When considering the powerhouses in the East and Central, the West looks to be the weakest division in the American League in 2014.
But, mediocrity does not have to lack competition, and the AL West will feature a four-team race for the division for sure. The only sure thing is the Houston Astros will firmly keep their hold of the division’s basement.
Here is my prediction of how the AL West will look at the end of the 2014 season:2014 AL West Perdicitions
|Los Angeles Angels||86||76|
Oakland Athletics – The A’s won 96 games in 2013, so it would be stupid to bet against them in 2014. The A’s boost a legit young pitching staff, and a good bullpen that will turn great in May when Eric O’Flaherty returns. The offense can hit too with four players smacking 22+ homers last season. Plus the A’s have depth to withstand inevitable minor injuries. While Oakland doesn’t stand out in one particular area, they also don’t stink in one either. But the key to the A’s is they know how to win, and that is the point right? Welcome to Moneyball.Mike Blowers, Brendan Ryan, Mike Carp, Hisashi Iwakuma, Allen Turner (Photo credit: Frank Fujimoto)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – The solution is simple, Josh Hamilton and Albert Puljos have to produce, as Mike Trout cannot win by himself. So the big bats of the two veteran stars have to be solid and stay healthy. The starting pitching and bullpen are good to go. April has been the Halos demise the last two years, so coming into the season hot is key. Also, signing Raul Ibanez’s clutch bat will come in handy.
Seattle Mariners – Robbie Cano cannot carry this team offensively, but the Mariners didn’t add any legit bats to help him out. As surrounding their new prize with guys like Corey Hart, John Buck and Logan Morrison is not going to cut it. The M’s did seal up the ninth inning when they inked closer Fernando Rodney, who is superb. And yes, Seattle is the home to pitching duo King Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma, but Iwakuma is out till mid-May at the earliest. Losing a key piece like Iwakuma for any amount of time will put the M’s in a hole. And my guess it they will not be able to dig out at least not this year.
Texas Rangers – Even with the additions of Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo, the Rangers did not do enough. Starting a back-up catcher regularly and not having a legit closer might be their demise. The Rangers have a solid 1-2-3 in Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez, but Harrison is having back issues already. And being sans Derek Holland for the first half of the season, they need Harrison healthy. Overall Texas fell short in 2013, and nothing this off-season has convinced me the Rangers are better than the Angels or A’s.
Houston Astros - Stinking has led to high draft picks, and in turn has loaded the Astros farm system. Houston won’t know for a few years if any of these top prospects are Major League stars yet, but keep an eye on this team’s development.