Every season Major League Baseball has new players that emerge as x-factors for their teams. This article will examine the potential x-factors for the AL West.
HOUSTON ASTROS X-FACTOR: JEREMY PEÑA
The reigning World Series MVP, Jeremy Peña, cemented himself among the best shortstops with his postseason performance. Not much was expected when the Astros announced that the rookie would be taking over for the departing Carlos Correa. And early struggles seemed to suggest that Peña was overwhelmed. However, after reassurance from his manager, Dusty Baker, Peña went off. Jeremy Peña may not be the most significant impact bat in the Astros lineup. But his presence changes the threat level of the already dangerous Houston Astros.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM X-FACTOR: MIKE TROUT
For the Los Angeles Angels, the 2023 season is pivotal for the franchise. The recent news that the Moreno family will retain ownership in the organization is a curious development. For the Angels, the onfield success relies on one man, Mike Trout. More specifically, the x-factor for the Angels is the health of Mike Trout. A healthy Trout paired with Shohei Ohtani can make the Angels a relevant team in the competition for the AL West crown.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS X-FACTOR: SHEA LANGELIERS
The Oakland Athletics are a bottom-tiered organization, and that’s putting it mildly. There have been many all-stars and MVPs that have come through the A’s organization. However, the A’s haven’t run their organization as well as they have their player development. For the 2023 season, the Oakland A’s x-factor is Shea Langeliers. Langeliers was the prized acquisition from the Braves in the Matt Olson deal. If the A’s are going to start rebuilding their value, it’s going to start with Shea Langeliers.
SEATTLE MARINERS X-FACTOR: TEOSCAR HERNANDEZ
In 2022 the Seattle Mariners ended the longest active postseason drought in the four major North American sports leagues. Seattle then doubled down on their efforts to head back to the postseason with the acquisition of Teoscar Hernandez. Hernandez will add another impact bat in the middle of the Mariners’ order. Teoscar will help the M’s compete with the Houston Astros making “Teo” the Mariners’ x-factor.
TEXAS RANGERS X-FACTOR: JACOB DEGROM
The baseball world was shocked when Jacob deGrom signed his five-year deal with the Texas Rangers. It was a surprising move, but only the beginning of the Rangers revamping their rotation. Over the past few seasons, Jacob hasn’t been the picture boy of health. And it’s with deGrom that the Rangers’ hope for success in 2023 will rely upon, making him the Rangers’ x-factor.