2013 American League West Preview
1.Anaheim Angels– After adding perennial MVP candidate Albert Pujols, the Angels were poised to win it all in 2012. But after a slow start where the team went 9-15 in April, the hole was just too large to overcome with the Rangers and upstart A’s in the same division. They still won a respectable 89 games led by 20-year-old Mike Trout’s unbelievable season. Coming into 2013, they got even more talented, adding another marquee free agent in Josh Hamilton. This team is just plain too good not to win the AL West outright.
2.Oakland A’s– Last year’s “they came out of nowhere” team, the Oakland A’s won the AL West outright on the last day of the season. How did they do it? Well, they got a lot of contributions from unknown commodities. Reliever Ryan Cook had an all-star season. Outfielder Josh Reddick hit 32 home runs. Brandon Moss added 21 home runs in only 265 at-bats. The list goes on and on. With GM Billy Beane making all the right moves and a starting rotation that was second in the AL in ERA (3.48) in 2012, the A’s will have plenty of talent again to make a run at a wild-card spot in 2013.
3.Texas Rangers– The class of the American League the past three years—two of which ended in World Series defeats—the Rangers don’t look to be as strong in 2013. Franchise mainstay Michael Young is gone, Josh Hamilton is gone, and Mike Napoli is gone. Yu Darvish had an encouraging 2012 (16-9, 3.90) in his debut season and the starting staff and Joe Nathan closing games will fair just fine. Make no mistake, the Rangers will be competitive, but unless free agent signee Lance Berkman finds the fountain of youth, scoring runs will be a little more difficult for the Rangers in 2013.
4.Seattle Mariners– The Seattle Mariners had a rough 2012, especially from the batter’s box. They were dead last in the American League in batting average (.234) and runs per game (3.8). The solution for a better offensive squad. Move in the fences. Safeco field might be a little less of a pitcher’s park this year with the shrunken dimensions, and the signings of Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, and Jason Bay will help, but the Mariners will most likely not be an offensive juggernaut (or a contender for that matter) in 2013.
5.Houston Astros– Major League Baseball was apparently tired of the 16/14 NL to AL split, moving the Astros to the American League for the 2013 season. Problem is, the Astros weren’t fit to survive in the NL, let alone the AL. There’s a good chance your above-average baseball fan can’t name three players on their 25 man roster. Needless to say, anything less than 100 losses for the Stros’ in 2013 will be a win for their franchise.