2k13 divisiOnal preview – AL West

Every year there’s a surprise team or two that whips its conventional-favorite division rivals and takes Tim McCarver by surprise. There’s a team like that in this division. It’s Oakland. Or they’ll finish last.

Houston Astros - They remind me of the Marlins. Bad but not Mets bad. They have some power potential in Chris Carter and Brett Wallace to go along with Carlos Pena. Maybe if Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris can improve a little they can cut into that horrible 107 losses from 2012. You don’t have to bat any more, guys! (Well most of the time anyway.) It’s kind of hard to tell if their new home in the American League is tougher or easier. Probably a little tougher. Can Jose Altuve find some company at this year’s All-Star game? Don’t get crazy now!

Los Angeles Angels - They’ve gone on a Dodger-like spending spree, albeit over the last two full years. They have power and speed on offense and they added a closer, the surgically reconstructed long-time Phillie Ryan Madson, and basically have two closers. Guess if I had to nitpick it would be with the starting staff. I know Jered Weaver puts up great numbers but I’m not a believer, really. That’s my problem. But I’m not a believer in the back of their rote either. That’s their problem! Is manager Mike Scioscia vulnerable if they underperform again?

Oakland As - Who’s this kid A.J. Griffin? Is he good? Picked in the 13th round, went 7-1 with a 3.06 in 15 starts last year as a rookie. Now he’s in the rotation. That’s how Oakland rolls, and that’s why they’re so hard to pin down.¬†Oakland always mystifies me. I just think that ballpark out there bamboozles every other team. If they ever move they’ll be the Twins. Their outfield reminds me of Oz: great and powerful. They look like a solid young group and I think they outpace their star-studded rivals.

Seattle Mariners - After 2012, in which they were the only team in the AL to score less than four runs per game, they went out in search of offense. So they traded for Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales and are hoping for 30 dongs from each of those guys. They also did right by Felix Hernandez, paying him way too much money to keep him in Seattle. Young¬† Brandon Maurer is having a nice spring, will he make the big club? He just wants to contribute, realize that dream. He just wants to do whatever’s necessary.

Texas Rangers - A major part of the core of the last few great Texas teams — Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young — departed in the Great Shark Hunt we call free agency. But Rangers fans should be excited to see what Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry, both Rangers draftees, can do in bigger roles. The core of their pitching staff remains intact. They might actually be better for the aforementioned subtractions. Can they succeed in moving Alexi Ogando and Robbie Ross into the back of the starting rotation? Is Yu Darvish healthy?

Predicted Order of Finish
As
Rangers *
Angels *
Mariners
Astros

* wild card mix

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