In a weekly post, we'll take a look around the AL West — what's happened so far, and what's on tap in the coming days.
1. Texas Rangers — The Rangers aren't the chic pick to win the West, but they're the defending champs and they still have the more well-rounded club, barring injury. The bullpen is loaded with power arms, and as the Royals have taught us anything, it's that an elite bullpen is almost as important, if not moreso, than an elite rotation. The lineup is seasoned and hopes to have full seasons from guys like Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor who were scorching in the second half last season. Oh, and there's a full season of Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish returns.
2. Houston Astros — This is the pick to click for everyone, and it's understandable. They led the AL West for the majority of the 2015 season before the Rangers unexpectedly chased them down in mid-September. They're young, full of up-and-coming prospects, and have the AL Cy Young winner in Dallas Keuchel. Still, though, that bullpen would concern me if I'm an Astros fan.
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3. Seattle Mariners — They were supposed to run away with the West last year, but instead finished fourth. They made some more changes this year and appear to be figuring things out, but the West should still be a two-horse race with the Mariners finishing a distant third.
4. Los Angeles Angels — Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun. That's about all the Angels have as Albert Pujols is banged up and has to regress again after his random bounce-back season last year, right? Even if not, the Angels' pitching staff is a mess.
5. Oakland Athletics — They're in total rebuild mode again, and it's going to be another long season. Not much else to say here.