For a division that made headline moves over the off-season and seemed to have a lot of potential coming into the season, things have started to shape up. The AL West has belonged to the Astros for quite some time now, and coming into things, it looked like this could be the year we see a change. Now 56 games into the season, we may have a better understanding of how things may go for the rest of the season. Let’s break things down by team.
Los Angeles Angels
Perhaps the most exciting team to watch in baseball, the Angels have continuously failed to field a contender behind Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Things seemed to be coming together this season, as the Angels got off to a blistering 24-13 start, and even found themselves with a steady lead in the division. They were getting solid results from their starting pitchers, and fast starts from Mike Trout and Taylor Ward gave the team and its fans real hopes for the season. Since then, however, things have not been going so well. The team now sits at 27-25 and is currently stuck in an eight-game losing streak, now sitting at 6.5 games back in the division. There is still plenty of time for the Angels to figure things out, however, it appears this may not be the season fans were hoping to see from the Angels.
For the last several years, the Astros have owned the AL West. In the very early stages of the season, it appeared things might change, however, it looks as if the division is theirs to lose. The Astros currently sit at 33-18, 6.5 games ahead of the second-place Angels. Things seem to be clicking for the reigning division champions, even with some notable losses. After star shortstop Carlos Correa departed to Minnesota via free agency, some fans may have been worried, however, rookie Jeremy Peña seems to be filling in just fine. On top of that, the club has been getting promising results from key players such as Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, and possible comeback player of the year candidate Justin Verlander. It seems that the Astros are not going anywhere, and the recent extension of Alvarez proves the Astros have no plans to do so in the near future.
After a full-blown rebuild this off-season, there was no hype surrounding the A’s. Many predictions had them sitting last in the division, and early indications have followed expectations. The A’s currently sit on a 20-33 record, which places them last in the division and 14 games back of the first-place Astros. We have seen Oakland’s rebuilds work out well in the past, so fans could hope for that, as a potential Frankie Montas trade this summer could add to it. Oakland seems to be a safe bet for fifth in the division.
Seattle was busy this off-season, and by doing so generated a lot of hype for what the team could do this year. They made some notable trades, picking up Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez, and Adam Frazier. Fans surely were also excited about signing reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. As exciting as these additions were, most of the production has come from the pieces Seattle already owned. Julio Rodriguez, J.P. Crawford, and Logan Gilbert have all stepped up in big ways, and appear to give Mariner fans something to be excited about for the long term. The team likely hoped for more production from former top prospect Jared Kelenic, as a demotion back to the minors likely was not ideal, however, he has flashed signs of serious potential at times. Things are not going as planned for the Mariners so far, as they currently sit at 22-29, which ranks them fourth in the division and 11 games back of the first-place Astros. This can likely be attributed to some tough injuries and slow starts for a few key players, however, Seattle seems to be in a good spot to compete for years to come and has the potential to get hot and take the division.
Perhaps the most disappointing team this year has been the Texas Rangers. The Rangers made a huge splash this off-season signing high-profile free agents Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to mega deals. These deals were flashy, however, they have not panned out well for the team so far. Semien is currently batting a measly .194/.258/.281, while Seager looks only a little better at .236/.303/.435. These slow starts compiled with so-so pitching(4.19 team era so far) have led the Rangers to disappointing results. The Rangers currently sit third in the division at 24-26 and 8.5 games back of the first-place Astros. It’s too early to tell if these mega deals will pan out for the Rangers, however, early indications have not looked good for the team.
So far, the AL West has been fairly disappointing this season. With the amount of star power in this division, many fans hoped there would be more serious competition, instead, we sit 56 days into the season with only two teams over .500. That being said, early indications point straight to the Astros to hold down the division yet again. The biggest competition seems to come from the Angels, as we have seen flashes of potential, but there is still a lot for them to figure out. The Mariners seem to be serious contenders over the next few years, however, we may have to wait a year or two to see things start coming together. The Rangers have the pieces, however, it may take a few turn-arounds and pitching additions to make them serious contenders. As for the A’s, they may not look great now, however, only time will tell how their rebuild will pan out. This season seems to belong to the Astros yet again, however, competetion is looming and it may not be long before someone knocks them off their throne.
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