Last Year, the AL Champion came out of the West, in the Texas Rangers. This division is the smallest in the league, only with 4 teams. The Rangers, the L.A. Angels, the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics. The Angels were hit with the injury bug when their 1B Kendry Morales was injured...by celebrating a walk off home run, and was out for the remainder of the year. The Athletics are an inexperienced team, hungry for a title, and were rebuilding last year. The Mariners' held steady at the basement of the division. Let's see how this division will pan out this year, in Spedmunds' Eyes.
Pros: The Mariners Don't have much to look at, but they're led by a future Hall of Famer, and a Young Arm hungry for another Cy Young award. Ichiro Suzuki is the best hitter without a doubt, he will get his 200 hits and 30+ Stolen bases, you can bank on that. King Felix Hernandez is the Reigning Defending Cy Young award winner, even with a 13-12 record last year, he was the best pitcher in the league.
Cons: Excluding Ichiro and Hernandez, you ask any casual baseball fan to name another player on the Mariners, and i will be damn impressed if they can name over 3. Hell, if they can name 1, I'd be impressed. The team is a group of unknowns and under-performers. Without a few more solid hitters, and solid starters, this team is going nowhere fast.
Prediction: 62-100, 4th in division
Pros: The Athletics surprised many people by making a 2nd half surge, including myself. This year they could play one of two roles, they could battle the Mariners for the basement of the division, or they could play spoiler for the rest of the league, going around .500, with their good blend of experienced players and newcomers. I think they will hold their own.
Cons: As previously stated, they are an unknown team, they could fall on their face out of the starting gate and never get back up. They don't have a big name in their offense, no big power bat.
Prediction: 75-87, 3rd in division
Pros: The defending AL Champion Texas Rangers come off of a Cinderella story of a year coming just short of the World Series title. Josh Hamilton led the team while battling his own demons of drug and alcohol abuse, clinching the AL MVP. The Rangers have a potent lineup, and now the experience of being in a pennant race.
Cons: The Rangers lost Cliff Lee this off season, and with him gone, it will be an uphill battle for the division. I don't see C.J. Wilson, a former closer, being able to take over the #1 starter position, even though he did so well last year.
Prediction: 83-79, 2nd place
Pros: Where do i start? Their offense is solid top to bottom, when they traded for Vernon Wells, it solidified their spot atop the division. Also, when your #5 starter, Scott Kazmir, is a former #1 starter for another team, even if he has been struggling, is impressive.
Cons: Honestly, the only two that i could think of, and one is a con of many favored teams. They need to stay healthy, and don't get injured while celebrating. The other Con is not really a big one, but i don't have faith in their new closer Fernando Rodney. He needs to be a solid closer for the Angels to have a good run in the playoffs, and i don't see it.
There is my AL West prediction. Next week, is the biggest division of em all, the NL Central. with 6 teams, you never know who will make a run, well...excluding the Pirates anyways. Look for an in depth analysis next week. Until then...
Stay Fresh BUHstudio.