We simply cannot wait for the new MLB season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first pitch. If you are like us and love the MLB, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the AL West and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
The reigning World Series champions, the Houston Astros, advanced to their sixth consecutive American League Championship Series in 2022. The Astros rolled to 106 wins, the second-highest total in franchise history, and captured their fifth AL West title in six seasons. Justin Verlander, Trey Mancini, Yuli Gurriel, Aledmys Díaz, and Christian Vázquez departed via free agency.
Free agent first baseman Jose Abreu inked a three-year, $58.5 million contract, and outfielder Michael Brantley was re-signed on a one-year, $12 million deal. Designated hitter/ outfielder Yordan Alvarez enjoyed a banner campaign with a team-high .306 batting mark and 37 home runs. Outfielder Kyle Tucker slugged 30 long balls and led the Astros with 107 RBIs, while infielders Jose Altuve (28), Alex Bregman (23), and Jeremy Pena (22) combined to hit 73 dingers.
Can confirm. https://t.co/SvsOkEbiZy
— Houston Astros (@astros) March 20, 2023
Left-hander Framber Valdez will anchor the starting rotation after posting a 17-6 record with a 2.82 ERA and 194 strikeouts a year ago. Luis Garcia went 15-8 with 157 strikeouts over 157.1 innings, and Christian Javier finished with an 11-9 card, 2.54 ERA, and 194 strikeouts.
Righty Lance McCullers Jr. missed the first four months of the season but had a 13–5 record with a 3.16 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 2021. Relievers Ryan Pressly and Rafael Montero are the bullpen aces and tallied 33 and 14 saves, respectively, last season.
Houston boasted one of the league’s top offensive units and finished eighth in 2022 with 737 runs. The Astros also have a bevy of talented, young pitchers and should continue to flourish despite the departure of Verlander. Dusty Baker’s squad is the favorite to win back-to-back World Series titles if their vast collection of stars can remain healthy.
Los Angeles Angels
Injuries to key players derailed the playoff hopes of the 2022 Los Angeles Angels, whose lackluster play led to the dismissal of manager Joe Maddon in June. Free agent pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen were not re-signed. The Angels finished third in the division and suffered their seventh straight season with a losing record.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon missed 115 games, while outfielder Mike Trout (43) and first baseman Jared Walsh (44) were out of the lineup for a combined 87 games. Trout still hit .282 with 40 home runs, and two-way standout Shohei Ohtani smacked 34 home runs while leading the team with 95 RBIs. Outfielder Taylor Ward enjoyed a breakout campaign with a .281 batting mark and 23 long balls. The Angels also added free agents Hunter Renfroe, Gio Urshela, and Brandon Drury.
Taking on the Reds in Goodyear 🌵
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 20, 2023
Ohtani is the staff ace and spun a 15-9 record with 219 strikeouts and a 2.33 ERA in 2022. Free-agent southpaw Tyler Anderson inked a three-year, $39 million deal after posting a 15-5 card with a 2.57 ERA last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Free-agent relievers Matt Moore and Carlos Estevez were signed to bolster the bullpen. Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, and Jose Suarez will also battle for rotation spots.
The Angels have added much-needed depth to a lineup decimated by injuries the past few seasons. If they remain healthy, Trout, Ohtani, Walsh, Rendon, and Ward form a strong nucleus. The pitching staff should be improved this season, but the AL West has gotten stronger, and the Angels are poised to miss the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
The Oakland Athletics are amid a slow rebuild and are projected to be among the worst teams in the major leagues in 2023. The Athletics finished in the division’s basement and suffered their first 100-loss season since 1979. Manager Bob Melvin departed for greener pastures with the San Diego Padres and was replaced by Mark Kotsay.
First baseman Seth Brown belted a career-high 25 homers and 73 RBIs last year and will be the main cog in a mediocre offensive lineup. Outfielder Ramon Laureano hit just .211 in 94 games, and free-agent infielder Jace Peterson batted .236 with eight home runs in 2022 for the Milwaukee Brewers. Other notable additions include utility man Aledmys Diaz, designated hitter Jesus Aguilar, and outfielder Esteury Ruiz.
No game today, just vibes ✌️ pic.twitter.com/vkPH8d8Ght
— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) March 20, 2023
The Athletics signed a pair of Asian league hurlers to bolster a young pitching staff. Japanese right-hander Shintaro Fujinami is a three-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star, and Drew Rucinski returns to the big leagues after two productive seasons in South Korea.
Paul Blackburn, James Kapriellan, and lefty Ken Waldichuk round out the starting rotation. Projected closer Dany Jimenez racked up 11 saves a year ago with 34 strikeouts over 34.1 frames.
Oakland will not be too competitive in 2023 and will struggle to match last season’s 60-win total in a rugged AL West division. The Athletics will lose more than 100 games for the second straight season but will be rewarded top selections in this year’s MLB Draft.
The 2022 Seattle Mariners ended North American history’s longest major professional sports postseason drought by clinching their first playoff berth in 21 years. The Mariners finished second in the AL West and knocked off the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card Series before losing to the Houston Astros in the Division Series.
AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez led the team with a .284 batting mark while swatting 28 homers and collecting 75 RBIs. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez hit a team-high 31 long balls with 87 RBIs, and first baseman Ty France added 20 home runs while knocking home 84 runs. Seattle acquired outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the Toronto Blue Jays and signed free-agent hitters Kolten Wong, A.J. Pollock, Tommy La Stella, and Dylan Moore.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) March 20, 2023
Two-time All-Star Luis Castillo headlines a starting rotation oozing with potential. The right-hander boasted a 3.19 ERA over 11 starts after being traded to the Mariners in late July. Logan Gilbert posted a 13-6 record with a 3.20 ERA and 174 strikeouts, while left-hander Robbie Ray went 12-12 with a 3.71 ERA and a team-high 212 strikeouts. George Kirby and southpaw Marco Gonzales will form the back end of the rotation. Closer Paul Sewald paced the bullpen with 20 saves last season.
The Mariners will be hard-pressed to challenge the Houston Astros for the division title but should be in contention for a Wild Card spot. Seattle will continue their fantastic turnaround and clinch a playoff berth for the second straight year.
The 2023 Texas Rangers will open the season with high expectations after hiring veteran skipper Bruce Bochy and making several free-agent additions for the second straight offseason. The Rangers finished fourth in the division and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
First baseman Nathaniel Lowe batted a team-high .302 while smacking 27 homers and driving in 76 runs. Shortstop Corey Seager led the team with 33 long balls, and outfielder Adolis Garcia slugged 27 home runs and collected a team-best 101 RBIs. Second baseman Marcus Semien added 26 dingers, and catcher Jonah Heim tallied 16 homers. Top prospect Josh Jung will get first crack at being the everyday third baseman.
Rangers lineup for March 20 vs. Cleveland.
Today’s game will air live on Bally Sports Southwest Extra and 105.3 The Fan. pic.twitter.com/OQtglLzpG5
— Texas Rangers PR (@TXRangersPR) March 20, 2023
A revamped starting rotation will be led by free-agent Jacob deGrom, who inked a five-year, $185 million deal. The right-hander went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 64.1 innings. Southpaw Martin Perez posted a 12-8 record with a 2.89 ERA, and Jon Gray compiled a 7-7 card with a 3.96 ERA. Texas also added free agents Nathan Eovaldi (6-3, 3.87) and Andrew Heany (4-4, 3.10). Joe Barlow led the team with 13 saves, while Jose Leclerc saved seven games a year ago.
The Rangers should be a much-improved squad this season, but the health of deGrom will determine if Texas contends for a Wild Card spot. The arrival of Bochy is a significant upgrade over former manager Chris Woodward, and the Rangers have a shot at making the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
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