The West looks to be a three-team race in 2013 between the Angels, A’s and Rangers.
The Astros…well…The Mariners could put together a decent .500 season on the strength of their solid rotation and bullpen. Although the lineup has serious power, it also has run production issues. Until that issue is addressed, it will be hard for the Mariners to compete with the top dogs in the AL.
I believe the Rangers will encounter more difficulty than they have over the past few seasons. They will rely heavily on Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman and Ian Kinsler to make up for the runs they lost with the departure of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli. The lineup includes lots of aging talent, but talent, nonetheless.
Meanwhile, look for the A’s and the Angels to battle it out for the division crown. Maybe Billy Beane and “Moneyball” have convinced me to subconsciously believe in the A’s, even though they may not boast the star power other teams do. Their never-say-die style of play and extremely talented, young pitching staff has also made me very optimistic about their future.
The Angels are coming off a very disappointing season, in which they missed the playoffs after making two huge deals. This year - after the addition of Hamilton to a lineup that already includes all-stars Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo - I don’t see how the Angels don’t win the division and make the playoffs easily. The rotation will rely heavily on stars Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, but I see it being enough to get the job done.