Season Previews – American League West

Okay, so the season’s started but technically there aren’t yet any notches in the AL West column so we’re fine. And hey, we get it, that’ll become more tenuous as the week goes on but guess what, who cares?

Anyway, the AL West…

Houston Astros

Honestly one of the best things about the Astros is that their stud pitcher is named after the major city neighbour of their divisional and cross-state rivals. If Dallas Keuchal doesn’t get a cheap thrill out of that he should take succour from the fact that we do. That and the fact that he is an absolute beast with a sinker/beard which would scare off Genghis Khan.

The whole Astros off-season hasn’t been about Keuchal though but cut with a sense of what’s to come at short-stop. We’ve now entered the era of Correa, with the media rushing from all corners to anoint the giant slugger the AL MVP before a ball is hurled in anger. Whatever, the kid is a once in a generation talent surrounded by other phenoms – George Springer, Jose Altuve, Lance McCullers – the team oozes talent and this is already looking like the makings of a dynasty for Jeff Luhnow and co. Teardowns work kids.

Unlikely, but plausible storyline: Correa makes a first full season 40/40

You’ll be bored by: Correa already being better than your short-stop.

LA Angels off of Anaheim

Speaking of AL MVPs the player of his generation returns this year to hit giant bombs and make unfathomable plays in a garden full of glass and shit. What did Mike Trout do in a past life to deserve his current fate in Anaheim backed by a bunch of decrepit fill ins and powder puff hurlers? Clearly something awful.

Perhaps the Gods have taken issue with his emoji game? They wouldn’t be the first.

Still, at least the farm has some ready riders to come and back the big guy up right? Oh. Oh, right.

Still, Andrelton Simmons and Mike Trout fielding up the middle sounds absolutely glorious – and they’ll need to be backing CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver and Joe Smith. Really, this should be illegal.

Unlikely, but plausible storyline: CJ Wilson scores 4 Ks in a start.

You’ll be bored by: the pain. And the Trout trade storylines.

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp is still here. And that’s a good thing as it stops an obvious reference to his namesake ‘The Clown’ in this tawdry, cynical spume of bile.

What on earth has this A’s off-season been? Who even knows.

Front-office savant Billy Beane appears to have spent the period trying to catch up to a trend rather than set one. The whole winter has been about bullpen arms and the collection of Ryan Madson, Liam Hendricks, Felix Doubront et al to back Sean Doolittle looks wise as, past Sonny Gray their rotation is a whole bunch of question marks.

Marcus Semien remains at short, Billy Butler’s also still there but who even knows with the A’s. They’ll be dead by memorial day and trading Josh Reddick for some spoons (#the latest glitch in the numbers is teaspoons, they just go missing’) or they’ll be all in at the deadline. Either/or.

Unlikely, but plausible storyline: Beane eventually rolls on.

You’ll be bored by: ‘this stadium sheer smells how it looks, Buster’.

Seattle Mariners

‘Don’t be fooled by the players that I got, I am Jerry and they’re all on the block’.

Quick look in from Mariners HQ as Jerry Dipoto sashayed in for this first day at work, there.

Let’s face it, not even Mariners fans know half of the players on their 40 man, or the trades that acquired them. Nevertheless Dipoto’s off-season looks like one of building solidity – Wade Miley, Nate Karns and Hisashi Iwakuma looks like a very solid backing for the magician, Felix Hernandez and his apprentice Taijuan Walker – and the line up looks more set with Adam Lind, Chris Iannetta and Nori Aoki offering potentially solid support to Cano and Cruz. Ketel Marte and Kyle Seager add a sprinkling of youthful exuberance, and the M’s arguably look okay on paper. But we’ve heard that before…

Unlikely, but plausible storyline: King Felix hears ‘Fire’ by Arthur Brown and insists on turning the King’s Court into a facsimile Hades. Goes 4 and 11 in subsequent starts.

You’ll be bored by: ‘who is that guy?’

Texas Rangers

Ian Desmond, left-fielder. Just let that sink in a moment.

It’s just the latest in a series that brought you ‘Hanley Ramirez, left-fielder’ and ‘Mark Trumbo, fielder’.

The Rangers season is less about who starts in left-field though, and more about who doesn’t start in Arlington. Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar and Nomar Mazara are coming by July and will turn an already deep line-up into a behemoth if their transition goes to plan.

This genuinely is a team with few weaknesses – a bullpen full of studs, arguably the best 1-2 rotation punch in the AL and a line-up full of solid contributing vets like Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo and the evergreen Prince Fielder.

They won this division last year, so can they really be called a sleeper? Regardless, they seem to be being ignored – and that’s a mistake.

Unlikely, but plausible storyline: Cole Hamels banned from baseball on account of being ‘too handsome by half’

You’ll be bored by: ‘but does Gallo have a position’. Listen, WHO CARES? Dingers man, dingers.

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