On MLB.com, there is an article up now about 5 Questions facing each team across each league. (Starting with the AL West and NL East.) So inspired by that idea, I ask one question for each team in the AL West. (In alphabetical order.)
Angels (Los Angles of Anaheim)
Is this finally the Year the Angels Support Mike Trout?
The Angels have had the best player in MLB for the last nine seasons in Mike Trout. The Angels haven’t been able to get the right players around Trout to get them to the postseason. (Outside of the 2014 season.) this off-season, the angels were aggressive after Gerrit Cole. But we’re unable to get the right-hander. The angels within quickly pivot to Anthony Rendon. Adding Rendon to a team with Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Andrelton Simmons puts the Angels in a nice position. But the question must be asked, was it enough?
Will the Real Astros Please Standup?
The Houston Astros are facing a scandal of epic proportions. And because of their sign-stealing have called into question every accomplishment they’ve achieved in recent years. Even their half-hearted apologies at Spring Training camp left a lot to be desired. The ‘Stros were seen as a talented group. But now will have to go out and prove that they sign-stealing wasn’t the entirety of their skillset.
Can Oakland Capitalize on Houston’s Confusion?
The Oakland A’s have been an underdog story for quite some time. Since the days of “Moneyball,” the A’s have been a fascinating club to watch. And over the past few seasons, they’ve become a consistent Wild Card contender. However, they’ve been unable to top the Astros. Now with the scandal and subsequent fallout facing Houston, the time may be now for the Athletics to capitalize. Oakland has a quietly strong ballclub and could easily knock out an Astros team that will have a lot to prove. The A’s are playing with houses’ money right now in the AL West. So is this the year they once again claim the AL West crown?
What are the Mariners doing?
The Seattle Mariners are in the longest active postseason drought in MLB. Seattle hasn’t been to the postseason since 2001. And since GM Jerry DiPoto came into his position with the M’s, he’s made an excessive amount of trades. However, none of the moves have placed the M’s in the postseason hunt. Seattle is in a state of flux and uncertainty. So that leads to the question of what exactly are the Mariners doing?
What are the Rangers doing?
The Texas Rangers are moving into a new ballpark this season. And to their credit, the Rangers attempted to bring in an All-Star to attach to their new home. That mission, however, has gone unaccomplished thus far. Texas finished in third place in the 2019 AL West standings. And they have not done much to add to their club above their 2019 team. If the Rangers are going to compete in 2020, they are going to need to make some moves. But as of this writing, no one knows what the Rangers are doing.
Final Thoughts on the AL West
The 2020 AL West season begins and ends with the Houston Astros. What do I mean? Simply put, the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal has enveloped the sport and namely the AL West. Most accounts still see Houston as the favorites in the AL West. But the Oakland A’s should remain a strong Wild Card candidate. And the LA Angels have improved. The Rangers and Mariners haven’t made significant additions to see them threatening the Astros atop the AL West. The AL West will be an interesting division to watch in 2020. Because all eyes will be on Houston.