Upton.
The X-factor will be Shohei Ohtani who appears to be healthy enough to be the dual threat the Angels hoped for. Ohtani had a strong year offensively in 2019, but they will need him to be an ace in their rotation which remains questionable despite young talent like Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning. The Angels will have a tough 26 games against the A’s, Astros, and Dodgers this season.
The Texas Rangers have had a potent offense in recent years and the same figures in 2020 led by Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, and Elvis Andrus. Texas also bolstered its rotation adding former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, Jordan Lyles, and Kyle Gibson which could make them a tougher out in the division.
The Seattle Mariners are on pace to go another year without going to the playoffs. Despite solid talent like Daniel Vogelbach, J.P. Crawford, Mitch Hanniger, and Kyle Seager, consistency always seems to be an issue. They have a tendency to start hot and then fade fast. 2020 will be no different.
This division will likely be won by Houston with Oakland and Anaheim being in the mix all year. It’s very likely that all three will still end up in the playoffs under this new expansion making the AL West a fun division to watch this season.